Onus on Govt, if virus situation worsened: PPP

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From Abid Usman

LAHORE: Pakistan Peoples Party Central Punjab President Qamar Zaman Kaira has said if the situation worsens due to corona virus, the responsibility will fall on the Prime Minister and his cabinet, demanding the federal government should release the entire share to Punjab under the NFC.
While addressing a press conference after the PPP Lahore Division (Rural) video-link meeting in the PPP Punjab Secretariat, flanked by general secretary Chaudhary Manzoor Ahmed, and Information Secretary Syed Hassan Murtaza and other leaders, on Tuesday Qamar Zaman Kaira said that nowadays there is a debate lack of national consensus on Corona virus crises, and it was the responsibility of the federal government to establish the national consensus, and not the opposition’s job, in which it failed miserably. At the onset of the corona virus, Bilawal Bhutto has offered full cooperation to the government to create a national consensus, but the federal government did not respond positively, he said.
The PPP leader said that war with Corona is only possible through mutual cooperation and consensus, if the situation worsen across the country, the prime minister and his cabinet would be responsible, he warned. The Sindh government consulted with all to deal with the crisis, he added.
Qamar Zaman Kaira said that the Punjab government which is already suffering from financial difficulties has not been able to meet its target in collecting taxes, and its development, health, education and welfare budgets have been cut. He added in the Corona crisis, the federal government did not give a single rupee to Sindh, even it did not extend help to Punjab against Corona epidemic, he added. Nothing was provided to the doctors who are front line soldiers in the war against Corona, he said.The Sindh government had proposed a complete lockdown in the first 15 days, and all the provinces of the country followed the steps of the Sindh government, he recalled.
The PPP Central Punjab President noted that there is always room for amendments in the constitution for improvement but no compromise will be made on the fundamental human rights, and the financial and administrative powers of the provinces. He demanded the federal government should release the entire share under the NFC so the provinces including Punjab can deal with the corona virus in a better way.
He alleged that the government had announced a package of Rs 1240 billion, but not a single penny delivered yet, while quoting figures the PPP leader reminded that we had sought explanation in this regard but did not get any reply. Punjab had to receive Rs 1,601 billion but got Rs 1,046 billion, the remaining is shortfall, Punjab had a target of 284 in terms of taxes but 154 billion was collected, 693 billion was debt which has reached 943 billion rupees, 63 billion rupees are to be paid in interest, budgets of various departments in Punjab have been cut, he said. Qamar Zaman Kaira said that now the 18th Amendment is itself constitution, main forum of the 18th amendment is the parliament. The government has left the 18th amendment to hide its incompetence from the corona virus.
He maintained that the Federal and Punjab government has failed to provide national response to the Corona crisis. The government is making matters controversial rather than developing national consensus. The government has started debate on the 18th amendment to hide its incompetence from the corona virus, he alleged. Speaker Punjab Assembly Ch Parvez Elahi said that all of us together besides all institutions will have to play their respective role in fighting Coronavirus and for pulling the people out of the difficulties confronting them.
The Speaker Punjab Assembly stated this while speaking to Acting Advocate General Punjab Shaan Gul who along with Assistant Advocate General Punjab Nadir Manzoor Duggal and Safdar Hayat Bosal called on him at his residence here on Tuesday.On this occasion, views were exchanged about Corona pandemic confronting the country.