In an important development, Government finally announced relief package for various sectors and segments of the country. Although it apparently seems to be a good package, the implementation is a real challenge for the Prime Minister Imran Khan and his team. There have been a lot of instances in the past when the Government announced relief packages for the affectees of certain calamities however it could not reach the deserving people and was distributed among those who never needed it.
Finally Pakistan Railways suspended its operational activities for an indefinite period of time while there have been a lock down situation almost in all parts of the country. There had been rumors wandering around the country about the difference of opinion among the center and the provinces on the issue of lock down. PM Imran Khan earlier had categorically turned down the lock down option as it could badly affect the lives and earnings of daily waged workers whereas the provinces wanted a lock down to prevent Corona from spreading all around. The very next day while neglecting PM Imran Khan’s point of view, Sindh and Punjab announced a lock down of 14 days and called in Pakistan Army under article 245. This particular step from the two provinces again gave birth to confusion in the minds of people about the poor coordination among the Federation and provincial governments. PM Khan on Tuesday cleared the nation that he had earlier been talking of different stages of lock down and mentioned that “Curfew” would be the last option so as to prevent the spread of Corona Virus. Moreover before imposing a “Curfew”, a team of volunteers would be formed to provide food items to the poor people at their doorsteps.
“We performed better than other governments against Corona Virus”, says PM Khan
Addressing the media members at the PM office, Imran Khan uttered complete satisfaction on the performance of his team and declared that the Pakistan Government had done far better than other governments to cope with the menace of Corona Virus. Talking about the adverse effects of complete lock down on the lives of the poor, Khan explained that the Government would leave no stone un-turned to avoid implementing the Curfew as it would be the last option if all other options get exhausted. Countering the insistence from the journalists for imposing curfew in the country, Khan asked what would happen if even the Curfew failed to control the spread of Corona Virus and urged the nation to stay calm and united to fight against the unseen enemy. He told them that Italy and other European countries imposed Curfew as they could provide food and other necessities to their people whereas the financial situation in Pakistan was entirely different and therefore the country could not afford Curfew until nothing else would left as an option. Khan asked the overseas Pakistanis to again play their role in the time of this crisis as they have been doing in the past.
“Provinces are independent to take such decisions”, Imran answers on Sindh’s lock down step
When asked why Sindh Government announced lock down against the Central Government’s instructions, Khan told that the 18th Amendment in Constitution has empowered the provinces to take such independent decisions and there is nothing to worry about. He urged the various segments of society especially media to do objective and accurate reporting as it would surely help to organize the nation against Corona.
Chairman NDMA Lt. Gen Muhammad Afzal briefed the media that the Public Sector hospitals have 2,200 ventilators and government is planning to import more ventilators from China to accommodate the patients of Corona Virus. Adding further, Afzal mentioned that they (NDMA) have $ 80 million funds and further $ 800 million would be added soon.