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May 21, 2020

‘Rise of coronavirus in Pakistan’s neighboring countries’

Islamabad

May 21, 2020

Islamabad : Adnan Tabatabai, chief executive officer, Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient, briefing the participants on the pandemic impact in Iran has said that lockdown was not an option, as Iran’s economy was in no position to keep the population fed.

Mr Tabatabai was speaking at an online dialogue titled: “Rise of coronavirus in Pakistan’s neighboring countries–the challenges and policy responses,” organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here Wednesday.

Mr Tabatabai said that diplomatic channels should be used especially for the return of people who are stranded abroad. Data amongst organisations needs to be integrated and mobile hospitals need to be set up at border areas, he said.

He said that all the regional countries provided valuable support to Iran to come out of the grave crisis.

He said that the Iranian government failed to act at a time when the pandemic broke out. However, things started improving during the month of April. He observed that Iranian economy is too fragile to afford the lockdown solution that is why it was necessary to keep tracks to China open as they serve as lifeline for Iran’s economy. Complex bureaucratic responses were responsible for the delayed response by Iran, he said. Dr Zubair Iqbal, former Member, Planning Commission, said that the pandemic has hit Afghanistan in worst form since lack of peace and stability in that country left very little room for any meaningful relief to the people.

He said that India has also been facing the dilemma of “lockdown or no lockdown” because provision of relief to a large segment of population for a longer period is hardly possible.

Khalid Alyassin, Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Kuwait, said that Kuwait is a country with a large chunk of migrant population, so the government has announced a number of measures to enable them to face the challenge. He said that Kuwait is a staunch supporter of regional cooperation, especially to fight the challenge posed by the global pandemic.

Tara Sepehri Far, a representative of Human Rights Watch, said that public trust is a key to governments to deal with the crisis effectively. This crisis has exacerbated the disparities that exist, she said adding that different segments of the population experienced the pandemic differently and this needs to be understood to tackle the situation effectively.