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The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will provide Pakistan the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machine, biohazard safety cabinets, test kits and related consumables to help fight the novel coronavirus through the use of a nuclear derived machine, the Foreign Office said.
Speaking at her regular media briefing, Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said that the provision of the equipment would augment Pakistan's national capacity to conduct Covid-19 tests, which were crucial in containing the spread of the disease. She said that the Embassy of Pakistan in Vienna was coordinating with the IAEA for the equipment's early shipment to Pakistan.
"Pakistan deeply values the contribution of the IAEA and its leadership in helping member states in their efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. We also acknowledge the generous contributions of the IAEA member states, which have enabled the agency to boost scientific and technical capacities of countries in combating this global crisis," she added.
Responding to a query about the US's sale of 10 AGM-84L Harpoon Block II Air Launched Missiles to India, she said that the sale of such missile systems, along with technical assistance and logistic support at the time, when there is a global effort to fight the pandemic is particularly disturbing.
"Pakistan has articulated its concerns regarding the sale of sophisticated weapons to India, which would further destabilise the region," she said, adding that Pakistan had alerted the international community many times about India's aggressive designs not only towards Pakistan but also towards other neighbouring countries in south Asia.
She said that that would destabilise the already volatile situation in south Asia, adding that there was a high possibility of India conducting a false flag operation, while global efforts were directed towards combating the pandemic.
Commenting on the Indian Army Chief, General MM Narawane's, allegations against Pakistan saying "While India is sending out medical teams to other countries and exporting medicines, Pakistan is only exporting terror", the spokesperson strongly rejected the irresponsible, spurious and totally false allegations against Pakistan made by the Indian army chief on Thursday morning.
"These baseless Indian allegations are patently designed to divert global and domestic attention from India's state-terrorism and egregious human rights violations and clamping of fundamental freedoms in IOJ&K, particularly post-August 5, 2019," she said.
This year alone, she pointed out that Indian occupation forces in the IOJ&K have committed over 765 ceasefire violations resulting in martyrdom of three civilians as well as serious injuries to 54 innocent civilians.
In 2019, that India violated the ceasefire agreement 3,351 times, she said, adding that Pakistan continued to respond to Indian belligerence in a firm and responsible manner.
Referring to the prime minister's "Global Initiative on Debt Relief", she said that the initiative had found resonance internationally, and various announcements had been made by multilateral institutions such as the UN, IMF and the World Bank subsequently.
"Pakistan has welcomed the joint communiqué of G-20 finance ministers and Central Bank governors and their call to drive forward international economic cooperation towards sustained and inclusive global economic recovery," she added.
About the Pakistanis stranded abroad due to the Coivd-19 pandemic, she said that approximately 43,000 Pakistanis in various countries needed to be brought back to Pakistan for which a comprehensive and phased repatriation plan from various countries was underway.
So far, she stated that 2,287 stranded Pakistanis have been repatriated home through 12 PIA special flights from Doha, Dubai, Bangkok, Istanbul, London, Baku, Tashkent, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
She said that the second phase for repatriating our nationals has been initiated from 14-18 April through nine special flights that will bring approximately 2,000 Pakistani nationals back home.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020