ISLAMABAD - Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed on Wednesday said that he is optimistic that the government functionaries would work hard to achieve success against the coronavirus pandemic.

The Chief Justice of Pakistan expressed these views while chairing a meeting in his chambers along with the senior judiciary.  They were given a detailed briefing regarding the steps taken by the federal government to combat the coronavirus crisis and its impact.

Dr Zafar Mirza Special Assistant to PM for Health, Dr Sania Nishtar Special Assistant to PM on Special Protection and Poverty Alleviation and Ehsaas Programm, and Lt General Muhammad Afzal Chairman National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), appraised the judges about the government’s coronavirus response.

At the very outset of the meeting, the Chief Justice raised concerns surrounding the closure of OPDs, testing capacity of corona virus, safety of doctors, and paramedical staff, progress on quarantine centers and steps taken so far by government functionaries.

Dr Zafar Mirza briefed the participants about the current statistics and response of the government at federal and provincial levels and WHO protocols. He also informed the meeting about the preventive and precautionary measures taken so far by the government at all levels to fight this pandemic.

Mirza also shared the future roadmap to tackle the issue. He informed the judges that emergency wards in all hospitals are open round the clock. Private hospitals have not been restricted in operating during the lockdown; they can operate after fulfilling health protocols as suggested by the WHO. Passengers coming from foreign countries are being quarantined as per WHO protocols. Moreover, health staff is being trained on a daily basis to enhance the government’s capabilities.

Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal briefed the meeting about the procurement, availability of PPEs, ventilators, masks and other essential items. He talked about the process of disbursement to all hospitals marked for preventing COVID-19 with the help of armed personnel, and also said that more laboratories are being made to enhance testing capacity.

 

Dr Sania Nishtar added that due to the outbreak of coronavirus economic activities have slowed down considerably and many people are jobless. In response the government has initiated a relief programme to help 12 million families under Ehsaas Programme. Through this Rs12000 is being disbursed to each family (one-time payment) of the poor, deserving and jobless people earmarked through NADRA software and already available record of BISP. The amount will be disbursed after biometric verification. Health protocols and preventive measures to control outbreak of COVID-19 at the places of disbursement will also be taken care of.

 

The meeting was also attended by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed, Attorney General for Pakistan Khalid Jawed Khan, Dr. Tanvir Ahmed Qureshi Secretary Health, Ali Raza Bhutta Secretary Poverty Elevation and Social Safety Division, Yousaf Khan Secretary BISP, DG Health, Hazma Shafqat Deputy Commissioner Islamabad and Khawaja Daud Ahmad Registrar Supreme.