Govt trying to reschedule loans from int’l lenders, says Qureshi

Foreign minister says rescheduled amount will be used to facilitate health sector

MULTAN: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Tuesday that the government was trying to get loans rescheduled from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) to deal with the coronavirus pandemic effectively.

Speaking during a meeting at Circuit House, the foreign minister said that the rescheduled amount would be used to facilitate the health sector.

He said that the government was closely carefully monitoring the coronavirus situation locally and internationally. He said that one newly-established sub-committee is coordinating with the international community under his supervision whereas the other is headed by Minister for Planning and Development and is focusing on ensuring the supply of food commodities in the country under lockdown.

Qureshi said that he was constantly in contact with the European Union (EU), G77 and G20 countries, adding that the government was also contacting Pakistanis abroad to ensure their safety.

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Responding to a question, Qureshi said that the government was trying playing its role for the lifting of international sanctions on Iran. “They cannot even purchase ventilators despite having money to buy them,” he added.

Speaking about a possible nationwide lockdown, he said that it would require immense preparation. “In China, when 60 million people underwent complete lockdown in Wuhan, 45,000 workers were mobilised to ensure uninterrupted online supply of food items to people’s homes,” he added.

He pointed out that before a complete lockdown can be announced, the government would have to ensure the distribution of food to people’s homes.

About the volunteer force announced by the prime minister, Qureshi said that Corona Relief Tiger Force’s first meeting would be held in Multan.

Qureshi said that every union council comprised six wards and a volunteer force would be created in each ward. “These youngsters will register the names, ID card numbers, phone numbers and addresses of those in need of financial assistance,” he added.

The foreign minister urged the local parliamentarians and district administrations to extend maximum cooperation in this regard so that the poor can be facilitated.

He said the government gave a historic relief package of Rs1.2 trillion and would continue to support different segments of the society.

He also expressed disappointment at the opposition’s criticism and said that Pakistan can only deal with this crisis effectively if the nation stands united.

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