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April 9, 2020

PTI asks Sindh govt to announce future lockdown strategy well before April 14

Karachi

April 9, 2020

Asking the Sindh government to make and announce a strategy about implementing the lockdown before April 14, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Sindh parliamentarians on Wednesday criticised the Pakistan Peoples Party-led provincial government, saying that its failed planning could not keep people at home to limit the spread of COVID-19.

PTI’s Firdous Shamim Naqvi, who is also the leader of the opposition in the Sindh Assembly, along with other leaders of the party, addressed a press conference at the Karachi Press Club, in which he said Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah should consider his suggestion of easing the lockdown after ensuring the implementation of the code of conduct regarding the coronavirus pandemic. “It will provide relief to most people, particularly the needy, while exposing a minimum number to the coronavirus threat.”

Naqvi suggested that market hours should be increased to cope with the expected rush of buyers in local bazaars. He said on one day, garment shops should be allowed to open and on the other days, the rest of the shops should be allowed to operate. He also demanded that the provincial government announce its future strategy regarding the lockdown well before April 14, which is the date to which the lockdown has been extended by the Sindh government.

Criticising the Sindh government for not fulfilling a single promise it made at the time of the announcement of the lockdown, the PTI leader said people, particularly the daily wagers, who had been badly affected because of the lockdown, could not receive free rations. “People who are dying from hunger will be compelled to take to the streets and the government will not be in a position to control it.”

He said the residents of Sindh wanted to know when the lockdown would end and who would deliver rations at their houses. “More than two weeks into the lockdown, the Sindh government still has no answer to these questions.”

Naqvi also criticised the K-Electric, saying that it had become an anti-people company and was harassing its consumers by sending them heavy average bills. He said Karachi, which was the backbone for the economy of Pakistan, had been witnessing the slow death of its own economy. He said factory workers had been rendered jobless and asked the factories to allow their workers to work after following due precautions.

Haleem Adil Sheikh, the PTI parliamentary leader in the Sindh Assembly, remarked that his party had suggested a proper strategy to deal with the pandemic but the Sindh government did not listen to their advice.

He said the provincial government had abruptly closed down schools and halls. “Now this government is not even able to distribute rations. Where did the promised two million bags of rations go?” he asked.

Sheikh said the PPP was exhibiting dishonesty even during the coronavirus crisis. The salaries of the assembly members and government employees had been deducted but nobody knew where these funds had gone, he remarked.

The PTI leader was of the view that the situation in Sindh is leading towards a civil war. He asked if the Sindh government wanted people to take out arms. “Hungry people would soon hold the rulers from their collars and they would not forgive the provincial government if relief is not provided to them.”

Khurrum Sher Zaman, the PTI Karachi president and MPA, said the planning of Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah regarding the lockdown turned out to be poor. “The Sindh government and its ministers are nowhere to be seen. Hospitals neither have kits to test coronavirus nor doctors are given PPEs [personal protective equipment] and hospital staff is utterly unsafe.”

Stating that coronavirus cases amongst doctors were worrisome, Zaman asked the Sindh government to stop inflicting cruelties on the people of Sindh. He asked the CM to formulate a strategy on coronavirus and said the PTI would fully support him.

PTI MNA Aftab Siddiqui said in some other countries, thousands of people had died but they did not close down their routine life. He said instead of relaxing the lockdown, the provincial government was further tightening it. He urged the government to take heed of the plight of common people and relax the lockdown.