Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday expressed solidarity with India amid the massive second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted not just in an unprecedented rise in cases, but also strained the health infrastructure.
“Our prayers for a speedy recovery go to all those suffering from the pandemic in our neighbourhood and the world,” Khan tweeted. “We must fight this global challenge confronting humanity together.”
The country’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also tweeted pledging support to India. “On behalf of the people of Pakistan, I extend our heartfelt sympathies to the affected families in India,” Qureshi said.
The remarks from Khan and Qureshi came after several Pakistani social media users on Friday tweeted, many of them using hashtags like #IndiaNeedsOxygen, to lend support to India. The users requested Khan to put aside political differences and help India to tide over the crisis.
Faisal Edhi, son of renowned Pakistani philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi and chairperson of the Edhi Foundation, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, offering help in the form of “a fleet of 50 ambulances” and other services.
Relations between India and Pakistan have witnessed multiple positive developments over the past couple of months. The two countries released a rare joint statement in March, announcing a ceasefire along the Line of Control. The declaration reaffirms the commitment of both the countries made during the 2003 ceasefire agreement. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Khan also exchanged letters last month, expressing their intentions to establish “cordial relations”.
Last week, a top United Arab Emirates diplomat said that the country was mediating between India and Pakistan to help them reach a “healthy and functional” relationship. His comment had come a day after Reuters reported that top intelligence officers from India and Pakistan held “secret talks” in Dubai in January to ease military tension regarding Kashmir.
However, the positive developments took a hit in April after Pakistan deferred the decision to import cotton and sugar from India just a day after the country’s top decision-making body on commerce lifted a ban to facilitate the trade. Pakistan had then said that the bilateral relations could not be normalised unless India revokes the abrogation of Article 370, which in August 2019 abolished the special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.