PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Saturday held the federal government responsible for the coronavirus spread in Pakistan and said the Sindh government’s efforts in this regard were deliberately sabotaged by the PTI leadership.
Speaking to media in Karachi today, Bilawal Bhutto criticised Prime Minister Imran Khan for creating confusion among the masses regarding the coronavirus.
“Coronavurs was deliberately spread in Pakistan. We wanted to save the people of this country from the virus but our efforts were sabotaged by the Centre and the ruling party.”
Through misinformation, character assassination and deliberate sabotage, the federal government opposed us tooth and nail, he said.
“Our PM says coronavirus has spread and we have to live with it,” Bilawal said, adding, “the disinformation is currently the biggest challenge that we are facing.”
The PPP chairman said the provincial government’s efforts were challenged at every forum and now we see that Pakistan’s per capita daily mortality rate is ahead of India.
“We have more cases than China, who is responsible for this,” Bilawal asked.
While indirectly referring to a Supreme Court order in which the authorities were directed to adopt a uniformed approach towards coronavirus, Bilawal said the court’s directives limited province’s freedom to take independent decisions.
“Our hospitals are now filling, someone has to take responsibility.”
Bilawal said, “they [federal government] should have listened to the doctors who are working day and night on the frontlines.”
He demanded security allowance for the doctors and healthcare professionals who are putting their lives in danger to treat the COVID-19 patients.
He [prime minsiter] never addressed concerns of those at the frontlines or those labour union leaders, Bilawal said. “They talk of labourers but only meet businessmen and industrialists.”
Sindh to challenge sacking of PSM workers
Taking strong exception to the Pakistan Steel Mills crisis, Bilawal questioned the rationale behind the sacking of thousands of workers during the pandemic.
“How can they lay off these labourers when the Sindh government has imposed a ban on firing employees?”
The Sindh government won’t let this happen, Bilawal said.
“We will challenge this injustice,” he said, adding, “the federal government has abandoned poor labours of this country.”
The PPP chairman also criticised the Centre for not helping the provincial government on locusts attacks.
“Sindh chief minister has taken up the issue but has received no response.”
He said that this is a food security issue that we are facing right now in the country.
“For the first time in more than two decades, we have seen such massive locusts attacks.”
Reiterating opposition on the constitution of 10th NFC Award, he said that Sindh government has raised objections in a letter written on May 14.
“The Centre’s message to Azad Jammu Kashmir is dangerous.”
He said the amendment is needed in the Constitution if Gilgit-Baltistan is to be given the provincial status.
‘Transparent’ mechanism for payment of media’s dues
Highlighting media’s role during coronavirus, he said that the media was their ally — which played an important role in curbing misinformation.
“I believe that the Sindh government should do everything that it can to [facilitate] you and the the information minister Nasir Hussain Shah has assured me that they were working on it,” he said.
Talking about a suggestion that the province was mulling over, he said: “If the Sindh government has to give money to your organisation for ads then we should look for a mechanism through which that amount could be transferred directly into your accounts.”
“If your representatives and the representatives of your organisations could meet with Nasir Shah and discuss such a process, then I am confident that during the pandemic when dissemination of information is paramount, a transparent way to deliver the amount to employees can be found.”
Shibli Faraz rejects allegations
Information Minister Shibli Faraz rejected the allegations levelled by the PPP chairman that Centre is undermining Sindh’s efforts.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan made a comprehensive strategy to combat the pandemic,” he said. “At the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) we have all the stakeholders.”
We kept the people updated through regular press conferences, Faraz said.
“The Sindh Chief Minister agrees with us at the NCOC meeting and give contradictory statements later.”
Minister for Postal Services Murad Saeed said that the PPP chairman did not highlight “a single” thing that Sindh has done to tackle the coronavirus.
The minister said that Pakistan is tackling a pandemic, which has affected even the most stable economies of the world.
Taking shots at Bilawal he asked him why was his father, former president Asif Zardari, being treated at a private hospital and not at a public facility.
Nobody has given attention to the health facilities in the country, Murad said.
Talking about what the federal government had done for the country, he said that the premier introduced a package worth Rs144 billion for the people.