COVID-19: Gen Bajwa inquires after Shahbaz Sharif, Sheikh Rashid on phone

Speaking to PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif, COAS Bajwa prayed for his early recovery. The News/via Geo.tv/Files

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Thursday called PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif — the leader of the Opposition in National Assembly — and Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid to ask them about how they were doing after contracting the novel coronavirus.

While talking to the PML-N president, COAS Bajwa prayed for his early recovery, sources told Geo News.

“Pakistan Army chief advised me to take complete rest for a full recovery,” Sheikh Rashid, who heads Pakistan Awami League, said in a statement.

“Gen Bajwa also offered me to avail any military health facility if I feel the need at any stage,” the minister said from the garrison town of Rawalpindi.

Earlier in the day, the PML-N president had tested positive for the virus, party spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb — who, herself, was diagnosed with the respiratory disease along with her mother — confirmed.

Shehbaz, 69, is a cancer survivor and isolating at home, Aurangzeb said, adding that the former chief minister of Punjab was following his doctors’ advice on how to fight the infection.

NAB’s ‘unavoidable’ hearing forced Shehbaz to come out

Later in the day, Shehbaz said that he was deeply touched by the messages from people who conveyed their best wishes to him

“After feeling a bit unwell [a] couple of days ago, I decided to go for the Covid-19 test. Unfortunately, it turned out to be positive,” he said.

The opposition leader in NA said that he had been “extremely” careful and followed the advice of health officials in light of the pandemic.

“Except for a couple of unavoidable outings recently like appearance before NAB, I have been home and conducted most of the meetings online,” he said.

The disease poses alarmingly high “threat levels”, Shehbaz said, urging people to take precautionary measures.

“I appeal to people from the core of my heart to be extraordinarily careful. The households should designate one person for necessary outdoor chores. Others should strictly stay home,” he added.

Long list of lawmakers

Speaking to Geo Pakistan, PML-N representative Ata Tarar revealed that Shehbaz had himself tested for COVID-19 after showing mild symptoms of the infection. He said the result of the test came back positive on June 10.

A day earlier, PML-N Secretary-General Ahsan Iqbal tested positive for coronavirus. Iqbal and party spokesperson Aurangzeb joined a long list of lawmakers who have tested positive for the coronavirus, including former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and PTI MPA from Sindh Khurrum Sher Zaman.

Earlier this week, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and PTI MNA Jai Prakash had contracted the infection. Last week, PPP MPA Sharjeel Memon had announced he tested positive for coronavirus and was in self-isolation.

The same week, PML-N Punjab Assembly lawmaker Mian Naveed Ali from Pakpattan had tested positive for coronavirus.

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