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Chinese vaccines: PM personally looking matter of non-acceptance: Rashid – Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said on Sunday that Prime Minister Imran Khan is personally looking after the matter of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries which are not accepting the certificate of Chinese corona virus vaccines.

Talking to journalists here, he said that the prime minister had told the cabinet that he was in talks with leaders of the Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia on the issue. Saudi Arabia is among the few countries that do not recognize vaccination certificates of Chinese vaccines despite the fact that World Health Organization (WHO) has now registered at least two Chinese-manufactured vaccines – Sinopharm and Sinovac. However, some of the Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia have recommended by Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson jabs for use.

Earlier this week, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar had announced that citizens intending to go for Haj this year, those working abroad on work visas issued by countries that did not recognize vaccination certificates of Chinese vaccines and students planning to go to educational institutions in such countries within a month would be given priority for the administration of Pfizer as its stock was limited.

The minister had also warned that countries not accepting vaccination certificates of Chinese vaccines would turn out to be a problem for the entire world if a decision was not taken on the issue at the global level. “If every country makes it mandatory for visitors to be inoculated by their choice of vaccine brands, the entire world would suffer,” he had said, adding that Chinese Covid-19 vaccines were the most exported brands in the world at present.

Expressing similar views on Sunday, the interior minister asserted that “Sinopharm is a very good vaccine.” He further said that Pakistan fared better than other countries in the region in terms of vaccination and particularly compared the situation in Pakistan with that in India, where he said one would come across boards saying “no vaccination for seven days”.

“There is no board in Pakistan saying ‘no vaccination,” he added.

He also pointed out that more people were willing to get vaccinated now and previously, there was “propaganda against vaccination” in the country.

Commenting on the opposition, he said he had never seen such an “incompetent, useless and weak opposition” in this country. I don’t see any opposition to Imran Khan,” he added. He further said the budget would be presented on June 11 and he was expecting an increase in the wages of labourers and pensions.

The minister maintained that “all members of the estranged Jahangir Khan Tareen group of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf will vote in favour of Imran Khan’s budget.”

Responding to a question, he said his ministry had put opposition leader in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif’s name on exit control list (ECL) and 15-day deadline to appeal against the decision had lapsed. “While Nawaz Sharif managed to trick us; we’ve stopped Shehbaz Sharif from leaving the country,” he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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