ISLAMABAD: Pakistan reacted sharply to India’s unfriendly response to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s offer to help India out of its COVID-19 pandemic crisis by sharing details of the Ehsaas Emergency Cash programme. Foreign Office Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said the remarks from the Indian External Affairs Ministry reflect poorly on a serious issue affecting the lives of millions of poor people in the sub-continent. “Prime Minister’s suggestion was in the backdrop of a study by a reputable U.S. University that highlighted the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns on Indian households especially the poorest sections of the society and effectiveness of direct cash transfers and food to the poor families affected by lockdowns,” she said. Farooqui added that international organizations have lauded the positive impact of the government’s direct cash transfer under the Ehsaas programme. She said that the global pandemic is a common challenge and requires serious efforts of national experience as opposed to political point-scoring. The Indian MEA had given an unfriendly response to PM Imran’s offer, saying that the Indian economic relief package by New Delhi to its citizens in the pandemic is as big as Pakistan’s GDP. PM Imran had offered help to neighbouring India to help it overcome the coronavirus crisis, saying he was willing to share Pakistan’s successful cash transfer programme. Sharing a news report claiming that 34% of household across India ‘will not be able to survive more than a week without add (additional) assistance’’, the prime minister had tweeted, “I am ready to offer help and share our successful cash transfer prog, lauded internationally for its reach and transparency, with India”.
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