Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday emphasised the need to ensure equitable vaccine distribution to all countries, saying the Covid-19 challenge couldn’t be surmounted without this measure.
Addressing a virtual meeting of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM), hosted by Azerbaijan, he said we must urgently mobilise financial resources to recover from Covid-19 and help developing countries get back on the path to achieving sustainable development goals by 2030.
The NAM, born at the height of the Cold War, started out as a group of nations seeing themselves as independent of the two power blocs centred on Washington and Moscow.
Since then, it has become a vehicle for championing the interests of developing states, calling for reforms to limit the powers of the UN Security Council, promoting a Palestinian state, and condemning Western sanctions on some of its members, including Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria and Zimbabwe.
In his address to the NAM today, Qureshi underlined that Pakistan's fight against the coronavirus was based on a policy of smart lockdowns. “We pursued a three-pronged strategy focused on saving lives, securing livelihoods and stimulating the economy. Through our Ehsaas emergency cash programme, the government disbursed around $1.25 billion to over 15 million families in the vulnerable segments of the population,” he told the session.
The foreign minister said Pakistan also launched a vaccination drive that will cover 70 million people by December 2021, adding that more than 18 million vaccine doses had already been administrated to over 14 million citizens.
Highlighting the significance of NAM, Qureshi said "we must revive the Movement's role in decisively addressing the systematic challenges which have been exposed and exasperated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Our collective response should avoid partisan objectives and narrow national agendas”.
He also underscored that “we must reaffirm our commitment to cooperative multilateralism to pursue our shared goals of a more democratic, equitable, fair and just international order, not based on privilege and power, but one that fosters the universal idea of prosperity and well-being for all.”
He stated that Pakistan deeply valued the fundamental ideals of the NAM, especially its principled support for the right and self-determination for people living under foreign occupation.
“People of occupied Jammu and Kashmir and Palestine are still waiting to exercise their right to self-determination for over 70 decades now,” he remarked.
Qureshi said Pakistan will continue to support the movement's efforts for peace and cooperation and well-being for all.