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June 6, 2020

Murad blames federal govt for spread of Covid-19


June 6, 2020

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that federal government failed to perform its constitutional obligation related to properly quarantine people coming from abroad during the coronavirus pandemic as this negligence becomes the major source of the spread of the deadly viral disease in the country.

Sindh CM stated this late on Friday evening during his speech in Sindh Assembly to wind up the hour-long general discussion in the house on coronavirus pandemic that commenced a day earlier. Sindh CM recalled constitutional obligation of the federal government in response to query of the Opposition of Leader during his speech in the house as he had wanted to know about the constitutional duties of the federal and provincial governments during the situation of epidemic.

At the beginning of his speech, Sindh CM along with other MPAs in the house stood from their seats to pay homage to doctors and frontline workers present in the gallery of the house for their emergency services against the spread of the coronavirus. He recalled that when his government had advised all the people to do home isolation under the lockdown measures, then directives were given to these frontline workers to come out and provide their emergency services. He advised lawmakers on the treasury benches not to thump desks during his speech in the house as he mentioned that during the day 40 people had died in the province from the coronavirus. He said that 27 health workers had lost their lives while seven policemen were also martyred in the line of duty during the time of coronavirus epidemic.

The CM said that federal government first of all had failed to perform its constitutional obligation to quarantine people coming from Iran at the Taftan border.

He said that federal government instead of fulfilling its constitutional duties at Pakistan-Iran border had blamed the Balochistan government for resultant worsened quarantine situation in Taftan.

According to CM, the only success story of the entire coronavirus pandemic in Pakistan was successful quarantining of 1,380 people coming from Taftan border in Sukkur for which arrangements were made by the Sindh government. He said that not a single person had died there at the huge quarantine facility in Sukkur despite that several people who had reached the province from Taftan had carried the deadly virus.

He blamed the federal government for worsening situation of the coronavirus in the country. He said that situation would have been a lot better had the federal government had taken the decision to impose the lockdown in the country on 13th March on the recommendation of his government. “They committed the mistake and now we are being asked to tackle the situation,” he said. He lamented that despite extraordinary services of his government during the coronavirus epidemic, vicious efforts had been made to defame it.

Shah said that despite widespread fear mongering, not a single person in the province had died of hunger during the lockdown against the spread of coronavirus. He said that the Federal Investigation Agency despite repeated requests had failed to act upon his complaint to trace the culprits behind the baseless campaign on social media to defame his government during the lockdown. Murad Ali Shah has said that he had received Rs3.6 billion donations in the provincial coronavirus emergency fund which had increased to Rs3.629 billion, after earning bank profit, against which Rs1.09 billion have been utilized so far. He added that over 5,000 people of Tabligh Jamaat were tested, of them 765 came positive.

Testing Capacity: Shah said that the testing capacity which was 80 per day at the initial stage has crossed 7000 testing capacity.

“At present 80 per cent tests are conducted by the Sindh government labs,” he said and added Sindh was the only province where testing capability (labs) has been developed in nine districts. Shah said that the Sindh province has far better and highest testing capacity in the country even better than the province where the PTI had been in power for the last seven years.

“I am surprised even then the PTI leaders are asking what the Sindh government has done so far,” he said.

Talking about the federal government, the chief minister said that they had budgeted space of BISP, funds for wheat procurement, international aid, agreement with IMF which enhanced the borrowing capacity of the federal government and top of it people had donated them. “Despite all these facts, they did nothing,” he said and added contrary to the federal government, the Sindh government has the limit of borrowing only Rs15 billion – equivalent to six weeks salary fixed some seven years ago.

In the end, the chief minister played a video message of late provincial minister Murtaza Baloch recorded on a mobile phone when he in isolation. Late Murtaza Baloch praised the chief minister and his efforts to contain corona and urged people to strengthen the hands of the chief minister.

Earlier in his speech, Leader of Opposition in house Firdous Shamim Naqvi belonging to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf said that Ehsaas emergency cash assistance provided to poor people during the lockdown had done a lot to provide relief to needy families as otherwise there would have been widespread unrest in a city like Karachi. He blamed that Sindh CM had been never seen visiting any shanty town to ask for the welfare of its residents.

He said that strict lockdown should be imposed in such areas of the country where there had been large presence of corona patients. He said that every district in the province should have its own hospital to treat the patients of COVID-19. He said that more fruit and vegetable wholesale markets should be established in the province to stop the spread of the deadly virus.

He said that Sindh government should do proper legislation to introduce penal actions against people violating lockdown measures and social distancing rules. He feared that coronavirus epidemic had to last for next one-and-half-years. He said that restriction could not be imposed on religious congregations and social gatherings including marriage ceremonies for long.

Parliamentary party leader of MQM Kanwar Naveed Jameel said that over 80 per cent cases of coronavirus in Sindh were in Karachi while the city also accounts for over 80 per cent deaths in the province due to the viral disease. The Opposition legislator said that they had earlier requested the Sindh chief minister and provincial Education Minister Saeed Ghani to get a briefing on the alarming health situation of the province so that they could get to know about the steps being taken on first hand basis. But the request was not honoured by the government.

He suggested that large school premises in the city should be utilized for building facilities to treat the patients of the viral disease. He said that people critically ill due to coronavirus infection should get the facility of ventilator without the phone call of any minister.