Crisis brings rivals together: Pak offers of support puts jingoist media in a tizzy

By Syed Zubair Ahmad

World has finally woken up to send assistance to India as the country struggles to ramp up emergency medical assistance to its fragile healthcare system

New Delhi: Hate-mongers must be suffering from a tinge of pain to learn that Pakistanis are urging their government to lend support to India as it is struggling to ensure basic medical supplies like oxygen, ventilators to the hospitals swamped by coronavirus patients.

While promises of medical aid are pouring in from across the globe, the words of support from neighbouring rival Pakistan might have ‘amazed the jingoist media’ which keeps “offering anti-Muslimism round the clock,” said a television journalist, requesting anonymity.

Pakistan is sending ventilators and other emergency medical assistance to India to help the country fight the shortage crisis. Notably, hashtags like #PakistanstandswithIndia, #CovidSOS and #IndiaNeedsOxygen were trending on Pakistani and Indian Twitter on Saturday. Pakistan PM Imran Khan expressed solidarity with India, tweeting “I want to express our solidarity with the people of India as they battle a dangerous wave of COVID-19. Our prayers for a speedy recovery go to all those suffering from the pandemic in our neighbourhood & the world. We must fight this global challenge confronting humanity together.”

According to PTI, the Foreign Office in a statement said Pakistan was ready to send specific items quickly once the modalities were worked out.

However, India has not responded official anything of the sort

Further, Pakistan-based Edhi Foundation wrote a letter to PM Narendra Modi, stating that they want to send a fleet of 50 ambulances to assist the country in fighting the coronavirus crisis.

“Certain sections still smell a rat,” said a journalist with an Urdu daily, indicating the RSS statement cautioning that “anti-India forces may exploit” the crisis. He concludes: “Not only Pakistan, a mere sight of Indian Muslim serving the needy frighten them. Perhaps, these people don’t know how a human heart works.”

Meanwhile, India’s close allies United States, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have come forward to send medical assistance with Washington saying that it was working to immediately send medical aid including rapid diagnostic testing kits, ventilators and personal protective equipment soon. While UAE has announced sending a huge shipment of oxygen concentrators, Saudi Arabia has sent a large number of oxygen generators.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said he was “pooling resources to respond rapidly to India’s request for assistance”. The United Kingdom, France, Germany and Russia also promised rapid support. China too said it would help India and had been in talks of Indian authorities.

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