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FM Qureshi launches digital platform to host discussions on COVID-19

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Qureshi has introduced ‘FM Connect Digital: The Thought Leaders’ series for a multi-stakeholder global perspective and approach to address COVID-19 pandemic.
The platform will see the foreign minister hosting several digital discussions with intellectuals, writers, academics, thinkers and researchers across the globe. For the inaugural digital session, the foreign minister invited four global thought leaders for a discussion premised on post coronavirus realities on the global geopolitical and socio-economic landscape.
The thought leaders include Dr William Ury, co-founder of Harvard University’s Program on Negotiation, and one of the world’s leading experts on negotiation. He is currently a distinguished senior fellow at the Harvard Negotiation Project and an award-winning author.
Singaporean diplomat and academic Professor Kishore Mahbubani is a former president of the UN Security Council and a Distinguished Fellow at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore.
Dr Kevin P Gallagher, professor of Global Development Policy at Boston University’s Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, where he directs the Global Development Policy Center. Dr Adil Najam, the inaugural Dean of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University.
FM Connect is part of the Foreign Minister’s Public Diplomacy initiative. Addressing the thought leaders via video link, the foreign minister said COVID-19 is an extraordinary global challenge that requires joint efforts at the international level. He said jobs of daily wage-earners and small business have destroyed due to lockdown in wake of COVID-19.
Qureshi said Pakistan’s exports have declined by 41 percent and is facing 10 percent of GDP loss. He said we have earmarked eight billion dollars to counter the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The minister said, keeping in view the economic difficulties of developing nations, Prime Minister Imran Khan has proposed Global Debt Relief programme for developing countries so that resources can be diverted to prevent the spread of coronavirus and to protect precious human lives.
He said economic cooperation announced by G20 countries is a welcoming step but is insufficient in view of the challenges confronting us. The foreign minister said he initiated this digital platform to get opinions and guidance over the matter from experts.
Regarding regional situation, Qureshi said Pakistan was preparing for hosting SAARC conference but India’s blatant act on August 5th changed the entire situation. He said Pakistan participated in the SAARC video conference convened by India keeping the global challenge of coronavirus pandemic in view and regional interest.
He said Pakistan organised a video conference of SAARC health ministers to deliberate upon the situation arising out of the coronavirus outbreak. He regretted that there was no change in India’s attitude despite the positive approach of Pakistan.
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