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March 27, 2020

‘Relief package insufficient’: Shahbaz demands food items, medicines supply at utility stores

Top Story

March 27, 2020

LAHORE: Opposition leader in National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif Thursday termed the federal government’s relief package insufficient and called for provision of essential daily-use commodities including food items and life-saving medicines at utility stores.

He also announced withdrawal of a requisition for National Assembly session in view of the efforts to combat coronavirus in the country.

Earlier, the opposition parties in National Assembly had requisitioned an extraordinary NA session to discuss the situation in the wake of coronavirus and devise a collective strategy to fight the disease. In the wake of current situation, Shahbaz Sharif said, the opposition had decided to take back its requisition. “Social distancing must be practised and lives must be protected. We will continue to play our role in battling the pandemic,” Shahbaz confirmed through a twitter message on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the PML-N president announced a plan to ensure supply of food items, medicines and essential daily-use commodities at the doorsteps of people during the lockdown across the country. In this regard, he demanded provision of food items through utility stores.

He suggested that citizens might be given the facility of placing their orders through telephone and mobile applications. He proposed the use of funds of Bait-ul-Maal, Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) and other subsidy programmes to reduce the prices of daily-use items.

He said the government should use freight train, NLC and post office vehicles and staff to supply the essential items to people. He also advised seeking help from corporate sector and private enterprises to assist in this service to humanity.

He urged the government to provide protective kits to the armed forces, rangers, police, doctors, nurses and medical staff, who were performing their duties as frontline soldiers in this fight against coronavirus.

He expressed his sorrow over detection of new coronavirus cases in Islamabad’s suburban areas like Bara Kahu, Shahzad Town and other areas. He demanded redressing complaints of lack of food and medicines in poor localities in Bara Kahu and urged the government to ensure smooth supply of essential items on priority basis.

In view of the new cases of COVID-19 consistently emerging, Shahbaz reiterated to impose complete lockdown in the country.

He urged the government to engage municipal staff to conduct fumigation in all cities on urgent basis, adding the government must request Chinese government for procurement of spraying machines forthwith.

Shahbaz urged the government to incorporate joint opposition’s comprehensive National Action Plan in the national strategy to effectively respond to the health and economic challenge staring the nation in the face.

He urged taking the opposition on board in the fight against coronavirus, and suggested upgrading the “parliamentary committee” as “parliamentary monitoring committee”, which might point out the shortcomings and suggesting alternative solutions to the combat the healthcare and economic challenges of the scourge of coronavirus in the country. “Any slackness or wrong decision may result in loss of precious lives, which have to be prevented at all costs,” he said, adding that nation’s protection from the coronavirus.

He urged the government to call Council of Common Interests (CCI) meeting on a daily basis, and also form a national taskforce with due representation from the opposition. He also demanded the government immediately restore local bodies system in Punjab to use official machinery to good effect in the hour of need.

With all sincerity, putting all our political interests behind and a national resolve, he said, we can come out of this challenge. “The government must act intelligently and in a sagacious manner to defeat the coronavirus,” he added.

Meanwhile, Shahbaz Sharif expressed his sorrow over the sad incident of tanker fire in Shahdara area in Lahore and loss of lives and property. He demanded an inquiry into the incident and awarding punishment to the responsible. He urged the Punjab government to grant financial assistance to the affected families and compensate the loss of rickshaws and motorbikes in the incident.

He said that the first instalment of 5,000 protective gears and 5,000 masks had been handed over to an association of doctors. “The members of the medical fraternity are at the forefront of the national fight against Covid-19,” he said, adding that they needed to be well equipped with the necessary equipment to continue doing their job