ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Monday made Senator Rehman Malik’s report on coronavirus a part of the court proceedings while hearing the suo moto case regarding the government’s response to the pandemic.

Senator Rehman Malik thanked Chief Justice of Pakistan and said it is a notable acknowledgment for the Senate Standing Committee on Interior, which worked day and night in these difficult moments.

Speaking to journalists outside Supreme Court, Mr Malik said that the Senate Standing Committee on Interior continued its working online and compiled a comprehensive report which was not only submitted to the Court but was sent to the Federal and provincial governments for implementation.

He said that the outbreak of coronavirus is a national security issue and all stakeholders should join their hands to combat this deadly pandemic. He said that the role of the Supreme Court of Pakistan is exemplary for taking notice of this matter as an issue of national security. He paid rich tributes to doctors, paramedics and Army Medical Corps for their tireless efforts to serve the nation. He also appreciated the Pakistan Army, police and other LEAs for their contribution to the noble cause of serving the nation during a pandemic.

Senator Rehman Malik said that as Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior, he had taken suo moto notice of coronavirus outbreak on 26th February the time when only two cases were reported positive in the country.

He said that he had convened an emergency meeting of the Committee on February 27, 2020, to advise the government to take timely preventive measures against the potential spread of coronavirus. He added that in the said meeting he had urged the government to prepare a comprehensive National Action Plan, and the government was cautioned that it could spread in Pakistan after its outbreak in China and Iran.

He said that the committee had issued instructions for setting up screening tests and isolation centres at all the airports and other entry points and had suggested that every passenger should be tested and quarantined upon entering Pakistan. He said that the Interior Committee had termed the coronavirus outbreak as a national security issue and had asked the government to impose an urgent medical emergency in the country and handover all civil hospitals to Army Medical Corps (AMC). He said that he has advised the government to call a joint session of Parliament and has written to the Prime Minister to convene a meeting of Chief Ministers of the four provinces to formulate a joint strategy against coronavirus.

 

Senator Malik said that the committee had prepared a 37-point National Action Plan on Coronavirus containing preventive measures and had sent it to the federal and provincial governments to implement it. He said that the situation would have been different and far better today if the government had taken timely action and had implemented the Senate Standing Committee on Interior’s 37 recommendations in true letter and spirit.

 

However, things have got better since the Command and Control Centre has been established and has taken over the control to combat coronavirus, he added, saying that all operations are being managed with visible improvement.

 

He said that for a country which can make an atom bomb, it is not a difficult task to manufacture all the medical equipment domestically.  He said that it is good omen that Command and Control Centre has recommended the construction of a modern and fully equipped hospital for viral diseases with capacity for a thousand beds in Islamabad, and suggested that construction of a hospital of the same standard and nature in each provincial headquarters should be recommended so in the future any epidemic and all viral diseases could be controlled well on time.

 

He urged the government to utilize the capabilities of Army Medical Corps and enhance its role in combating coronavirus for timely relief of the public. He said that it is time for national unity rather than blame game as only with unity we can combat this deadly pandemic which he fears could increase in the upcoming weeks.

 

Senator Malik informed the media that since February 26th till today he has been working on the issue which includes two meetings of the committee, letter to Prime Minister for allocating 20 billion special budget to combat Coronavirus and a letter to FATF to remove Pakistan name from its Grey List, and a letter to Secretary-General United Nations urging him to play his role in removing Pakistan from FATF’s Grey List.

 

 He said that he has also written letters to Secretary-General United Nations and Mr. Bill Gates for the formation of the UN Commission on COVID-19 to investigate its origin and patient zero.