Volunteer group set up by P.M. Khan to aid those affected by coronavirus lockdowns is not affiliated with PTI, says special adviser
Over 600,000 Pakistanis, including 19,178 women, from across the country have signed up for the volunteer Corona Relief Tiger Force established by Prime Minister Imran Khan to serve the needs of impoverished worst affected by ongoing lockdowns designed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
According to information released by the Prime Minister’s Performance Delivery Unit on Sunday, 682,518 citizens have registered via the Citizens Portal, with 662,977 of them identifying as men, 19,178 as women, and 534 as ‘other.’ In a press release, it said a centralized Control Room had also been set up at the Prime Minister’s Office to monitor the evolving situation.
Giving a breakdown of the registered volunteers, the Unit said Punjab had thus far registered 458,419 people—444,276 men, 13,923 women, and 341 others—while Sindh had posted 102,349 registrations with 99,373 men, 2,929 women and 76 others.
From Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 92,380 have registered to join the Corona Relief Tiger Force, with 91,080 of them identifying as men, 1,214 as women, and 99 as others. In the Federal Capital Territory, 10,297 have signed up, with 9,696 men, 599 women and 4 others, while from Pakistan-administered Kashmir 7,456 have been registered, comprising 7,155 men, 297 women, and 6 others.
In Balochistan, 8,268 have registered for the relief organization, comprising 8,131 men, 132 women and 7 others. Finally, from Gilgit-Baltistan, 3,349 registered themselves as Tigers, with 3,266 of them identifying as men, 84 as women, and 1 as other.
The registrations for Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Corona Relief Tiger Force started on March 31 and will continue until April 10. Interested candidates can sign up by downloading the Pakistan Citizens Portal app (iOS: https://apps.apple.com/pk/app/pakistan-citizens-portal/id1439885831; Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.govpk.citizensportal&hl=en).
Also on Sunday, Special Adviser to the P.M. on Youth Affairs Usman Dar, who is heading the Tiger Forces, sought to clarify that the organization was not affiliated with any political party and members of any group could join up.
“I am thankful to the youth of the country and appreciate their bravery that even in a critical situation, a huge number of people have registered themselves,” he told a private news channel. He said the Tigers would be organized at the Union Council level, adding that relevant MNAs, and Deputy Commissioners would serve as focal persons to assign responsibilities to the force as and when required. “I have also registered myself for the Corona Relief Tiger Force,” he said.
According to Dar, the members of the Corona Relief Tiger Force would be responsible for identifying COVID-19 suspects and their protection from the disease would be incumbent on the government.
Separately, in a tweet, the special adviser to the P.M. dismissed as “fake news” a picture circulating on social media that had claimed T-shirts for the force would be printed in PTI color on taxpayer expense. “Once again, I would like to clarify that there is no kind of shirt being printed at government or personal level, nor will the national exchequer be used for the purpose,” he said, adding it was impossible to print T-shirts during the ongoing lockdowns. The Punjab government, on Sunday, relaxed restrictions on textile manufacturers, potentially suggesting the printing could take place if the government wanted to proceed with it.
Overall, Pakistan now has 3,277 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with 50 reported deaths and 257 full recoveries. The government claims to have conducted 35,875 tests nationwide since the first case was reported in the country on Feb. 26.