President Dr. Arif Alvi on Monday voiced his alarm at what he called an increase in religious intolerance, hate speech and Islamophobia in "our immediate neighborhood."
He was on his way to a virtual summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) for Covid-19. The special online summit of heads of state and governments of NAM member states was convened on the initiative of President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, as the current president of the movement.
The NAM, a forum for 120 states around the world, born at the height of the Cold War, began as a group of nations becoming independent of the two power blocs centered on Washington and Moscow. Since then, it has become a vehicle to defend the interests of developing states.
"There has been an alarming increase in religious intolerance, hate speech, Islamophobia, xenophobia and other forms of discrimination.
Children, women and the elderly have faced verbal abuse, death threats and physical attacks. Muslims have been denied access to vital health services. Nowhere are these trends more pronounced than in our immediate neighborhood, "said President Alvi.
The president criticized the "extreme right" Indian government for its display of hatred and said its actions were part of its "ideological dispensation and anti-minority agenda."
"The spread of the virus has been widely referred to as the jihad crown," Alvi added, reminding NAM member states that, as the world is fighting Covid-19, it should not remain oblivious to the dangerous trends that have emerged. sinisterly. The wake of the pandemic.
The expression of hatred against Muslims in India has become more pronounced during the pandemic, Alvi lamented, adding that hospitals have refused to treat Muslim patients, neighborhoods have discussed the possibility of preventing Muslims from entering and people have been expelled from their jobs.
Alvi also reminded the world of the continuing crippling blockade in Indian-occupied Kashmir, saying "Kashmiris have suffered a political blockade since August 2019." He warned that youth in Kashmir languishing in prisons were extremely vulnerable to the virus.
The president said it was unfortunate that India created a war situation during the ongoing pandemic by resorting to heavy shelling along the Line of Control.
Exceptional circumstances require exceptional solidarity
President Alvi said the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic is a "clear reminder that no country can overcome the challenges on its own."
"A global challenge requires a global response based on solidarity, international cooperation and respect for multilateralism. These exceptional circumstances require exceptional solidarity," he added.
Alvi also noted that developing countries are likely to experience "massive poverty and unemployment" in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
In view of the socio-economic impact of the pandemic in developing countries, he said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has called for a global debt relief initiative that seeks to provide urgent relief for low-income countries.
"Developing countries must have the support of the fiscal space," said the president.
President Alvi also described some of the steps that Pakistan has taken to fight the new coronavirus.
"We took a series of steps from the beginning to mitigate the spread of the virus. A robust institutional mechanism was established to ensure a unified response," said Alvi.
"In addition, far-reaching measures were introduced, including restrictions on international and national travel, school closings, localized quarantines, a ban on public gatherings, and strengthening the health response across the country," Alvi explained.
The president also briefed NAM member states on the government's Ehsaas emergency cash program.
"Our honorable Prime Minister Imran Khan launched an expansionary package of approximately $ 8 billion for 12 million financially vulnerable families," said Alvi.