There are few certitudes in life but Pakistan whining about Kashmir is one of them and embarrassing itself is one of them.
And not to leave anyone disappointed Pakistan raised the issue of Kashmir stating that all ‘lockdown in the territory must be lifted’. And to add insult to injury, the man representing Pakistan actually has been accused of ‘smuggling masks to foreign countries’.
Journalist Geeta Mohan tweeted: “OK then... This is the man Pakistan sent for the #SAARC video conference. Don't think he should be part of the SAARC #CoronavirusPandemic fund.”
According to the article published on 24NewsHDTV.in, Dr Zafar Mirza was allegedly involved in smuggling 20 million face masks to foreign countries.
The Pakistan Young Pharmacists Association said in a complaint: “20 million face masks were smuggled out of Pakistan by aide of Mr Ghazanfar Ali Khan S/O Mr Maqbool Khan Deputy Director DRAP and Dr Zafar Mirza, Special Assistant to Prime Minister - complaint submitted by Pakistan Young Pharmacists Association.”
Pakistan's state Minister of Health, Dr Zafar Mirza proposed that SAARC Secretariat be mandated to establish a working group of national authorities for health information, data exchange and coordination in real-time, the MEA statement said.
"He proposed hosting SAARC Health Ministers' conference and development of regional mechanisms to share disease surveillance data in real-time," it added.
However, Pakistan raised the Kashmir issue during the video conference saying that it is imperative that the lockdown in the region be lifted in view of the health emergency amid coronavirus outbreak.
"It is a matter of concern that COVID-19 has been reported from Jammu and Kashmir. In view of the health emergency, it is imperative that all lockdown in the territory must be lifted immediately," Mirza said
It was "churlish" of Pakistan to politicise a humanitarian issue by raking up the Kashmir matter at a video conference between SAARC leaders held with an aim to chalk out a joint strategy to fight the coronavirus pandemic, Indian government sources said.
"Pakistan sent their Health Minister who was uncomfortable in speaking. He was given a slip. It is a churlish approach. This is a humanitarian issue and Pakistan tried to politicise the humanitarian issue," the government sources added.
Incidentally, India might want to rethink letting Pakistan be a part of the COVID-19 emergency fund based on voluntary contributions from all the countries, with India making an initial offer of USD 10 million for the fund during his interaction with the leaders of the SAARC countries through video conference on Sunday.
The Prime Minister held a video conference with the leaders of SAARC member countries to exchange their views in fighting the coronavirus pandemic. However, Pakistan raked up the Kashmir issue, saying that the "lockdown should be lifted" in the region amid the coronavirus outbreak.
"In the spirit of collaboration, Prime Minister Modi proposed the creation of a COVID-19 Emergency Fund based on voluntary contributions from all the countries, with India making an initial offer of USD10 million for the fund. The fund can be used by any of the partner countries to meet the cost of immediate actions," the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.
"He informed that India is assembling a rapid response team of doctors and specialists, along with testing kits and other equipment, which will be on stand-by, to be placed at the disposal of the countries, if required," the statement added.