LAHORE                 -                Speaker Punjab Assembly Ch Parvez Elahi presided over second video link meeting of All Parties Special Parliamentary Party on Corona here Thursday to mull suggestions to run the Assembly business in the wake of COVID-19 situation.

Addressing the meeting, Speaker Ch Parvez Elahi said that under Punjab Assembly Rule 133-A, a pre-budget session was in progress last month which had to be adjourned due to Covid-19.

“In this context, Assembly members’ proposals and suggestions are of great importance, and as such, I want that honorable members of the assembly to send their proposals to the Assembly Secretariat so that these can be sent to the Finance Department”, he observed. He added that the committee meeting regarding pre-budget would also be convened next week to seek input from the Finance department as well.

Provincial Health Minister Dr Yasmin Radhed, Secretary Health Captain (R) Usman and Nabeel Awan briefed about measures in the context of Coronavirus. Besides Provincial Law Minister Muhammad Basharat, MPAs Nazeer Ahmad Chohan, Sajid Ahmad Khan, Syed Hassan Murtaza, Sardar Ovais Ahmad Khan Leghari, Samiullah Khan, Khwaja Salman Rafique, Amin Zulqarnain, Malik Ahmad Ali Aulakh and Mohammad Moavia attended the meeting and put forth their proposals.

Ch Parvez Elahi appreciated the efforts put by Dr Yasmin Rashed, Captain (R) Usman and Nabeel Awan for prevention of Coronavirus in Punjab. He, however, urged the need for improving standards of coronavirus testing. He told the meeting that three persons from Gujrat were tested positive in the government laboratory whereas when these very persons were tested in private laboratory the results were negative. “Either the equipment of these laboratories is not functioning properly or there is any other reason for poor quality of testing”, he observed.

Speaking in the context of wheat harvesting season, Ch Parvez Elahi urged better coordination between Food and Health departments for distribution of “baardana” among the farmers as per SoPs regarding prevention of COVID-19.

He said that Corona patients should not be maltreated, and should rather be treated with due honur and respect.

Provincial Law Minister Muhammad Basharat Raja said that the Parliamentary Committee recommendations would be presented before the Chief Minister Punjab. Provincial Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashed and senior officers briefed the participants regarding coronavirus situation in the Punjab and thanked for supporting the government in making the arrangements. Dr Yasmin Rashed said that she acknowledged with gratitude the effort of Speaker Punjab Assembly Ch Parvez Elahi for holding the meeting.

Khwaja Salman Rafique expressed concern over arrangements in jail regarding coronavirus and demanded provision of complete protective kits to the jail staff and condoning bills of small shopkeepers.  Ovais Leghari said that N-95 masks were not being provided and there was confusion among the people about relaxation in the lockdown.

Samiullah Khan said N-League President Mian Shehbaz Sharif had formulated positive proposals regarding Corona. On this, Speaker Ch Parvez Elahi asked him to submit his proposals in the Assembly Secretariat.

Syed Hassan Murtaza talked about lack of testing facilities in the health centres of his district (Chiniot). Mohammad Moavia said that there were reports about people who fled from quarantine centres and later on it was found that they had wrong address on their ID cards.

Sajid Ahmad Khan, Nazeer Ahmad Chohan and Aminul Zulqarnain stressed the need for evolving a system to reach out the people to undertake coronavirus tests.

Ahmad Ali Aulakh said that thousands of people out of those who had come from abroad had not been traced out so far. He demanded that they should be located immediately.