KARACHI: Taking an indirect shot at the federal government, Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah blamed ‘mixed messages’ from the centre and not the public, for the violation of COVID-19 SOPs across the country.
Speaking to media outside the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) Rawalpindi office on Thursday, CM Murad said that mixed signals had been sent regarding the coronavirus which had claimed more than a thousand lives across Pakistan.
“The entire world and our country are going through a trial at the moment,” he said. “SOPs are not being followed at a lot of places and I will not blame the public for it. This is because of the mixed signals being sent to people. One person says it [COVID-19] is a dangerous disease while another says it is just flu, you will be fine after suffering a cold,” he said.
The chief minister said that the centre had voiced concern for the economic impact of the virus on the poor. However, he said that the lives of the poor mattered the most and questioned that if they started dying, who will take care of their children.
“There should be a unified message [from the government] that this is a life-threatening disease,” he said. “This is serious.”
‘Arrived because NAB summoned me, didn’t come under pressure’
CM Murad said that he had appeared before NAB Rawalpindi in relation to the Roshan Sindh programme corruption probe “not under pressure because NAB summoned me.”
He blamed the media for playing up the issue and said that had he not appeared before the anti-graft body to provide his version, media would have speculated that he was about to be arrested.
The chief minister said that he had answered NAB’s questions regarding the Roshan Sindh programme scheme when the anti-graft body asked as to why the scheme was approved later when it wasn’t included in the budget.
“I answered them that the scheme which is not under discussion can be approved later, according to the constitution,” he said, adding that the Roshan Sindh programme was approved by the assembly later. CM Murad said that he had not been provided with a questionnaire by NAB but whenever he receives it, he would respond to it.
NAB officials had earlier shared that they had recovered Rs298 million in the Sindh Roshan programme case.
The bureau has said in the past that some of the accused, Abdul Sattar Qureshi, Abdul Rashid Chana, Aslam Pervaiz Memon and Baldev have agreed to take a plea bargain.
The Sindh Roshan programme case is one of the many ones falling under the fake accounts case. It relates to the installation of solar-powered street lights allegedly on allegedly illegal contracts in various districts of Sindh.
The chief minister arrived in Islamabad on Wednesday evening for the hearing. The bureau had also summoned Murad a few months back in the same investigation but he did not appear.
Former chief minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah had also appeared before NAB in the same case and had pleaded not guilty to any corruption charge. It was Qaim Ali Shah’s government that had approved the Sindh Roshan programme initiative.