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July 12, 2020

Issue of increasing AIDS cases, media freedom echo in NA

Peshawar

July 12, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The PML-N parliamentarian Marriyum Aurangzeb and other members on Friday raised the issue of increasing cases of AIDS and deaths related to the disease on floor of the National Assembly.

Expressing concerns over increasing cases of AIDS, the PML-N parliamentarian said the government itself does not allocate funds to control the disease and uses funds received from international agencies.

She said that Pakistan and Philippines were two countries of the world where number of AIDS patients is increasing rapidly by 57 percent every year.

Responding to a call attention notice, Parliamentary Secretary for National Health Services Dr Nausheen Hamid shifted blame to the past governments, saying then regimes allocated no funds to control the disease. She said 45 centres for the treatment of AIDS are working all over the country.

Dr Nausheen said there are around 183,000 estimated AIDS patients, while only 25,000 people are registered. She said there is a stigma attached to AIDS and people prefer to conceal this disease and only come to get themselves registered in case of critical condition.

She said the federal government is taking serious steps regarding injection safety, one-time use of disposable syringes, safe blood transfusion, and hospital waste management.

The parliamentary secretary informed the House that the government was drafting a national policy on AIDS upto the year 2030. She, however, pointed out no child born at PIMS got disease transferred from his mother. She said that Pakistan would soon receive $2million assistance from abroad to control AIDS. The speaker said the SGDs Committee for AIDS Control was also being activated.

Speaker Asad Qaiser referred issues of firing on journalists who were protesting against closure of a private television channel in front of office of Pemra and non-payment of salaries to media workers to the concerned standing committees of the House.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan, who visited the protesting journalists, was informed by general secretary of the Parliamentary Reporters Association (PRA) that on one hand the media are deprived of their salaries for the last three to six months and on the other hand they were fired at and tortured in front of Pemra headquarters in Islamabad.

Later, speaking on floor of the House, Ali Muhammad Khan requested the chair to direct the information minister to take action on demands of journalist community.

He said a report should also be sought from the Ministry of Interior on the firing incident outside Pemra office.

The PPP parliamentarian Dr Nafeesa Shah said apparently there was democracy, but in real terms a dictatorial government was ruling over the country. She said the present government was imposing restrictions on media under one pretext or the other.

Meanwhile, the PPP parliamentarian Syed Naveed Qamar requested the speaker to talk to the prime minister for solution of problems being faced by the agriculture sector, “It is only prime minister who can resolve issues related to the agriculture sector,” Naveed Qamar on a point of order said.

Rana Tanveer Hussain of the PML-N said the speaker was personally taking interest to boost the agriculture sector, but his efforts were yet to yield any results.

Another parliamentarian said that electricity meters of farmers are removed on non-payment of just Rs2,000, while industries’ defaulters of millions of rupees are spared.

On that Minister for Power Omar Ayub said Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed for promotion of agriculture sector. He said distribution companies have been directed that they should not remove meters of farmers on a short notice.

The speaker directed the minister to arrange a meeting of farmers with management of the distribution companies.