Twitter users in Pakistan are urging their Prime Minister, Imran Khan, to lend support to India as it struggles for basic supplies like oxygen and other emergency aid amid a harrowing second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic here.
India recorded more than 3,30,000 new cases in 24 hours on Friday, the second consecutive day that the country set a global record for daily infections. The death toll was more than 2,200, also a record.
The surge in infections has left India’s healthcare system in shambles as families scrambled for life-saving oxygen supplies while patients die outside overcrowded hospitals. Social media is filled with desperate calls for ambulances, oxygen, ICU beds and medicines. Even hospitals are taking to Twitter to plead with the government to replenish their oxygen supplies and threatening to stop admissions of new patients.
The Edhi Foundation in Pakistan that was founded by famous humanitarian Abdul Sattar Edhi 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 deadly virus.
A press release from the organisation added that Edhi would depart with his team of volunteers as soon as he received permission from India, according to The Dawn. There was no immediate reaction from New Delhi.
Reacting to distressing visuals of the crisis in India, Twitter users in Pakistan called on Khan to do something about the plight of their neighbours. “Humanity above all. No one deserves to suffer,” one user wrote.
“No matter how many differences we have, we are all one for humanity and we pray to ALLAH to have mercy on all the people living in India,” said another tweet.
Even Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi took to Twitter on Saturday to express support to the people of India and extended his sympathies to the affected families. He said the COVID-19 crisis is yet another reminder that humanitarian issues require responses beyond political consideration.
“We express our support to the people of India in the wake of the current wave of #COVID19 infections that has hit our region hard. On behalf of the people of Pakistan, I extend our heartfelt sympathies to the affected families in #India,” Qureshi tweeted.
Later, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed solidarity with the people of India, saying we must fight this global challenge confronting humanity together.
In a tweet, Khan said: Our prayers for a speedy recovery go to all those suffering from the pandemic in our neighbourhood and the world.
“I want to express our solidarity with the people of India as they battle a dangerous wave of COVID-19. We must fight this global challenge confronting humanity together,” he said on Twitter.
Pakistan’s Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry also expressed similar sentiments for the people of India. “In these difficult times our prayers are with people of #India may God be kind and may these difficult times get over soon. #coronavirus,” he tweeted.
Pakistan continues to work with the SAARC countries to foster cooperation to tackle the pandemic, he said.
A record single-day rise of 3,46,786 coronavirus cases pushed India’s tally of infection to 1,66,10,481, while active cases crossed the 25-lakh mark, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Saturday.
The death toll rose to 1,89,544 with a record 2,624 more fatalities in a day, according to the data.
Pakistan has reported 157 coronavirus deaths in the last 24 hours, the highest since last year, while the new number of cases recorded were 5,908, the health ministry said on Saturday.
The tweets from the Pakistani leaders came amidst some signs of rapprochement in the relations between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue.
India’s decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in 2019 angered Pakistan, which downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi and expelled the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad. Pakistan also snapped all air and land links with India and suspended trade and railway services.
The militaries of the two countries, in a surprise announcement on February 25, said that they have agreed to strictly observe all agreements on ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir and other sectors.
(With inputs from PTI)