Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi thanked China on Monday for supplying Pakistan with the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines shortly after they arrived in the country.
Qureshi said he was pleased to announce that China had sent Pakistan a gift of 500,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses on a priority basis.
“We are very grateful to the Chinese government,” the FM said. He added that he had discussed the matter with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Jiechi in December and January and apprised him of Pakistan’s vaccine related needs.
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“He told me that keeping in view the nature of bilateral relations with Pakistan, we want to send the first batch of vaccines to Pakistan,” the foreign minister said.
Qureshi said he was happy that the first consignment of vaccines from China had reached Pakistan.
“In this regard, a ceremony will be held at [the Nur Khan] airbase this afternoon in which the Chinese ambassador will also be present,” he said. “I will also thank the Chinese leadership at the event.”
Furthermore, the country’s top diplomat stated that his government was taking all possible measures to free the people from the clutches of inflation.
The foreign minister’s comment came a day after it was reported that inflation in Pakistan slowed down to 5.7% in January – the lowest rate in over two years – due to smooth supplies of perishable food items and abnormally high inflation rate in the same month a year ago.
It was the consecutive fourth month that the inflation pace was on a downward trajectory.
In today’s stament, the FM said “there is no doubt that inflation is our biggest challenge at the moment. Prime Minister Imran Khan himself is active in tackling the challenge.”
Read more: Inflation eases to over two-year low
“God willing, it would be under control soon,” he added
The FM further said that performance of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) was better as compared to the past. However, he acknowledged that it still needed to be reformed.
“The FBR still needs to be reformed so that the money transferred to the ‘coffers’ could be deposited in the national treasury and resources can be increased,’ he observed.
PDM is an unnatural alliance
Regarding Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) anti-government campaign, FM Qureshi said that the opposition wanted to pressurise the government into giving them the National Reconciliation Order (NRO).
“The PDM believes that the claw of accountability is getting closer to them,” he said. “PDM is an unnatural and temporary alliance. They want to save each other but their interests are different. The PPP wants to pressurise but is also unwilling to sacrifice the Sindh government,” the foreign minister maintained.
Regarding the government’s drive against land mafia in the country, he added that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) did not believe in political vengeance.
He said that government lands were grabbed to a point that even graveyards were razed and encroached upon. “We believe in taking action as per the law and constitution,” he added.