Lockdowns evoke Indian siege of IoK, says PM

Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Tuesday the international community can now understand the suffering of the people of occupied Kashmir in the wake of demonstrations in various parts of the world against coronavirus lockdowns.
Taking to Twitter, he said: “Demonstrations in various parts of the world are now going on against lockdowns during a pandemic – despite prov[ision] of medical, financial, communication & food assistance.”
“Perhaps now international community can understand the suffering of Kashmiris in IOJK as they suffer brutal oppression under an inhumane military lockdown continuing for over 8 months now without any provision of medical, financial, communication or food assistance,” he added.
The prime minister said the racist Hindutva Supremacist Modi Govt has, in fact, ensured that the Kashmiris are deprived of all basic amenities during the lockdown. Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said that Pakistan is “an independent nation” while addressing a question regarding the government’s decision to continue to keep mosques open even as Muslim countries around the world have decided to keep them closed in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I felt very bad when I saw police beating up people. Ramazan is a month of worship, people want to go to mosques.
“Do we forcefully tell them to not go to mosques? And if they go, will the police put worshippers in jail? This does not happen in an independent society. In an independent society [we] make people come together. In an independent society, people use their independent minds and then decide what is better for the country and what is not,” the premier said.
He reiterated that the nation was “fighting against the coronavirus together”. The prime minister also clarified that the government will be forced to review its decision if worshippers fail to follow the 20 guidelines agreed upon by religious scholars.
“I would urge people to pray at home but if you want to go to mosques, keep in mind that you will have to follow these 20 points,” he said. “If these points are not followed and if this virus spreads through any mosque in Ramazan then we will have no choice and this has been agreed upon but to take action and close the mosques.”
Planning Minister Asad Umar, who is also heading the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC), told the media that recommendations to implement a “smart lockdown” have been discussed with provincial chief ministers, health ministers, and chief and health secretaries. He said that a structure has been made that will enable the targetted lockdown to be implemented on all levels, from provinces to Union Committees. The minister said that the government was mobilising all resources available and expressed the hope that once the new system was implemented, citizens would be able to work and economic activities in the country can resume.