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March 31, 2020

Govt fighting opposition, media instead of corona: Shahbaz Sharif

National

March 31, 2020

LAHORE: The government, blinded by vengeance, is busy fighting the opposition and the media at a time when a concerted effort is needed to fight coronavirus.

This was alleged by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President and opposition leader in National Assembly, Shahbaz Sharif, here on Monday. While addressing a video-conference of senior party leaders here, he said the government lacked wisdom, and it was pushing the country towards deep abyss.

Shahbaz demanded restoring local governments (LGs) instead of staging a political theatre in the form of a tiger force. He said restoration of local government system would not cost anything and it would offer an effective system at the local level to combat coronavirus at the grassroots level.

“The government should not waste precious time and public money on tiger force at this critical time,” he added. He suggested to form a parliamentary committee to oversee the Corona Relief Fund to ensure its spending in a most judicious and expeditious manner. He said the parliamentary committee should take stock of the foreign aid and its utilisation, saying that the government was using the foreign aid and assistance to serve its political interests.

He urged National Assembly speaker to immediately convene meeting of the Standing Committee on Health to discuss challenges arising due to coronavirus pandemic in the country.

He demanded conduct of free tests for coronavirus in public sector hospitals and expand its canvass across the country. “Had the government cared to act upon our sincere suggestions, it would’ve been able to control the situation,” he added.

Shahbaz demanded immediate restoration of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC), and pointed out that Prime Minister Imran Khan and State Minister for Health were committing contempt of court by not restoring the supreme governing body of medical profession in the country. At a time when it was most needed to monitor the healthcare facilities and services in Covid-19 crisis, he said, Imran Niazi had suspended the supreme regulatory institution. “No doctors can be registered in the absence of PMDC, when it was most needed to register doctors to combat the challenge of coronavirus in the country,” he said, adding that Imran Niazi had failed on the health front.

He said Prime Minister’s Taskforce on Health could not be a replacement of the PMDC, and urged Justice Shakirullah to immediately assume the charge of PMDC and resume healthcare services in these hard times. He urged the government to ensure provision of personal protective equipment (PPEs) to doctors and medical staff as protection of their lives was tantamount to saving the life of the nation.

He said that at party level, the PML-N had started a national volunteer programme to spread awareness about coronavirus and provide economic relief to the poor and most vulnerable segments.

He said that as the opposition leader, he had presented a charter of demands on behalf of all the provinces before the federal government, proposed launch of an awareness campaign on coronavirus in the media and also gave suggestions for swift and effective testing, screening and treatment for coronavirus in Punjab. But sadly, he said, all suggestions fell on deaf ears. Almost all PML-N main leaders participated in the video-conference.