PM discusses virus crisis with Trump

-Expresses grief over loss of life in US | Tells nation to remain united against pandemic
-Appeals nation for active participation in Ehsaas telethon
-Approves launch of Ehsaas Emergency Cash Info Portal
-Chairs meeting to review progress on Economic Stimulus Package
-Takes briefing over Info Ministry’s virus awareness campaign during Ramazan

By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the United States (US) on Wednesday agreed to enhance cooperation in fight against the novel coronavius.
The resolve came during a telephonic conversation between Prime Minister Imran Khan and the United States President Donald Trump.
During the call, both the leaders discussed the situation arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic, its implications on the global economy and ways to mitigate its impact. On the occasion, PM Imran apprised the US president about the measures taken by his government to deal with the pandemic.
He said that Pakistan was facing a dual challenge of overcoming the pandemic and saving people, particularly the most vulnerable segments of the society from hunger due to the lockdown.
The prime minister said that the government issued $8 million to mitigate the sufferings of the poor amid COVID-19 lockdown. During the call, PM Imran thanked President Trump for his support in the IMF and other forums, adding that the US cooperation will help Pakistan overcome the pandemic and the economic crisis. He conveyed sympathies and condolences on the loss of precious lives in the US due to the virus.
Earlier on April 17, the United States (US) Ambassador in Islamabad Paul Jones on had announced to contribute more than $8 million to help Pakistan fight the coronavirus pandemic. In a video statement, he had said the country will provide three new mobile labs so Pakistanis living in virus hotspots can be tested, treated and monitored to stop the spread. “We will also fund high-tech emergency operation centers in Islamabad, Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan and we will expand our partnership in training community healthcare workers to assist people in their homes to lessen the burden on hospitals,” the envoy had said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday lauding the spirit of philanthropists demonstrated during fund-raising for Corona Relief Fund said Pakistani nation always braved challenges with steadfastness.
In a meeting with Senator Faisal Javed, the prime minister said people gave generous donations to help the needy affected by the financial impacts of the lockdown. The prime minister expressed confidence that the nation would overcome the challenge of coronavirus with unity and resilience. Senator Faisal Javed briefed the prime minister about the upcoming telethon transmission on Thursday meant to raise funds for the PM’s Corona Relief Fund. He said Pakistanis, within the country and abroad, would be able to make donations through the “biggest telethon transmission of the country’s history” to be aired by the State media and private television channels.
Also, the people can contribute towards the Fund by sending mobile message to 6677, a facility being offered by the telecommunication companies, he added. Also, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday called upon the nation to actively participate in the telethon to be aired on Thursday, targeted to raise money for Corona Relief Fund. The telethon will be aired live on Pakistan Television network at 4 p.m. In a special video message, the prime minister urged upon the people to join hands with the government in fighting the challenge of coronavirus. “We have to get united to defeat this challenge effectively,” the prime minister said. On the other hand, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday gave approval to the launch of Ehsaas Emergency Cash Information Portal, making public the details of disbursements. Chairing a meeting on the subject, the prime minister said the government was making utmost efforts to provide financial assistance to those affected by the situation of coronavirus.
The prime minister said Ehsaas Cash Emergency Programme was transparent and merit-based and lauded the efforts of his Special Assistant on Social Welfare Dr Sania Nishtar for leading an effective initiative. Dr Nishtar in a briefing to the prime minister said the programme covered the registered persons of Ehsaas Programme, those who joined through SMS, new registrations from provinces and labourers and deserving persons recommended by the Commerce Ministry.
Under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme, the operations have been ongoing since April 9, 2020. To-date, overall disbursements of Rs. 65.249 billion have been made to 5.437 million beneficiaries across the country in categories 1 and 2. The dashboard of the launched portal will give details about the number of beneficiaries served in each of the three categories with provincial, district and tehsil wise breakdowns. With great transparency, it will outline the amount given to partnering banks for disbursements to beneficiaries, and the number of beneficiaries who have taken out money. The portal will enable people to access information in real time and its electronic link will be made available Thursday morning.