By Shakeel Ahmed
ISLAMABAD: PML-N leaders slammed the government on Wednesday for its lacklustre response to the coronavirus pandemic, calling it the leadership’s “biggest failure”.
PML-N stalwart Shahid Khaqan Abbasi addressed a press conference in which he announced that party president Shehbaz Sharif is set to introduce a national action plan soon. He said that it is the need of the hour to display national unity but the government’s behaviour is not on the right track in response to the outbreak.
Abbasi said that the four-pronged action plan in question, while covering certain new aspects, will reflect the importance of the lockdown, which is the sole method for the prevention of the coronavirus’ spread. He said that the next most important measure is to spread awareness regarding precautionary measures for people to take against the virus.The PML-N leader said that the government did not pay much heed to locking down the country, calling it the “biggest failure of the leadership”.
“Practically, the entire Pakistan is under lockdown, some places more than the others… the prime minister seems to be unaware of this,” he said. Abbasi emphasised on the need for economic processes to continue even during a lockdown. “A lockdown does not mean that the economy grinds to a halt.”
He said that the action plan will also comprise a robust medical response as the virus is spreading by about 2.5 times daily. Shehbaz Sharif said that in this time the funds gathered amid the pandemic should be used in a transparent manner.
Shehbaz called parliamentary supervision mandatory for the distribution and use of funds, saying that Pakistan is fighting the virus outbreak with limited funds. He said that the sessions of the standing committees of the Senate and National Assembly should be summoned and the government officials should give a briefing on the situation.
Meanwhile, quoting a foreign publication, PML-N’s Ahsan Iqbal said that 43% Pakistanis did not use preventive measures against the coronavirus. “We could not spread awareness among half of the population,” he lamented.
While criticising the prime minister’s oft-repeated mantra ‘You must not give in to fear’, Iqbal said: “ The nation should not be told to not panic, it should be told to panic”. PML-N leader Mussadiq Malik said that high risk areas should be identified so preventive measures could be put in place.