LAHORE                -           Political parties attending a provincial level All Parties Conference (APC), on Sunday, counted the government’s failures to combat COVOD-19 and locusts attack besides demanding changes in NAB laws.

A joint declaration issued at the end of the APC also rejected government’s move to encroach upon provincial powers through a controversial NFC notification and attempts at doing away with the 18th amendment.

Hosted by the PPP, the APC was attended by the PML-N, Jamaat-e-Islami, ANP, JUI, JUP, AWP and Barabri Party.

Rana Sanaullah, MPAs Samiullah Khan and Azma Bukhari were part of the PML-N delegation while Kamil Ali Agha represented the PML-Q. The conference was held at Bilawal House, Bahria town Lahore.

The provincial leadership of political parties noted that the situation with regard to COVID-19 was very alarming in the entire country but the government was hiding the deaths especially in the Punjab province. 

They were of the view that government’s attitude to deal with the deadly virus was very irresponsible and non-serious. The APC in its declaration highlighted that Punjab had 60 % population of the whole country but less than 30 % tests were conducted in this province out of the total conducted tests in Pakistan.

The participants of the conference said that the number of beds for patients in hospitals and quarantine centers were being occupied rapidly as more than 0.6 million positive cases had been reported in Lahore according to a leaked report of the health department.

The APC further demanded of the federal government to release Rs 300 billion outstanding dues of Punjab as the present provincial government was keeping a mum over it.

The APC alleged that the central government was trying to encroach upon the powers of the provincial governments through a controversial notification of the NFC. It also criticized the federal government for its move to undo the 18th amendment.

“The centre is bent upon grabbing the constitutional powers and financial resources of the provinces and Punjab will be the worst hit by this move”, the conference participants said, adding that political parties of Punjab would resist this move.

On government’s failure to control locusts attack, the APC estimated that over 25 percent of the crops would be destroyed causing Rs 1 trillion loss to the farmers. It also warned of food shortage in the days to come.

Briefing the media after the APC, PPP’s Punjab President Qamar Zaman Kaira said that it was decided to convene an APC at the national level on the same issues to formulate a national strategy.  Kaira said that it was also decided in the APC that all parties would resist government’s move to privatize the Pakistan Steel Mills. He also slammed the government for its failure to constitute the board of Pakistan Steel Mills in the last 20 months.

PML-N Punjab President Rana Sanaullah said that 2020 would have been an election year had the COVID-19 not hit the country. He also alleged that the government was using the NAB for political engineering.