Pakistan backs 'SAARC-solidarity' to unitedly tackle COVID-19 threat

KATHMANDU: Pakistan has become the latest South Asian country to have expressed solidarity to the other SAARC member-states' resolve in jointly tackling the looming threat from worldwide spread of Coronavirus.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on March 13, called for the leaders of SAARC nations to put up a united front to fight COVID-19, discussing matters via video-conference, thus setting an example to the world.

In response, leaders of Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka backed his proposal and expressed willingness to jointly chalk out a strategy.

Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, Aisha Farooqui, made a statement late on Friday stating that Pakistan will be available to participate in the SAARC video-conference discussing the issue.

"The threat of #COVID-19 requires coordinated efforts at global and regional level. We have communicated that SAPM on Health will be available to participate in the video conference of #SAARC member countries on the issue, Farooqui tweeted.

State Minister of Health of Pakistan Dr Zafar Mirza, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) would attend the tele-summit.

Diplomatic tensions between India and Pakistan have affected interactions between SAARC member nations for long. The 19th SAARC which was scheduled to be held in Pakistan in 2016 got cancelled after India accused Pakistan of its involvement in the terrorist attack at an army camp in Uri, India.

The last SAARC summit was held in Nepal in 2014.