LAHORE               -             Treasury and the Opposition traded allegations during general discussion on coronavirus situation at Punjab Assembly on Friday.

Opposition legislators accused the government of delayed response and mismanagement to deal with the pandemic. Treasury legislators accused the Opposition of doing politics on the pandemic, saying the government machinery was active to save people from the deadly virus. The session started one hour and 40 minutes beyond the scheduled time with the Speaker Ch Parvez Elahi in the chair. Minister Health responded to the queries of legislators during question hour on Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department. During general debate on COVID-19 and upcoming budget, the Opposition legislators accused the government of not taking measures to provide facilities to patients and save healthcare providers from the deadly virus.

PML-N’s Azma Bukhari said that the government was planning to ease lockdown at a time when the cases were increasing rapidly.  She said that the government was supposed to devise strategy after due consultation with the Opposition. Instead of doing that, she said, spokespersons were bent upon point scoring. She questioned the utilization of Rs11 billion earmarked for the health sector at the start of pandemic.

PML-N’s Kh Salman Rafiq demanded giving personal protective kits to all healthcare providers, facilities to COVID-19 patients at hospitals and quarantine centres and expatriates returning to the country. He said that it was a pity that patients at quarantine centres were staging protests due to inadequate facilities. He said that the present regime was getting benefits from the projects completed by the PML-N government.

Treasury legislators Umar Tanvir Butt and Yawar Abbas Bukhari defended the government, saying all measures have been taken on time to safeguard public health. They accused the previous regime of ignoring health sector that led to dismal situation at hospitals.

Law Minister Raja Basharat suggested the Opposition to avoid doing politics on every issue, saying the present regime was aware about its responsibility and taking effective measures to control coronavirus and bring ease in life of the masses.

Earlier, he laid seven Ordinances including the Punjab Infectious Diseases (Prevention and Control) Ordinance 2020, the Punjab Local Government (Amendment) Ordinance 2020, the Punjab Village Panchayats and Neighbourhood Councils (Amendment) Ordinance 2020, the Stamp (Amendment) Ordinance 2020, the Punjab Prevention of Hoarding Ordinance 2020, the Punjab Private Educational Institutions (Promotion and Regulation) (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 and the Code of Civil Procedure (Punjab Amendment) Ordinance 2020.

On completion of agenda, the chair adjourned the session till Monday (May 11) till 11am.