KARACHI          -           Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Friday lashed out at the Prime Minister Imran Khan for giving confusing statements on the coronavirus lockdown, warning that it could led to a New York like situation in the one of the densely populated cities of the country-Karachi.

“Karachi is a densely populated city of the country inhibited by poor segments of society,” said the PPP chairman while addressing a presser along with the Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah and other provincial ministers at the Sindh Assembly auditorium. “I’m most concerned about my people from Lyari and Landhi,” Bilawal said, adding that they had been the most affected from the virus and were the most ignored too.

He regretted that federal representatives, from the prime minister to ministers, criticized the PPP-led government in Sindh from the very onset of the pandemic and he had decided to respond to the criticism to keep the record straight.

“We tried to create a national unity on the matter, however, the federal government sabotaged it through its irresponsible statements,” he said adding that every province suffered due to ineffectual policies of the federal authorities.

Bilawal Bhutto said that the Balochistan government was let down by federal authorities at Taftan border, while the Punjab government was also not supported to deal with the Tableeghi congregation situation that later became a hotspot of the virus.

He said that the provincial authorities were working day and night to tackle the virus but the chief minister Sindh was being targeted on a daily basis.

“Sindh has been testing for coronavirus with 90 percent of its resources,” he said, adding. that they had not received a penny from federal government to improve their testing capacity and healthcare facilities and to carry out relief activities or to bring stability to the economy.

Bilawal Bhutto said that they could not do much without the support of the federal government.

Criticizing the constant changes in the statements of the premier, he said that the latest lockdown was approved by the NCOC meeting and now the premier should let it be known as to which elite was he talking about.

“The prime minister is not at the container, he is the prime minister and should perform his responsibilities,” he suggested.

The PPP chairman said that the PPP leaders were unable to commemorate the Labour day with the labourers and party workers as they had done in the past due to coronavirus pandemic.

However, he said that he wanted to dedicate the labour day to those workers who were at the frontline to fight the pandemic.

“Doctors, nurses and paramedics are at the frontline as 400 of them are affected from the virus and nine of them laid their lives while fighting out the pandemic,” he said.

“We also dedicate labour day to the daily-wagers who are most affected from this coronavirus,” he said while demanding the federal government to take concrete steps to facilitate the vulnerable segments of society.

“The prime minister has mentioned daily wagers during his speeches but since the virus began, no funds have been provided to them,” he said.

The PPP chairman said that doctors, nurses and paramedics across the country only wanted personal protective equipment (PPE) and were urging the government to avoid overburdening the hospitals so that they could effectively tackle the infection while also saving their lives.

“Unfortunately, the government failed to fulfill the needs of the medics,” he regretted and asked as to how was it possible that the frontline soldiers were sent to fight at the front without being equipped properly.

He said that although the labour force of the country which comprised 74 percent of the country was passing through the worst times, however, no support was provided to them.

“Only BISP beneficiaries are being transferred money but the daily wagers are being provided no relief,” he said while demanding to immediately provide them with cash support.

He said that any delay in this regard could not be tolerated and the federal government had to take concrete measures to provide relief to the daily wagers.

Bilawal pointed out that during the times of crisis, where a country was battling a pandemic, food security was one of the most important things to assure.

“It was announced that there will be an agricultural package, but it hasn’t come out yet,” he said.

He said that locusts had attacked the crops in Sindh. In the last budget, Bilawal said, the Sindh government appealed to the federal government to fight the locusts and help the provincial governments.

“I’ve even heard that the federal government took time to respond to coronavirus because they were getting ready to fight the locust, while the locust has arrived, the federal plans still haven’t,” Bilawal retorted.

“Locusts are challenging our food security. The centre isn’t even willing to help us kill locusts.”

He criticised the government for always talking about the 18th Amendment but never taking responsibility itself.

“If the premier just wants to be the prime minister of Islamabad then it will be very difficult to fight coronavirus,” Bilawal said.  “If he can’t do his work, he should resign and let someone else take his place,” the PPP chairperson said.

He said that due to COVID-19, the government now has fiscal space and is responsible for the economy.

“We have received donations from the G-20, World Bank and the International Monetary Fund,” Bilawal explained. “Even oil prices have gone down.”

He said that the money received as a support from financial institutions should be used to provide doctors, nurses and paramedics with safety equipment and should be spent on providing relief to the daily wage workers.



PM should resign for someone else

to take his place