ISLAMABAD - In the Senate, on Wednesday, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Senator Rehman Malik demanded Prime Minister Imran Khan to impose a limited curfew countrywide under the supervision of the army to ensure implementation of standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Taking part in the budget debate, the senior PPP leader said that the government didn’t do what it should have done against coronavirus, which was evident from the budget allocation for the health sector.

Referring to the findings of Imperial College London, he said that the college had given horrifying predictions about Pakistan; that there could be 20 to 80 thousand deaths per day in August.

He said that it was all because the government couldn’t implement SOPs and never imposed a proper lockdown. He said since day one he had been urging the PM to impose a limited curfew under Pakistan army to ensure the implementation of SOPs.

He said that the government should have allocated a minimum of Rs 200 billion to combat coronavirus, which is increasing every day. He suggested that the government should establish temporary hospitals fully equipped to accommodate all the patients in upcoming days and salaries of doctors and paramedics must be increased.

Senator Rehman Malik said it was important to note that Pakistan’s civil aviation sector did not meet international standards and the government should allocate funds for improvements in the sector and to upgrade airports all over the country.

He said that Pakistan was an agricultural country but the government wasn’t allocating due money to it. He said that government has allocated only Rs 50 billion under Corona Stimulus Package for fertilizer subsidy, loans’ write-off and other relief to the farmers, which may be enhanced to Rs100 billion. He suggested that a special tax relief package should be given for agriculture to provide relief to small farmers.

The PPP legislator suggested that the government should enhance budgetary allocation for online education development programmes through information technology and internet access, especially in remote areas.

Senator Malik added that no budget has been allocated for the construction of new projects under CPEC and the government should announce new industrial zones under the project.

He said that since there was no doubt that COVID-19 has hit every family hard, it is an injustice not to increase the salaries of the government servants including the military, judiciary and particularly the doctors and paramedical staff. He advised that Pakistan Baitul Mal should be responsible for free tests of poor coronavirus patients on urgent basis.