ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office (FO) on Thursday said Pakistan’s call for economic relief for struggling economies, lifting sanctions on Iran and alleviating suffering of Kashmiris in view of the raging Covid-19 pandemic was gaining resonance and becoming a strong voice globally.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui, in written responses to queries from journalists under the new media briefing format, said Prime Minister Imran Khan’s call for debt rescheduling and economic assistance for the developing countries “has gathered traction in recent days, evidenced by the joint statement of IMF and the World Bank calling for suspension of debt payments for poorer countries”.

Moreover, she said an extraordinary G-20 meeting is likely to take place to discuss the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on global economy and developing countries.

The Pakistan government in its diplomatic outreach on the COVID-19 pandemic had essentially focused on three messages — the need for providing relief in repayment of loans and economic assistance to developing countries so that they could focus on dealing with the pandemic; removal of US sanctions on Iran that were impeding its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, being the worst-affected country in the Middle East; and lifting of lockdown and communications blockade imposed by Indian occupation forces on Occupied Kashmir.

Additionally, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, while talking to foreign ministers of countries in South Asia, reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and reiterated the desire to host a video-conference of the health ministers of the regional bloc over COVID-19.

Letters were written to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and these messages were also underscored during Mr Qureshi’s telephonic conversations with counterparts in Bangladesh, Iran, the Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Turkey, Germany, Spain and France over the past few days.

The FO spokesperson said that the foreign minister in his conversations with his counterparts expressed deep concern at the loss of precious lives by the Covid-19 outbreak in many parts of the world and exchanged views on best ways to control the spread of the coronavirus as well as ways to enhance cooperation to combat the threat.