Pakistan on Thursday offered to help India by sharing its experiences in assisting poor families affected by lockdown measures put in place to curb the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.
Prime Minister Imran Khan cited a report published in local media that said 34% of households across India would be unable to make ends meet for more than a week without assistance.
“I am ready to offer help & share our successful cash transfer prog, lauded internationally for its reach & transparency, with India,” Khan tweeted.
Referring to his country’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash program, he said his government successfully transferred 120 billion Pakistani rupees (over $730 million) in nine weeks to over 10 million families in a transparent manner to help deal with the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the poor.
In April, following the countrywide lockdown, Khan announced Pakistan’s largest one-off cash payment program to pay around $1 billion to 12 million poverty-stricken families.
“Alhamdulillah! #EhsaasEmergencyCash crosses the 10 million mark in nine weeks. More than 10 million beneficiaries have been served countrywide with Rs.121 billion cash assistance,” Sania Nishtar, head of the program and Khan’s aid on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection, said in her statement.
According to a report last month by the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), millions of young workers in their 20s have lost their jobs because of the lockdown since March 25.
The report further said 33 million in their 30s were also left jobless in April and that 86% of losses were among men.
Khan’s offer came despite the tension between the two South Asian nuclear neighbors flared up following New Delhi’s scrapping of longstanding special rights for the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region last August.
The Muslim-majority Himalayan region is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965 and 1971 — two of them over Kashmir.
Also, in Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire came into effect in 2003.
Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or unification with neighboring Pakistan.
According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.
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