ISLAMABAD: Extending another olive branch to arch-rival India, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday congratulated the Indian cricket side on becoming the first team of the subcontinent to have won a Test series against Australia on their home ground.
In his tweet, the prime minister also acknowledged the unprecedented achievement of Indian captain Virat Kohli and his team.
The fourth and final Test match between India and Australia ended in a draw on Jan 6. Indian team’s 2-1 lead was unprecedented as no Asian team had ever defeated Aussies in their own land.
“Congratulations to Virat Kohli and the Indian cricket team for the first-ever win by any subcontinent team in a Test series in Australia,” Prime Minister Khan tweeted.
In his first address to the nation after assuming charge of his office in August last year, the prime minister had urged India “to take one step forward, Pakistan will take two”. The opening of the Kartarpur corridor to facilitate Sikh pilgrims is also said to be one of the measures taken by Pakistan to restore relations with India.
Prime Minister Khan had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September last year a letter suggesting that the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan meet on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. However, India had cancelled the meeting within a day of approving the plan. The cancellation had been accompanied by a strong statement from India, which was followed by a trenchant response from Pakistan.
On India’s response, Prime Minister Khan said: “I had such a bad response…it really surprised me that why would anyone be scared of dialogue? Then there are pre-conditions put on such dialogues…. It is almost as if there is no intention for peace.”
In a recent interview to Turkey’s news channel TRT World, Mr Khan said India was involved in committing human rights violations in held Kashmir, but it would never succeed in suppressing the freedom movement of Kashmiris.
He said Pakistan wanted to hold dialogue with India, but New Delhi has refused Islamabad’s offer several times. “Pakistan will wait for the 2019 general elections in India to be over for its current outreach to get a positive response from New Delhi,” he added.
Meeting with WHO, Bill Gates Foundation officials World Health Organisation (WHO) Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and President of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Division Dr Christopher Elias called on Prime Minister Imran Khan at PM Office.
Acting head of WHO Country Office Pakistan Dr Nima Saeed Abid and chief adviser to the WHO director general Dr Senait Fisseha were also present during the meeting.
The Pakistani side included Minister for Health Aamer Mehmood Kiani, PM’s focal person on polio eradication Babar Bin Atta, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua, Health Secretary retired Captain Zahid Saeed and other senior officials.
Dr Adhanom said WHO had increased its focus on public health, country-level impacts and bringing improvements in people’s access to health-related knowledge and information.
He informed the prime minister about WHO’s ongoing programmes/projects in Pakistan. The organisation has considerably increased level of support in Pakistan, mainly due to intensified activities of polio-eradication initiatives.
The prime minister welcomed the WHO director general and his delegation to Pakistan and said the country attached importance to WHO. Pakistan appreciated the role of WHO in the health care system, he added.
“The government is determined to implement a transformative social and economic agenda for a ‘New Pakistan’,” he said. He reiterated his government’s commitment to moving forward the sustainable development agenda.
The Prime Minister Khan said the government continued to tackle polio eradication as a national public health emergency, adding that polio vaccination activities were well organised in close collaboration with the provinces and were directly overseen by the national, provincial and divisional task forces.
Dr Christopher Elias delivered a letter from Mr Bill Gates to Prime Minister Khan.
Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2019