Info Ministry, ISPR tasked to deal with media

-NCOC briefing on Covid-19

Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan said on Friday that the information ministry, along with Director General Inter-services Public Relations (DG ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar would coordinate and brief the media on the coronavirus situation.
She made these remarks during a joint press conference with the DG ISPR in Islamabad to brief the media about decisions taken by the premier during the National Coordination Committee (NCC) meeting earlier in the day.
Awan added that the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) would be the hub and they would ensure that timely and

accurate information was provided to the media.
“Media can become the right hand of the information ministry and the ISPR in defeating this pandemic. Together we will ensure that accurate information is provided to the people.”
Meanwhile, DG ISPR also lauded the role of the media during the current coronavirus situation, noting that the media had done “objective reporting and made people aware”. He added that the government needed the full cooperation of the media to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed all provinces to share statistics related to coronavirus pandemic with the National Command and Control Centre, media reported on Friday.
PM Imran Khan, while chairing the session of National Coordination Committee (NCC) today, said that hiding coronavirus statistics was tantamount to risking national security. It is also decided to resume activities of construction sector immediately across the country. He said that the situation is under control after timely efforts of the federal government and national institutions. The premier reiterated that restrictions will remain into effect until April 14 and the government will make further decisions after the period.
Moreover, Prime Minister Imran Khan has also visited the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) where he was given a briefing over the current situation of coronavirus pandemic. PM Imran Khan was accompanied by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa. The premier expressed satisfaction over the establishment of NCOC.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan rose to 2,458 on Friday after 76 new infections were confirmed in the country. The national dashboard, maintained by the federal ministry of health, the death toll increases up to 35 after two passed away today and 10 patients are in critical condition. The latest statistics of the national dashboard stated 126 patients have recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic thus far.
The SAPM also said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has decided to strike a balance between lockdown and hunger. Awan added that the prime minister directed that the hoarding and profiteering mafia be dealt with a strict hand. He also urged law enforcement agencies to keep a “zero tolerance policy” for smuggling and take action against any such individuals.
The prime minister also directed that no long queues be formed at the entry/exit points of provinces and that there should be no problems related to the supply chains. He directed the provincial ministers to cooperate with the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood to bring forward a comprehensive plan so that Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) could be developed for the health and safety of those working in the “specific” industries that would be allowed to operate.
Explaining the purpose of the National Command and Operations Centre, the DG ISPR said that it had been formed to collect, analyse and collate data and information, draft recommendations and forward them to the National Coordination Committee which was being headed by Prime Minister Imran Khan so that the political leadership could take decisions. NCOC was being headed by Planning Minister Asad Umar, he said, adding that it was an “operational nerve centre that was being used to synergise the national effort”.