PM urges joint efforts as Opp walks out

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STAFF REPORT

Islamabad

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday has said that we have to be well-prepared before imposing curfew in the country for the prevention of deadly coronavirus while parliamentary leaders of all parties urged for joint efforts beyond politics to control virus.

While addressing the meeting of parliamentary leaders via video link, the PM said that we would not be able to provide food to the people at their houses due to lack of resources. Decisions taken in fear and anxiety never prove to be right, he added.

PM Imran requested the leaders of all political parties and people of Pakistan to jointly fight against the coronavirus. Will soon announce program for volunteers, he asserted.

Speaker Asad Qaiser in his opening remarks opined that Corona virus pandemic had posed serious threats to the health of people across the globe besides inflicting serious dent to the world economies and Pakistan was not an exception. He said that purpose of this parliamentary discourse was to collectively brainstorm and forge policies guidelines for the government to tackle that pandemic and its aftermath. The Speaker appreciated the steps Federal Government, provincial governments and the governments of Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan had initiated for taking care of the effected people besides curtailing its spread.

The Prime Minister Imran Khan while addressing the meeting acknowledged the gathering of parliamentarians said that the government could not alone fight any challenge but it could win the challenge with collective efforts of the nation. He said that the government was fully cognizant of the breakout of this pandemic and had taken numerous steps in coordination with the provincial governments. Later, Special Assistant to PM on Health Dr.ZafarMirza and Chairman NDMA briefed the meeting about the present stage of pandemic and the relief measures of the government.

The Leader of the Opposition and other participants of the meeting expressed their points of views. There was a general consensus that the fight against corona virus could be won through collective efforts. They were of the view that doctors and paramedics were vulnerable as they were on the forefront, therefore, they may be equipped properly. The participants also suggested taking care of the vulnerable and marginalized segments of the society through schemes of the government for social protection.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah MehmoodQureshi while addressing the concluding session of the meeting said that government was fulfilling its obligations in coordination with provincial governments, however, said that positive criticism will help the government to better deal with the situation. He said that Chinese leadership acknowledges the help Pakistan had extended during the whole crisis, thus they have wholeheartedly extended help to the government of Pakistan in terms of equipment, medicines and other supplies required to fight this pandemic.

Leader of the opposition Shahbaz Sharif and chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari staged walk out from the video conference as protest .Both were of the view that PM Imran Khan should listen them also but he left conference after his speech because opposition wanted to give some important suggestions but Imran Khan didn’t want national integrity and unity in this difficult time.

Concluding the meeting, the Speaker Asad Qaiser thanked all the parliamentary leaders for their valuable input. The Speaker informed the participants that the names from the Treasury and the Opposition for the Parliamentary Committee on Corona had been received and the Committee will be notified in due course of time. He further said that he will constitute a Sub-Committee to formulate Terms of Reference (ToRs) of the Parliamentary Committee so that the Committee may focus constructively on the issue.

The meeting was held in Parliament House, with Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser in the chair. The meeting was attended by Federal Ministers Asad Umar, Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, Shah MehmoodQureshi, PervaizKhattak ,Dr.FehmidaMirza, Minister of State Ali Muhammad Khan, Deputy Chairman Senate SaleemMandviwala, Leader of the House Senate ShibliFaraz, Special Assistant to PM on Health Dr.ZafarMirza, MNAs Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, NawabzadaShahzainBughti, Ms.ShahidaAkthar Ali, Senators MushahidUllah Khan, Anwar ul HaqKakar, Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif, Maulana Abdul GhafoorHyderi, Usman Khan Kakar, Aurangzeb Khan, Ms.SitaraAyaz, and Chairman NDMA.

While Prime Minister Imran Khan, Leader of the Opposition Mian Shahbaz Sahrif and Chairman PPP Mr. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, MNA and Senator Sherry Rehman joined the meeting through Video Link.