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Pakistan

Afghanistan's economic turmoil becoming catastrophic: Fawad

  • Information minister says Pakistan will send wheat and rice shipments to help mitigate some of the crisis in neighbouring country
Published November 9, 2021

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said on Tuesday that Afghanistan’s economic turmoil is becoming catastrophic and the world should not ignore it.

“This is a situation that cannot be ignored and the world should not ignore it,” Fawad emphasised while addressing a press conference in Islamabad after the cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Afghan foreign minister to visit Pakistan on Wednesday

The information minister said that the primary reason for Afghanistan’s economic collapse is that the country’s financial assets remain frozen internationally.

“They [assets] are not being released,” he said, adding “the dependence of Afghanistan was on foreign aid and currently, there is no aid.”

Fawad said that troubling stories of devastation due to mass starvation are coming out of Afghanistan.

“Minor children are being sold for wheat and rice in Afghanistan,” he said.

Talking about Pakistan’s efforts to ease Afghanistan’s economic woes, he said: “We did our best to convey our concerns to the world.”

Pakistan for urgent response to crises in Afghanistan

“Now, we are willing to take all actions, whatever we can do, to help people of Afghanistan and for that, the cabinet has decided today that we will send a sufficient amount of wheat and rice to Afghanistan,” the minister said.

Fawad warned that Afghanistan is on the brink of becoming the world’s "worst humanitarian crisis".

The minister said that Pakistan is taking measures through which Afghanistan’s imports from Pakistan can be eased out further. “We have slashed all taxes on Afghanistan’s imports,” he said.

He said Pakistan is also trying to hold a meeting of foreign ministers, representing members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), in Islamabad next month where we will appeal to Muslim ummah to come together and help the people of Afghanistan.

FM Qureshi arrives in Iran, will discuss Afghanistan situation

Fawad said Pakistan is working closely with Afghan authorities and this catastrophic situation should be averted. “Pakistan has warned even before that situation in Afghanistan is melting down and the people of Afghanistan will be the ultimate sufferer,” he repeated.

“So, we yet again, we like to make an appeal to the people of the world and also especially to the people of the Muslim countries. We should come together and help Afghanistan,” Fawad stressed.

The minister informed reporters that the cabinet has decided to arrange a special fund where the people of Pakistan can contribute to helping the people of Afghanistan. “We want the humanitarian effort to continue,” he said.

Afghanistan's Amir Khan Mutaqqi, the country's foreign minister, is scheduled to arrive in Pakistan on Wednesday. In a tweet on Tuesday, the spokesman of the foreign ministry Abdul Qahar Balkhi announced that a senior delegation led by the FM will discuss bilateral ties between the two countries as well as the economy, transit, refugees, and expanding facilities for the movement of people.

It will be the first visit of an Afghan minister to Pakistan since the Taliban took control of Kabul on August 15.

Last month, during his visit to Kabul, FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi had said that a Taliban delegation will visit Islamabad in the next few days. Speaking to the media, Qureshi said that he had a detailed and result-oriented discussion with the Taliban leadership.

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