RAWALPINDI:            -         Minister of State for Safron and Narcotics Control Shehryar Khan Afridi on Monday lauded the performance of the prime minister’s Tiger Force volunteers and said they were playing an active role in ensuring implementation on Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to prevent spread of the coronavirus.

Addressing the oath-taking ceremony of the Tiger Force volunteers of Rawalpindi Cantonment Circle here at Rawalpindi Arts Council as a chief guest, he said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan was taking exemplary steps to fight the deadly virus. “Due to the government’s timely initiatives and planning, the public healthcare system has been strengthened as is evident from significant reduction in the number of deaths due to COVID-19 and better recovery rate in Pakistan as compared to the rest of the world,” he noted.

The minister said the pandemic had badly affected the world economy, including Pakistan, but the PTI government was making all-out efforts to provide relief to the citizens despite financial constraints.

“A large number of youths have signed up for the Tiger Force, who are now helping the administration in the fight against the deadly virus,” Afridi added. The minister urged the people to adopt precautionary measures against the virus and follow the advice of the medical experts.

The minister who is also Chairman of the Parliament’s Special Committee on Kashmir Affairs also urged the world to act and save eight million Kashmiris locked in the biggest jail on earth, called Indian-held Kashmir (IHK). He said that citizens should come forward and play a role to express solidarity and raise voice for their Kashmiri brethren, particularly on August 5 since it was that day when the Indian government had revoked held territory’s special status by repealing Article 35A and Article 370 of the constitution. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was hell-bent on carrying out genocide of Kashmiri people, he added.

He said the world needed to intervene to avoid human catastrophe in Kashmir as the presence of over a million Indian forces in disputed territory had turned the valley into a massive jail where around eight million Kashmiris had been kept under detention.

He said Kashmiris had no link with the outside world as all communications, food supplies and medicines had been cut off. The minister said the human rights violations were a major challenge for the world conscience.