ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has once again defended his decision not to impose a complete lockdown in the country despite strong criticism, saying that Pakistan's circumstances were different from Wuhan city and Europe.
Speaking about the havoc that the coronavirus has wreaked on Pakistan's economy, the prime minister said that he had not been in favour of imposing a lockdown as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had done.
PM Imran was addressing the ceremony for the commencement of three Ehsaas initiatives, including Ehsaas Rashan Portal, Ehsaas Langar and Panagah App and PM's COVID Relief Fund website, in the Federal Capital today.
He said the elderly people and those already suffering from serious diseases are the most vulnerable and if they are protected against the virus, the impact of the pandemic will get considerably reduced.
“The next one month is difficult for dealing with the pandemic,” he said.
The prime minister spoke about the damage that had been done to the economies of developed countries like Italy and the United States when they had to impose a complete lockdown, saying that long cues of people could be seen in America asking for food and charity.
"So it had to happen in our country [too]," he said. "And if provinces would have asked me I would never have allowed such a lockdown. Because when you are about to impose a lockdown, you should think about the effects your decisions will have on the masses," he added.
The premier said that provinces should not have ordered a lockdown until they thought about the effects of that decision on the daily wagers and the poor.
"However, everyone panicked all at once. They were looking at Europe and Wuhan City in China, that were going through different circumstances. Our situation was totally different," he added.
The prime minister spoke about how he was subjected to criticism for not imposing a complete lockdown across the country. "He [Modi] imposed the lockdown they [criticis] wanted me to impose. I thank God that I resisted pressure and didn't do that," he added, noting that there 34% of the people in India were facing hunger and extreme poverty according to research.
PM Imran praised Dr Sania Nishtar and her team for providing billions of rupees to people in a short span of time. He said that the Prime Minister's Relief Fund will be used to provide relief to people who had been unemployed by the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that the government will add to each donation to ensure maximum relief reaches the masses.
The prime minister appreciated Dr Sania Nishtar's initiative to bring together donors and the impoverished on a platform so that the government could not be involved in the middle.
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