ISLAMABAD - Pakistan People’s Party chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari yesterday said that the PPP-led Sindh provincial government will give a special package to doctors similar to the one given to the brave soldiers fighting against terrorism.

In a statement, he said that doctors fighting bravely the COVID-19 pandemic “are our national heroes.” The PPP Chairman expressed these views while addressing the People’s Doctors Forum office-bearers at Bilawal House Karachi through video link.

PDF President Dr Karim Khawaja, Punjab President Dr Khayyam Hafeez, Dr Javed Iqbal and Dr Arsalan Dewan, Sindh President Dr Razzaq Sheikh Dr Yar Ali Jamali, KP President Dr Nisar Ahmad Khan and Dr Dawood Iqbal,  Dr Ashiq Hussain Shah and Afzal Abro and others participated.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that the non-arrival of the federal government’s economic bailout package reduced the effectiveness of the lockdown and further spread the COVID-19 outbreak.

He said the federal governments all over the world have given such relief packages but ours has given nothing except continuing the Benazir Income Support Program funding started by PPP, he stated.

PPP Chairman said he had been talking about giving relief package not only to Sindh but to all the provinces alike but instead of helping, federal government is placing obstacles in our way.

Bilawal said that the federal representative – Governor - Sindh is not even signing the relief package ordinance given to the people by the Sindh government as an attempt to create hindrance.

The package includes job and salary protection for the people of the province, rebates on utility bills, relief in school fees and rebates on house rent. Sindh government wants to give relief to the people of the province in all provincial taxes through this ordinance, he added.

He further said that we also want the lockdown to end but before that we have to ensure the safety of people’s lives and urged that abundant test kits will have to be given to the provinces and facilities in hospitals will also have to be increased to cope with the situation.

On medical facilities, he said that the federal government is not doing anything even in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa where the people had given them a mandate. We state that not only Sindh but the federation should help all the provinces as they need it, he added.

He said that the federation and all the provinces should realise that timely measures taken by Sindh did not allow the COVID-19 outbreak epidemic to worsen.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari directed the People’s Doctors Forum (PDF) to intensify the public campaign to keep the people safe from pandemics like COVID19 and to make them aware of safety measures.

Earlier, in the meeting, the Party Chairman was briefed about the medical facilities in the country.

Dr Dawood Iqbal from KPK said that at that time most of the deaths from COVID19 occurred in KPK and most of the doctors were also affected due to lack of safety equipment. 

No representative of the KPK government who lost his life while fighting COVID19 has yet contacted the bereaved family, which has severely affected the morale of doctors, nurses and paramedical staff. Test facilities are also very limited in KPK, he was informed.

Dr Arsalan Dewan from Punjab told the PPP Chairman that the Center for COVID19 set up at the Expo Center in Punjab did not even have oxygen facilities and patients were protesting against the unavailability of potable water.