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November 22, 2020

Peshawar rally: KP govt vows legal action against PDM leaders if COVID-19 cases spiked

National

November 22, 2020

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to initiate legal action against leadership of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) if coronavirus cases increased after the public rally of the opposition parties being held in the provincial capital today.

"The corona situation is quite critical in the country particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and that is the reason the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf postponed its public meeting scheduled for November 21," said Kamran Bangash, Adviser to Chief Minister on Information and Public Relations. Kamran Bangash and Health Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra, who is also holding the portfolio of finance, were briefing media people about the corona pandemic and PDM's public meeting in Peshawar.

He said the government was equally concerned about the opposition leaders as well as their workers as holding public gatherings in the pandemic was inviting the viral infection. The adviser said the corona pandemic had already affected economic growth and public health, and feared the PDM meeting in Peshawar could further deteriorate the situation in KP. "We had already informed the opposition about the present situation in the province particularly in Peshawar and advised them to postpone their November 22 meeting in the city, but they didn't listen to us. If corona cases increased after the PDM meeting, the government would initiate legal action against the opposition leaders," Kamran Bangash warned. He said the provincial government would not create any hurdles to the PDM public meeting in Peshawar. Kamran Bangash said the situation in Peshawar was particularly critical due to the corona pandemic and claimed that besides the doctor and lawyer communities, students, members of the civil society and elderly people were worried about the situation.

Health Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra said that they had noted a sharp rise in the corona cases particularly after recent political meetings in the province. He added that the KP alone had lost four people on Friday and reported 371 positive cases and there has been an unprecedented rise in the corona cases on a daily basis. Taimur Jhagra said they had noted a 12 percent rise in the corona cases in the past three-four days in KP, and predicted further increase in the coming days. About the economic losses caused by the corona pandemic, the health minister claimed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had suffered Rs160 billion loss in the first wave of corona pandemic. He said the opposition leaders should have taken notice of the loss caused by the corona pandemic and should have avoided holding the gathering.

"I wish if someone could ask the opposition leaders if they and their workers would not suffer from the viral infection," said the health minister. Taimur Jhagra said they had postponed their public meeting of November 21 due to the pandemic as they didn't want to put people's lives in danger by inviting them to political meetings.

A health expert, Dr Sajjad on the occasion said that the number of corona patients in hospitals was increasing day by day and advised people to take care of their health. Meanwhile, the Grand Health Alliance, an organisation of health service providers in KP, distanced themselves from press briefing of the ministers, saying they would continue to serve the patients in whatever situation and challenges they face.

A spokesman of the alliance said they had nothing to do with ongoing tension between the government and the opposition parties and urged the two sides not to use their profession for their political purposes.