Pakistan-India relations dependent upon Kashmir, says Fawad Chaudhry

Pakistan-India relations dependent upon Kashmir, says Fawad Chaudhry

Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry. Photo: Foile.

ISLAMABAD:   The Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry on Thursday said that Pakistan wishes to normalise relations with India but it won’t be possible until India changes its policy towards Kashmir and revokes its August 5, 2019, move.

The minister was speaking during a press conference after a cabinet meeting here in Islamabad, during which he stressed that  Pakistan cannot reinstate trade relations with the neighbouring country while it continues to commit a massacre against Muslims and refuses to give Kashmiri people their due right.

On August 5, 2019, the Indian government had rushed through a presidential decree to abolish Article 370 of the Constitution which grants special status to Indian occupied Kashmir amid rising tensions in the disputed valley with unprecedented numbers of Indian troops deployed in the region.

‘Those who do not wish to wait can purchase COVID-19 vaccine’

Aside from politics and international relations, the minister also shed light on the issue of COVID-19 vaccination in Pakistan and said that while the government will facilitate 98 per cent of the population through its vaccination drive, the 2%, who do not wish to stand in queues, can pay and get themselves inoculated from private hospitals.

He, however, said that the government is currently facing two issues with private vaccines.  

 “First, the importer brings the vaccine into the country and once that’s done, they set rates according to their wishes,” the minister said.

He added that two vaccines — Russais’s Sputnik V and China’s CanSino — have been imported in Pakistan so far.

“The Russian vaccine’s rate cannot be determined at the moment, as the issue of setting its price is currently underway in the Sindh High Court,” he said. “However, CanSino’s price has been set at Rs4,225 per dose.

The federal minister said that people have to get two doses of all other COVID-19 vaccines, however, for CanSino, they need to get only one jab.

Chaudhry further said the people of Gilgit-Baltistan and Islamabad would be able to avail the services of the Health Card, while all the people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa already have the facility.

“There have been no increases in medicine prices, however, the rates of [some] medicines have been revised,” he said. 

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