Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain Monday while expressing Pakistan’s deep concern and anguish over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza, stressed that the international community had an obligation to help normalize the situation and facilitate a just solution. He was talking to European Union Ambassador Androulla Kaminara during a meeting, a press release said. The information minister said Pakistan had declared Friday as a day for expressing solidarity with the people of Palestine, who were suffering from continuous violence at the hands of Israeli forces. The EU ambassador said Vice President Borell had called a meeting of the foreign ministers of EU member states on May 18 to discuss the situation. The meeting was convened to coordinate and discuss how the EU could best contribute to end the current violence, she added. During the meeting, both sides also exchanged views on the Covid-19 pandemic situation in the country. The minister said the Pakistani government was undertaking all possible steps to contain the pandemic through timely decisions and effective preventive measures. He said the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) was spearheading the drive against the Covid-19 pandemic. He said when Covid-19 surfaced in Pakistan early last year, the country was not producing any protective gear against the viral pandemic, but, within a period of four to six months, it not only started manufacturing protective masks, kits and quality ventilators but also exported them. Androulla Kaminara appreciated the steps taken by the Government of Pakistan to protect its people from the pandemic. She also appreciated the rise in Pakistan’s exports despite pandemic. The information minister also apprised the ambassador about the approval of two long awaited bills for protection of journalists and media professionals and the forced disappearance (Criminal Law Amendment Bill). He reiterated the government’s resolve to continue to facilitate the growth of free and responsible media in Pakistan. He said the media enjoyed unprecedented independence in Pakistan as the government firmly believed in fundamental, democratic and constitutional right of freedom of expression. Talking about peace and development in the region, Fawad said Pakistan desired good relations with all its neighbours and was willing to reciprocate any peace overture. “One cannot move ahead if the other side is not ready to act responsibly”, he said, adding they could not move forward by ignoring the situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). The EU ambassador also showed keen interest in Pakistan’s initiatives including climate change, Ten Billion Tree Tsunami and the drive for Clean and Green Pakistan. The minister also welcomed the EU’s interest in these initiatives.