India’s negative response to PM’s offer condemned

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan yesterday condemned India for responding negatively to Islamabad’s positive offer to counter the coronavirus pandemic.

A Foreign Ministry statement said Pakistan “regrets negative remarks by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs’ spokesperson regarding a goodwill suggesti 7on by the Prime Minister of Pakistan (Imran Khan) to share Pakistan’s successful experience in ameliorating impact of COVID-19 on the poorest sections of the society.”

It added: “remarks by the MEA’s spokesperson reflect an unprofessional attempt at point-scoring over a serious issue that involves lives of millions of poor people in the sub-continent, worst affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Earlier, India refused Prime Minister Imran Khan’s offer to share experience of his government’s cash transfer scheme.

India boasted that the size of its economic stimulus package to deal with the coronavirus pandemic was as large as Pakistan’s Gross Domestic Product.

PM Khan, in a series of tweets, had offered to share Pakistan’s experience of implementing its successful cash transfer programme with India amid reports of how poor people in India were battling poverty in view of the coronavirus lockdown.

The international agencies have appreciated positive impact of the government of Pakistan’s direct cash transfer of Rs. 120 billion to 10 million poor families in Pakistan in most transparent manner.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said the Prime Minister’s offer at this challenging time of a global pandemic was in consonance with the initiative for sharing national experiences among SAARC member countries in dealing with the impact of Covid-19.

“If that intent was serious, then the MEA’s response to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s suggestion is inconsistent with the stated position of their own leadership,” said the statement.

Pakistan, it said, emphasises that the “global pandemic is a common challenge demanding serious efforts and honest sharing of national experiences among countries while rising above petty point-scoring.”

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