Firdous Shamim Naqvi writes to PM, chief ministers, asks them to ease lockdown for industrialists and traders

April 07, 2020

Opposition Leader in Sindh Assembly Firdous Shamim Naqvi has appealed to the prime minister and the chief ministers, particularly that of Sindh, to ease the lockdown for the industrialists and...

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Opposition Leader in Sindh Assembly Firdous Shamim Naqvi has appealed to the prime minister and the chief ministers, particularly that of Sindh, to ease the lockdown for the industrialists and traders.

In letters written to them on Monday, he said that they should look to ease the lockdown for industries which were willing to follow the safety protocols established internationally. “Many countries continue to operate their industries safely without exposing the population to uncontrollable exposure,” he said.

He said that he had recently met with a delegation of industrialists and traders, and in the light of the discussion, he had been giving recommendations to the federal and provincial governments.

“It is essential that we should look at easing the lockdown in stages. In the first stage, we should look at sectors which can provide the maximum relief to the maximum number of people, especially those near and below the poverty line, and at the same time which would expose the minimum number of people.”

Therefore, the closure of schools and the ban on entertainment, wedding and social gatherings should continue, said Naqvi, who is also a central leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. “It is also obvious that we should at any cost not become dependent on food; therefore, farmers have to harvest as well as sow in the coming days and we have to teach them how they can continue farming safely, without putting themselves at risk using personal protective equipment and methods which will reduce their risk of exposure. We have to teach them sanitisation techniques, which will protect them and what they produce will save the nation from subjugation and economic misery,” he wrote.

“Safe transport has to be provided to the workers, monitoring has to be done of their temperatures, the physical symptoms through self-discipline, staging of shifts, canteen hours have to be practised. The restart of production may not bring about full employment, but definitely ease the pressure on individuals as well as the government to feed a hungry population which would have no one to look at for help except the government, which is already constrained for resources.

“For this, we believe we should open up our multinationals, well-organised factories and the construction industry first. Logistics is an essential industry to maintain the supply chain for the people as well all industries which are open so that should also be allowed to open if they follow standard guidelines and protocols.”

He said that the governments had to look to provide relief to the daily-wage earners and those who depended on trade. “We should have longer hours for them to operate so that social distancing can be maintained. Compressed hours of operation force more people to come out at the same time. To ensure social distancing we can open our markets like all cloth merchants three days of the week and remaining general merchandise such as shoes, cosmetics, home décor etc. on four days of the week.”

“Once we successfully are able to manage these, then we can start looking at each industry and allow them to open as long as the protocols established through experience are adhered too,” he maintained.

The PTI leader said that the wheel of the economy had to start again. “There is huge demand coming after many years from the developed world for their needs to be met because their industry is very badly affected by this pandemic. It is important that we take advantage; otherwise some other country would step in and we would miss this golden opportunity. These exports can bring in the boost to the economy which is very much needed both from the employment angle as well as the much needed foreign exchange.”

In light of it, he requested the federal and provincial governments to act as facilitators to ease shutdown and bring the locked economy back a revival in phases. “For this, the government has to ready itself for doing business and start back the governing and monitoring process. It has to ensure that within its own offices the right protocols are established. We need to use modern tools of the trade such as working from home using conferencing tools without meeting face to face.”

For it, the government needs to set up a committee for developing protocols within the government how it intends to conduct business in these trying times and adverse circumstances, he said.

“It is the government which has to lead by example. Do you have the wherewithal to take the nation forward, not backward? That is the question! History shall judge you all for your wisdom, tenacity, courage, boldness, pragmatism, and leadership. I pray all of you to come out standing tall and not as pygmies who were responsible for making things worse.”

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