Pakistan’s prime minister says biggest challenge for federal government is ensuring impoverished do not face brunt of economic downturn
Pakistanis are slowly losing their fear of the novel coronavirus due to the strategy adopted by the government to curb the spread of the deadly disease, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Sunday.
During a meeting in Islamabad with Adviser on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan, Khan said the federal government was utilizing all available resources to contain COVID-19, adding that the biggest challenge was ensuring relief was delivered to the impoverished hit hardest by movement restrictions imposed to prevent the disease from spreading rapidly.
According to a press release issued by Awan, the two leaders discussed various issues of concern, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the government’s relief package for the poor, and the session of Parliament requisitioned by the opposition for May 6.
Per Awan, the prime minister said he had satisfied with the emergency plan drawn up by his economic team, adding the government would soon take “big steps” to accelerate economic activity in the country. Awan told Khan that the government had exhibited statesmanship in testing times.
Taking aim at opposition leaders, the adviser to the P.M. claimed they had no mandate and were leveling baseless allegations against the government. He also said that preventative measures would be implemented before any session of the National Assembly or Senate was convened. “In this connection we are in constant contact with the National Disaster Management Authority and the National Coordination Committee on COVID-19,” he added.
The Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) on April 22 submitted a requisition notice binding the National Assembly speaker to convene a session of the Lower House of Parliament within 14 days, by Wednesday (May 6). The federal government has repeatedly resisted the move, claiming that while SOPs are sufficient to reopen crowded industries and factories, they are unable to cope with a physical session of Parliament.
On Sunday, the PMLN said it would consider withdrawing its requisition notice if the government announced a firm date for summoning a session of the National Assembly. There has, thus far, been no announcement to this effect from the federal government.