ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Qureshi on Friday introduced FM Connect Digital: The Thought Leaders series for a multi stakeholder global perspective and approach to address COVID-19 pandemic.
The FM Connect Thought Leader platform will see the Foreign Minister hosting a diversity of round table digital discussions with intellectuals, writers, academics, thinkers and researchers across the globe.
For the inaugural FM Connect digital session, Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi invited four global thought leaders for a discussion premised on Post Covid-19 realities on the global geo-political and socio economic landscape.
These thought leaders include Dr William Ury, co-founder of Harvard University’s Program on Negotiation and one of the world’s leading experts on negotiation. He is currently a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Harvard Negotiation Project and a bestselling, award winning author.
Professor Kishore Mahbubani, a Singaporean Diplomat and an Academic, former president of the United Nations Security Council and is a Distinguished Fellow at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore.
Dr Kevin P Gallagher, professor of Global Development Policy at Boston University’s Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, where he directs the Global Development Policy Center.
Dr Adil Najam, the inaugural Dean of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University.
FM Connect is part of the Foreign Minister’s Public Diplomacy initiative.
Addressing the Thought Leaders via video link in Islamabad on Friday, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said COVID-19 is an extra ordinary global challenge, which needs joint efforts at the international level.
He said jobs of daily wage-earners and small business have destroyed due to lockdown in wake of COVID-19. He said Pakistan’s exports have declined by 41 percent and is facing 10 percent of GDP loss. He said we have earmarked eight billion dollars to counter the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The minister said, keeping in view the economic difficulties of developing nations, Prime Minister Imran Khan has proposed Global Debt Relief for Pakistan and other developing countries so that more resources can be diverted to prevent spread of Coronavirus and to protect precious human lives. He said economic cooperation announced by G-20 countries is a welcoming step, but this is insufficient in view of our challenges confronting us.
The Foreign Minister said he initiated this digital platform to get opinion and guidance over the matter from experts.
Commenting on regional situation, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pakistan was preparing for hosting South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation conference, but India’s 5 August act changed the entire situation.
He said Pakistan participated the SAARC video conference convened by India, despite New Delhi’s current behavior towards Islamabad and Occupied Kashmir. He said we participated in the video conference keeping the global challenge of Corona pandemic in view and kept regional interest supreme. He said Pakistan, too, organized video conference of SAARC health ministers to deliberate upon the situation arising out of the Corona outbreak. But, it is unfortunate that there is no change in India’s attitude, despite positive approach of Pakistan.