KARACHI - Members of the opposition parties in Sindh Assembly here on Thursday submitted a joint application before the office of Assembly Secretary seeking urgent session of the house over COVID-19 situation and its implications on public health as well as economy.

Leader of the opposition MPA Firdous Shamim Naqvi along with his party colleagues MPA Haleem Adil Shaikh and MPA Khurram Sher Zaman besides those from MQM and GDA forwarded the request emphasizing that the same be urgently taken up and instead of 14-day response provision for such submissions, the house be called in three days’ time to deliberate upon an issue critical to the well being of the masses.

Later talking to media MPA Firdaus Shamim Naqvi said the application was submitted in view of the fact that people of Karachi in particular, with almost no representation in the provincial government, were being worst hit by COVID-19 and the consequent lockdown.

“Issue is extremely serious as people of Karachi are not only registered to be increasingly affected by the virus but measures adopted by the provincial government to handle the challenge is adding to their miseries,” he said.

Acknowledging that coronavirus was a global pandemic, Naqvi alleged that the provincial government since the end of February till to date had not been able to come forward with any effective and efficient Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that could prevent exposure of citizens to grave inconvenience at cost of their physical and mental health besides denying them of their livelihood.

Expressing his serious reservations about the competence of the Sindh Government, he said all opposition parties were unanimous in their opinion that assembly session be urgently held and concerned authorities are compelled to not only look into the matter but made to address the same.

PTI Naqvi said that a copy of SOPs had also been attached with the requisition application to ensure safety of the parliamentarians attending the urgent session.

He mentioned that at the time of lockdown in Karachi and certain other parts of the province Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah had announced that weekly consultation sessions would be held with the opposition parties but despite passage of several weeks no single meeting had been arranged. MPA Rana Ansar representing MQM urged the ruling party (PPP) to ensure that the session was called within stipulated time and the opposition parties were taken into confidence about policies and strategies to avert public plight. MPA Haleem Adil Shaikh said Sindh Government had simply failed to handle the COVID-19 pandemic and contrary to its claim of having adopted Tracing, Testing and Treatment Approach has turned this “Tripple-T” strategy into a manifestation of tension, torture and terrorism. He alleged that it was being deliberately done as people of the megapolis did not vote for PPP hence were being made to pay the price.

Taking strong exception to the management in the health sector, he said despite availability of 384 working ventilators in public sector hospital and no less than 304 of the same in private sector, a senior doctor had died as no facility was accessible.

“Incompetence is well reflected through regularly reported deaths of children due to rabies and even HIV/AIDS,” said Haleem A Shaikh.

Alleging that PPP Government in Sindh was trying to create an economic crisis in the commercial hub of the country, he said this would be thwarted by the people. MPA Khurram Sherzaman said it was high time that Sindh CM Syed Murad Ali Shah tendered his resignation and accepted his failure in handling the situation. The PTI leader regretted that Murad Ali Shah had rendered himself a passive onlooker with ‘no’ say to his party bosses and was no better than his predecessor Syed Qaim Ali Shah.

Meanwhile, peformance of the Sindh Government was not satisfactory in fight against the coronavirus, said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers belonging to Sindh here on Thursday.

They alleged that the provincial government only took lead in issuing notifications and rhetoric. It was stated in a meeting of PTI lawmakers presided over by PTI’s Opposition Leader in Sindh Assembly, Firdous Shamim Naqvi, at his office in the Sindh Assembly, according to a communique.

The meeting was attended by PTI’s Parliamentary Leader in Sindh Assembly and MPA Haleem Adil Shaikh, MPA Khurrum Sher Zaman, MPA Jamal Siddiqui, MPA Saeed Afridi, MPA Shahzad Qureshi, MPA Bilal Ghaffar, MPA Riaz Haider, MPA Dr. Imran Ali Shah, MPA Sidra Imran and MPA Adiba Hassan.

The meeting disucssed current political situation of Sindh, performance of the provincial government against coronavirus and federal government’s projects in Sindh.