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April 5, 2020

Malik writes to UNSG urging him to constitute UN commission on Covid-19

Peshawar

April 5, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Chairman Standing Committee on Interior in Senate and former interior minister Senator Rehman Malik on Friday has written a letter to Secretary General United Nations António Guterres pleading him to order the constitution of a high-level commission on COVID-19 under the UN Convention on Biological Weapons, 1975 to discover whether COVID-19 was a man-made or a naturally-grown virus. While showing the letter in a press conference through video link at his residence, Rehman Malik said he was not blaming any government or group or posting any allegation to anyone or endorsing any media report about the origin of COVID-19, however, drawing the UN secretary general’s attention to apprehensions being shown by the international media.

In his letter, Senator Malik wrote it was unfortunate that coronavirus had emerged as the deadliest virus or pandemic of the century that stirred up the worst global crisis since the World War-II, adding that the world history was strewn with pandemics but COVID 19 had shaken the entire world like never before.

The senator said since COVID-19 outbreak, many claims, speculations, conspiracy theories and misinformation about the disease had found ways into the international media, blurring the options of identifying real and fake news. "Instead of calming down, the news is continuously creating uncertainty and panic amongst the masses across the globe,” he added. Rehman Malik emphasised that in face of the unrest precipitated by the of COVID-19 outbreak and to preempt the growing perception linking the spread among the communities could result in rapid increase of polarization and violent responses, and the world order needed to be preserved in the interest of international community.

The senator said virologists and biologists around the world had failed in accurately identifying the source, location, genesis, and variable results, the plausibility of some sort of bio-warfare within the fifth dimension warfare was gaining root. "This trajectory, unfortunately, has the potential to cause further panic and blame games among the communities, hoping the international media would play positive role and refrain itself dividing the world,” he added.

Rehman Malik said in the given situation, it was more important that the media should play its role to bring the facts to the public to cease such impact of the pandemic and dangerous conspiracy theories. In his letter, he also pleaded, "As the bio-warfare theories are gaining roots among the communities across the world, in my considered view, it is essential that a high-level commission should immediately be constituted to ascertain the facts under the UN Biological Weapons Convention, 1975.”

Malik suggested the commission may be comprised of virologists, scientists, professors, researchers, analysts and experts in the fields of microbiology and virology. “Commission may present its report to you within three months, and the Terms of Reference (TORs) may include recommendations to prevent future breakouts of such pandemics, and international standards for coordination in case of outbreak,” he said.

Senator Malik in his letter suggested important TORs for the proposed UN Commission on COVID-19. He also suggested that the world health organization (WHO) should further institutionalise the coordination among the countries, while focusing upon the efforts to discover vaccines and cures for COVID-19 through R&D and monitoring.

For the greater cause of humanity, Malik at the end of the letter offered his services and wrote “I consider it my duty, and an honour to be available for any further queries in the matter, to effect an expeditious redressal of COVID-19 crisis.” While addressing the press conference, Rehman Malik thanked China for the effort in supplying medical aid during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in the country and said China always helped Pakistan in difficulties. Rehman Malik applauded the role of Chinese ambassador in Pakistan Yao Jing, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan for helping Pakistan and appreciated local donors Malik Riaz and others who are generously helping those who are in need and the government. He also applauded the efforts of Pakistan Army in helping civil administrations, adding that they are thankful to army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa for his role at the time of difficulties.