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April 2, 2020

Armed forces to guard border between people and COVID-19: COAS

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April 2, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Wednesday said the armed forces would stand shoulder to shoulder with the nation to guard the border between people and COVID-19.

General Bajwa, who attended a special briefing at the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), maintained that the Pakistan Army, being part of national effort, would not leave any stone unturned for security and safety of the people of Pakistan. “Troops on ground must reach out to citizens in every nook and corner of Pakistan not only to protect them against this pandemic but also for bringing comfort in this hour of distress,” the COAS said.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Minister for Planning Asad Umar, who is also focal person for national effort for COVID-19, Interior Minister Brig (retd)Ijaz Ahmed Shah, Minister for Revenue Muhammad Hammad Azhar, Minister for Communication Murad Saeed, Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Minister for Food Security and Research Khusro Bakhtiar, Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi, Special Assistant to PM on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, SAPM on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Special Assistant on Health Dr Zafar Mirza, SAPM on National Security Moeed Yousaf, SAPM on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Sania Nishtar and senior military officials attended the briefing.

The COAS said that only through a coherent national effort all vulnerabilities could be addressed before they turn into threats.

“We must rise - and rise together irrespective of caste, colour, creed and religion fighting as one nation,” he said. General Bajwa observed that all the planned measures, if implemented timely, will contribute to safety and wellbeing of every Pakistani and society at large.

“The task at hand is daunting, but we have overcome difficult situations before. This time the challenge is entirely different,” the COAS observed. The army chief assured that all necessary measures to ensure public safety were being taken as he said they could not afford to leave any segment of the society at the mercy of this pandemic.

The forum was briefed about latest situation on containment efforts and enforcement measures against COVID-19 and troops deployment across the country assisting federal and provincial administrations in aid of civil power.

According to the ISPR, the forum expressed complete satisfaction over the measures taken thus far and also dilated upon future course of action. The NCOC is serving as a nucleus for one window operation to synergise and articulate national effort against COVID-19, optimise informed decision-making and ensure implementation of decisions of National Security Committee (NSC) and National Coordination Committee (NCC).

Commander Army Air Defence Command, Lieutenant General Hamooduz Zaman Khan has been designated as chief coordinator of NCOC.