Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told National Asembly on Monday said that Iran “pushed 4,000-5,000 Pakistanis” in Balochistan despite Islamabad’s request to wait until a quarantine facility was developed.
“They are Pakistanis, we cannot disown them, we had to own them,” he said. “I laud the Balochistan government who did their best [to provide facilities] despite scarce resources.”
Qureshi said that the coronavirus didn’t discriminate on the basis of colour and religion. He said, “When I see the comments made by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and people from his party, it pains me. Muslims are being called ‘super spreaders’.”
The foreign minister, lamenting the fact that hate speech and hate mongering were taking place in India during this time of crisis, said that Pakistan’s coronavirus outbreak has yet to peak and the real challenge has yet to present itself.
Addressing the National Assembly session, he said: “Our death and infection rate is 2.17 per cent. Across the world this percentage is 6.8pc. So we have been largely spared from the larger consequences of this pandemic.”
Shah Mahmood declared that Pakistan was “ahead of other South Asian countries” in terms of handling the coronavirus crisis.
He said that despite being a developing country with an unenviable healthcare system, Pakistan had held up better than most developed countries. The foreign minister added that when comparing with other countries, it was important to consider data.
Pakistan has the highest coronavirus testing capacity to date among all South Asian countries at 20,000 tests a day, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi informed the National Assembly.
Noting that the Covid-19 pandemic was an “unprecedented challenge” that has become one of the biggest catalysts after the World War II, Qureshi said health experts around the world were trying their level best to come up with strategies to curb the virus till a vaccine could be made.
“Irrespective of Pakistan’s response towards the virus, no country around the world was seen fully prepared to battle out the virus,” the federal minister said. “The world is learning with time.”
“Since the virus emerged, Pakistan had eight operational labs but now we have about 70 functional labs for the coronavirus. With improved testing capacity, we will get a clearer picture of the pandemic in the country,” he added.
Referring to data, he said the mortality rate from coronavirus in Pakistan was 2.17% as opposed to 6.8% around the world, based on which “we made major decisions for the coming days while utilising the collective wisdom of all political leaders”.