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November 26, 2020

MPs suggest implementation of NCOC’s decisions

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November 26, 2020

ISLAMABAD: As the opposition skipped the meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Coronavirus Disease, the committee suggested for implementation of decision of the NCOC, later ratified by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) through administrative measures to stop large gatherings.

The meeting of the parliamentary committee was held with the chair of National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and was attended by ministers Asad Umar, Senator Shibli Faraz, Syed Amin-ul-Haq, Leader of the House Senate Dr Wasim Shahzad, Adviser to the Prime Minister Dr Zaheer-ud-Din Babar Awan, Minister for State Ali Muhammad Khan, Special Assistant to PM on Health Services Dr. Faisal Sultan, MNAs Ghaus Bukhsh Khan Mehar, Malik Amir Dogar, senators Ms. Sitara Ayaz, Anwar ul-Haq Karar, Aurangzeb Khan and senior officers of the concerned departments.

The opposition had already announced to boycott the meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Coronavirus as per decision of the 11-party opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).

Due to absence of opposition in the meeting, the committee did not take any decision regarding holding of the sessions of both the houses of the Parliament—Senate and National Assembly.

The parliamentary committee unanimously recommended that the opposition may be consulted for convening the session of the NA for abiding by the previous decision, made with their consensus to hold session of the assembly with minimum quorum to be worked out by the treasury and the opposition.

NA Speaker, while chairing the 5th meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Corona virus Disease, has said that the present situation of COVID-19 was alarming and warrant strict adherence to the health advisories and SOPs. He called upon political leadership, intelligentsia, opinion makers and health experts to build a national narrative to make aware people of the disastrous effects of COVID-19.

Noting the absence of the members of the opposition with deep concern, the Speaker said that considering the present state of corona pandemic, the opposition irrespective of the political differences, should have attended the meeting to give their valuable input. He anticipated that better sense would prevail and the opposition would attend the subsequent meetings of the parliamentary committee. He said that the objections, raised by certain quarters about the constitution of the committee, were irrelevant since it was valid constituted in exercise of powers vested in him under the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly, 2007.

He further informed that before issuance of formal notification of the same, all the parliamentary parties in the Senate and the National Assembly were duly consulted.

The NA Speaker said that he and his family had undergone the disease, thus knew its devastating effects.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Services and Regulation Dr Faisal Sultan apprised the committee about the comparison of the figures related to COVID-19 with previous and latest position. He said that the situation was alarming and the disease would cast devastating effects if SoPs and decisions of the NCOC were not implemented in letter and spirit.

Apprising about the COVID-19 testing and available health facilities, he said that government had enhanced its testing capacity, besides making all resources available to provide facilities in hospitals for COVID-19 patients.

He appreciated the decision of the NCOC for imposing restrictions on the large gathering, public congregations and educational activities which were major contributor in spread of disease.

Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar accused the opposition for playing with the lives of the people and said that the corona was spreading due to opposition rallies. He said the national leadership should have to change its attitude. He told the committee that the second wave of coronavirus is more dangerous than first one.

The members of the Parliamentary Committee had the consensus that all the political leadership ought to give a unified message to the public to adopt precautions in order to curtail the spread of the coronavirus disease. They suggested for implementation of decision of the NCOC, later ratified by the Islamabad High Court through administrative measures to stop large gatherings. They regretted that opposition should have attended the instant meeting since issue of immense national importance was under consideration. They unanimously appreciated the convening of the committee, which was constituted under the rules and Constitution and held its 4th meeting attended by all i.e. treasury and the opposition without raising any objection about its constitution and also made recommendations on COVID-19, which are being implemented.

The members also suggested for making arrangements for online classes through national TV and PBC for students to carry on their studies from home.

The committee also paid tributes to the doctors, paramedics and all those involved in proving healthcare facilities to the COVID-19 patients. The committee also appreciated the performance of NCOC for monitoring the prevalence of the disease and its spread.

While talking to the reporters after the meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Coronavirus Disease, Information Minister Shibli Faraz warned for more strict administration action to stop holding of the opposition rallies, saying that the cases would be registered against the organisers and their political leaders.

He said that the opposition talked about democracy and democratic norms but practically they do not care for them. “There were some national issues which should be above politics and be tackled with consensus strategy,” he said.

He said after failure of Peshawar rally the opposition should adopt a sensible approach and cancel its future rallies. He said that the objective of the opposition was to protect the money it plundered when in power but the government would not give them any concessions. He said that for personal gains, the opposition parties were playing with the lives of the people.