HomePakistanPostpone rallies; don’t play with lives, PM tells Opp

Postpone rallies; don’t play with lives, PM tells Opp

ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday appealed to the opposition parties to postpone their public gatherings for the sake of people’s lives as COVID-19 patients had already occupied 40 percent of the country’s hospital capacity.

“In Multan, 64 percent of hospital beds are full, 40 percent in Peshawar, 50 percent in Islamabad. At an average, 40 percent of the country’s hospitals are under occupancy,” the prime minister said here in a media briefing after chairing the meeting of National Coordination Committee on COVID-19.

He made it clear that the opposition’s public gatherings would make no difference for the government rather it was tantamount to playing with the people’s lives. He viewed that the public gatherings would do nothing but to enhance the chances of spreading virus when the pressure at healthcare system including doctors and nurses was already on rise.

He said the opposition parties could hold gatherings after two or three months for the sake of people’s lives for what the government had already closed down educational institutions, indoor wedding ceremonies and dining at restaurants.

The prime minister said amid the opposition’s public gatherings, it was difficult for the government to justify the enforcement of standard operating procedures (SOPs) like social distancing on other sectors like businesses and mosques.

The enforcement of SOPs during the second wave, he added, was already a challenge across the world as the people were resisting their governments’ decisions. He said during the first wave, Pakistan had successfully navigated because the people had taken the precautions as a nation and observed discipline.

England and California were again under lockdown, and Pakistan could avert any worst scenario just by adhering to the precautions, he stressed.

 

The prime minister said the indoor gatherings during winter increased the chances of virus spread and any violation of the SOPs would put hospitals under immense pressure to make the country face difficult time.

He said Pakistanis, as nation would have to take precautions with use of face mask above all. India, he added, had faced around 150,000 deaths and around 400 people were dying daily in Iran. “(Therefore) We will have to assist ourselves if we need Allah’s assistance,” he remarked.

 

Prime Minister Imran Khan was on Thursday told that the Chinese government and companies were keen to invest $ 3 billion in the Ravi City project in Lahore and that the investment did not include any kind of loan.

            Besides, he was informed, that ANGCC – a Global Investment Consortium, had also offered to invest $ 5 billion in the project on partnership basis.

            The prime minister, who was presiding over a meeting of the working group of Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Authority (RUDA) and Pakistan Islands Development Authority (PIDA), was told that in order to further speed up the progress on the Ravi City project, a board had been constituted and work on the project would start in January.

            The meeting was attended by Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz, Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, Special Assistant to the PM on Political Communication Dr Shehbaz Gill, Naya Pakistan Housing Authority (NPHA) Chairman Lt Gen. ® Anwar Ali Haider and Deputy Chairman Maj Gen ® Ameer Aslam Khan, and Pakistan Islands Development Authority Chairman Imran Ameen.

            Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, Advisor to the Punjab Chief Minister Dr Salman Shah, Special Assistant to the Punjab CM Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, RUDA Chairman Rashid Aziz, Punjab chief secretary and senior officers concerned also attended the meeting through video link.

            The prime minister stressed that Ravi City, being an unprecedented and first of its kind mega project, would address the increasing problems of Lahore.

            Its completion would not only provide the facilities of potable water, appropriate sewerage, clean environment and modern housing to the citizens of Lahore, but also help create job opportunities and develop local and national economy, particularly the industries through huge foreign investment.

   About Pakistan Islands Development Authority, the prime minister was told that the environmental and master plan studies would start in January.

            Besides, he was told that in partnership with the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) a programme was being formulated to ensure employment of fishermen related with the Islands and for the protection of maritime habitat.

            Imran Khan, while expressing his satisfaction over the progress made on the Bundle Islands, stressed that all stakeholders would be taken on board for the success of the project.



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