ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan today criticised strongly the partial coronavirus lockdown imposed by the Sindh government saying this was against the federal government’s expectations. Premier said lockdown will trigger unemployment and create problems for common people in Sindh, particularly in Karachi.
Prime Minister expressed these views during a live question-and-answer session via telephone with common callers.
PM Khan began the session by thanking the people of Pakistan for cooperating with the government over the first three waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, and urged them to again adhere to the SOPs to curb the spread of the ongoing fourth wave.
Premier said the government of Sindh’s decision to impose a partial lockdown to curb Covid-19 cases overlooked the hardships of the poor.
“We had a small problem between the federal government and Sindh,” the PM admitted. “Sindh government wanted to impose a lockdown, which is the correct decision and will curb the spread of virus.
“But on the other hand, the thing to see is that will we be able to save the economy from the lockdown? Then there is the issue of hunger problem for the daily wage earners and especially the poor section of our society.”
The prime minister cited the example of “destruction in India” to tell Sindh government not to impose a lockdown until the provincial government has the answers to these questions.
“Their (Indian) government imposed a lockdown at once without thinking problems of the public. They only thought of the upper class and elite like us,” the PM said. He said, “Sindh government should know that when you force a lockdown you are going to keep people hungry. You cannot keep hungry people under a lockdown if you do not have the resources to bring them food.”
The first caller was a woman who told the PM that she was defrauded by a man for Rs6 million 10 years ago, and complained that the authorities arrested the suspect and but no recovery was ever made. PM Khan promised with the lady to solve her problem.
Another caller from a minority community called for a quota in jobs and the prime minister told her that he would instruct the provinces for such quotas.
During the session, a broadcast journalist also called and told the prime minister that he wanted to verify if the QnA session was indeed genuine and live. At this, Prime Minister Imran replied that only those rulers that “break the law or believe in the rule of power rather than the rule of law or are corrupt are fearful of free media”.
“A free media [and] freedom of expression is a great blessing for a country,” he said.
Premier explained he only disagreed with the media when “fake news and propaganda” was spread, referring to the revelations in the EU DisinfoLab report that uncovered an Indian disinformation network against Pakistan.
He pointed out that some journalists from Pakistan are feeding fake Indian accounts that are doing propaganda against the Pakistan Army and prime minister. I only have a problem then [otherwise] real journalism and criticism is a big blessing for a country.”
The prime minister was then relayed more personal problems by two retired soldiers and a farmer and he assured them all that help would be provided to them.
Noor Muadam murder case
Answering a question by a woman about the murder of Noor Mukadam in Islamabad and what steps the government would take for women’s safety, Prime Minister Imran said he had been following the Noor’s murder case from the first day and termed it a “horrifying” incident.
The premier said the tragedy had occurred over the course of two days in front of the whole domestic staff of the alleged killer, Zahir Zakir Jaffer. PM denied the impression that the suspect would be saved just because he belonged to a powerful family. “I want to tell you that no one is being saved in this. Even if he thinks he is a dual national and has American citizenship so he will get away, that is not the case,” he said.
The prime minister noted that the case had shocked everyone, saying everyone had been pained by it and it had had a big impact on the society.
“Noor’s murder is a big tragedy and I want to reassure [the nation] that no one, no matter how powerful they are, will escape full punishment in the case.”