LAHORE                       -                              Punjab Information Minister Fayaz-ul-Hassan Chohan has said on Monday that any individual or collective welfare activity could not be performed without seeking the prior permission from the government.

In a statement, he said that Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar was taking effective decisions in view of the prevailing situation of the coronavirus. The minister said that new rules had been prepared in connection with the individual and collective welfare activities. The new rules would helpful in controlling the gathering of the people to prevent the spread of the virus, he maintained.

He further said that under the new rules, it had been made mandatory for individuals or organizations to get approval from the concerned Deputy Commissioner for performing any welfare activities. He said that complete cooperation of people was vital to control the spread of COVID-19 . He said that the government steps taken for the welfare of less privileged segment in the country amidst coronavirus crisis were being acknowledged around the world.

To a query, he said the philanthropists were donating generously to support the persons who had lost their jobs due to the lockdown. He called upon all well-to-do people to come forward, as the government alone could not cater to the financial needs of the jobless.  

The minister said the Punjab government philanthropy order would not hamper philanthropic activities in the province, rather it was introduced to ensure that people adopt safety protocols against Covid-19. He said the order was introduced to discourage large gatherings.

“The government has formulated standard operating procedures (SOPs) for individual and organisational philanthropic activities in Punjab and it will be compulsory to seek permission from the deputy commissioner (DC) concerned for a philanthropic activity and the DC would ensure all safety measures on the venue,” he said.

The minister said that the government had utmost respect for Tableeghi Jamaat members, adding that they were being taken care of and 33 quarantine centres had been set up for them in the province.

About the financial challenges in the wake of the lockdown, the information minister said that the economies all-over the world had been tested by the impact of Covid-19, but the Punjab government was providing financial support to the deserving families. 

The minister urged the opposition leaders -- Shehbaz Sharif, Asif Ali Zardari and Fazlur Rehman to deposit some million rupees in the Prime Minister’s Corona Relief Fund from the billions of rupees they had gathered from their party workers and followers. He said the opposition leaders had made billions of rupees in politics.

The Punjab information minister urged complete cooperation from masses through social distancing and compliance of the government protocols to contain the spread of the deadly virus in the province.