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March 31, 2020

PTI leader asks govt to tell where it spent funds obtained from donations, salaries’ deductions

Karachi

March 31, 2020

Expressing serious concern over the troubles being faced by the poor, especially daily-wagers, due to the lockdown regime, the leader of the opposition in the Sindh Assembly, Firdous Shamim Naqvi of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), has demanded that the Sindh government take the opposition parties on board before making decisions regarding the lockdown.

He also demanded immediate delivery of rations at the doorsteps of the poor in the province. Addressing a press conference on Monday, Naqvi said the provincial government had not taken the opposition parties on board regarding the decision of lockdown in the province, particularly in Karachi.

He said leaders of the Pakistan Peoples Party and the PTI had attended a meeting about implementing the lockdown to limit the spread of COVID-19. “In the meeting, it was decided that we will jointly make efforts to fight the pandemic. But it was not materialised,” he remarked.

“In the Sindh Assembly, the number of members of opposition parties is 68 and they have been invited only in two meetings regarding the coronavirus spread among the 20 notified meetings,” the opposition leader complained.

He lamented that the provincial government did not hold any meeting with the opposition parties, especially the PTI, after the imposition of the lockdown. The PTI leader said that he tried to contact leaders of all the major political parties to form a parliamentary committee for dealing with the crisis but in vain.

Citing the provincial information minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah’s statement which said the lockdown should not be seen as a curfew but “care for you”, Naqvi said although a campaign was running on television channels to educate people to adopt precautionary measures to protect themselves from the virus, the situation of the lockdown on the ground was far from satisfactory.

The PTI leader said the people of Sindh were worried about the situation. “They want to know when the lockdown will end and who will provide rations at their houses. Even after the passage of 10 days, the Sindh government has no answer to these questions,” he stated.

He asked if the Sindh chief minister would tell the people about how long the lockdown would continue. He said the steps of the Sindh government were appreciable but, it should be kept in mind that several people had passed away in Sindh because of the virus.

“The Sindh government has continuously been issuing orders but there is no implementation on the ground,” said Naqvi. He said Rs1.7 billion was deducted from the salaries of employees and the provincial government had received donations between Rs10 million and Rs 30 million but of them Rs10 million was spent on the Expo Centre and Rs580 million was given to the deputy commissioners. “Where the remaining money went,” he asked. “As per a statement of CM Murad Ali Shah, there are 1 crore daily wagers in Sindh. If this money is spent amongst them, each of them would get a mere Rs58.”

The PTI leader residents across the province have been complaining to them on the phone about hunger. He added that the facility of quarantine centres should be available in every district.

“People go to hospitals for testing but they are sent back. There is mismanagement everywhere,” he said. Asking the chief minister to take all the political parties on board and make a public policy, Naqvi said all the parties had to jointly save the lives of people and should not let the people die of hunger. He also opposed the closure of shops of necessary items, such as food, by 5pm and termed it a cruel decision.

He suggested that medical stores should remain open round the clock. Haleem Adil Sheikh, the PTI parliamentary leader in the Sindh Assembly, said the CM was busy in self-marketing. “Since Feb 26, when the first coronavirus case emerged in the province, the Sindh government has held 20 notified meetings, completely ignoring the opposition parties,” he said. He said 15 days had passed but the people of Sindh did not get financial support. He said the personal protective equipment (PPE) was not available for the doctors.