ISLAMABAD - The Opposition on Thursday blamed PTI government for spreading COVID-19 in different parts of the country because of having no concrete policy to tackle the pandemic.

The novel coronavirus could not be properly handled in the country due to lifting lockdown and taking insufficient measures to deal with it, this was the gist of speeches delivered by Parliamentary Opposition parties members while taking part in debate of Presidential address. The opposition, in Thursday’s National Assembly proceedings, came down hard on the Prime Minister for allegedly giving contradictory statements with regard to the intensity of COVID-19 on different occasions.

“It is hard to get meanings from the speeches of Prime Minister delivered in reference of COVID-19,” PML-N’s Parliamentary leader Khawaja Muhammad Asif, mentioning that Prime Minister kept changing his statements about the coronavirus since the start of coronavirus cases in the country.

“There is no sign of success as yet...If arrest of Opposition members is the only solution then we could be kept behind the bars,” Asif offered the PTI’s government in a sarcastic manner.

“On March 17th Prime Minister termed coronavirus as a disease like flu and asked the masses need not to worry about it,” he said, criticizing the government on its policy on lockdown.

“It was not a situation to ease lockdown,” he said, adding, that these policies might lead the country to the most corona infected country in the world. He said that the government should increase its testing capacity related COVID-19 as soon as possible.

He also questioned the cabinet members as to why there was shortage of petrol in the country at a time when petroleum products were in abundance in the international market.

He also conditionally supported the government's decision to privatize a number of entities including PIA and Steel Mills.  “ We will not object even if you go ahead with privatization of PIA but the whole process should be transparent,” he remarked.

The house witnessed matches of passing sarcastic comments in a lighter tone during their speeches while participating in debate on Presidential addresses.

Former Prime Minister Raja Parvaiz Ashraf , on his turn, also criticized government policies to deal with coronavirus [COVID-19] in the country. He also commented that the government was preparing to reduce tobacco products only to benefit some multinational companies. Taking part in debate, PPP-P’s MNA Shazia Marri also asked the government to put the Opposition members behind the bars, as if this action helps the government improve the situation of the country. She also criticised Prime Minister Imran Khan for not attending the National Assembly proceedings. She was of the view that the government seemingly has no idea about the gravity of health crisis in the country.

MMA’s MNA  Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali , on his turn, rejected planned privatization of Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM). “This action would result in joblessness of a large number of workers,” he said.

PPP-P’s Abdul Qadar Patel of PPP was of the view that the Prime Minister and government for not taking action against those responsible for the sugar crisis. “Jahangir Tareen is being made a scapegoat while now the sugar case will be handed over to paralyze NAB,” he commented. Adviser on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan , winding up discussion on the motion, said Prime Minister Imran Khan has given the directions to formulate a law for prevention of conflict of interest. He said credit goes to the PTI government for exposing the sugar mafia.

The Adviser assured that the privatization of Pakistan Steel Mills, Pakistan International Airline and other institutions will be completed in the most transparent manner and as per the law.

Earlier, Babar Awan laid before the National Assembly the Hyderabad Institute for Technical and Management Sciences Bill, 2020.