Qamar Zaman Kaira addresses a press conference in Lahore

Lahore: Pakistan Peoples Party Central Punjab President Qamar Zaman Kaira has lashed out at Prime Minister Imran Khan for not acknowledging the measures taken by the Sindh government to fight the COVID-19.

While addressing a press conference today, the PPP leader said the federal government’s notified and un-notified spokespersons tried to undermine the Sindh chief minister’s spirit to fight the pandemic in the province. They unleashed severe criticism against the province’s chief executive without taking into account the fact that he himself pointed out some flaws in the system, he added that Sindh government is leading under the leadership of Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, and the whole world is praising but Imran Khan did not utter a single word in praise of Sindh Government.

He said that the epitome of PTI politics is fascism, adding that had the federal government accepted their proposals, and the situation would be been different today.

While lauding the Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s leadership, he said Sindh government led by Chairman Bilawal Bhutto adopted the best strategy, he criticized the attitude of the federal government by saying that that the federal government has the funds and is not cooperating with the provinces.
He said that Murad Ali Shah had thanked the Prime Minister yesterday and mentioned him in good words, but the spokesperson tried to tarnish the sgod pirit of Chief Minister Sindh.

Nearly 109 medical staff in the country has been diagnosed with the Coronavirus, Who is responsible for this? He asked. He said that Sindh government took timely precautions but the federal government did not take timely measures. Things would have been better if better security measures had been taken at the inspection border, he remarked.

While criticising Imran Khan for his confused policies he said, in his first address to the nation, the Prime Minister said that he did not want lockdown and later took U-turn again.
Qamar Zaman Kaira further said that what the Prime Minister and the cabinet are doing is politics, yesterday the Chief Minister Sindh himself acknowledged the system’s weakness, but the government’s insane spokesmen tried to spoil the Chief Minister’s good sentiments, he added.
To say that do not do politics is ignorance, not to do politics causes problems, it would not have been the case today if the federal government had accepted our suggestions, he remarked.
He also said that the situation would have been different if immediate steps were taken at Tufan Border. The Sindh government made arrangements in Karachi, Sukkur, as soon as the first case came up.
He maintained that we always appreciated federal government’s good steps, he underlined that 25% of people in the country eat 2-time barely, we just said that the federation was late in making decisions.

“We appreciate every initiative and step taken by the centre but the provinces should also be provided something to fight against this pandemic,” he said.

“PM avoided to talk to Sindh CM despite that the international organizations appreciated the steps taken by him in fight against Corona,” he said.

He went on to say that society always faced trouble when no timely action was taken. The PM in his first address on coronavirus had opposed the imposition of the lockdown which he should not.

The PM should have imposed lockdown timely to save the nation from this global pandemic, he added.

While giving a breakup of the Rs665 billion relief package of the government, he said Rs100 billion has been allocated for the sales tax refunds, which in actual belongs to the exporters having been paid by them as advance tax.

Similarly, he said, the government has deferred Rs100 billion loans, which again would have no impact on the government revenue. Rs260 billion has been allocated for wheat procurement, which is a regular feature and it should not be included in the efforts to combat coronavirus. He said the government has assessed Rs75 billion as an impact of reduction in the prices of petroleum products, which in actual is of Rs250 billion, therefore, the government should extend more benefit to the public.

He said the government should write off utility bills ranging between Rs3000 – 5000 as simple deferment of the utility bills would not be sufficient, as the consumers would have to pay it after three months.

The government has announced Rs200 billion for labourers but no concrete policy has been given so far. There is no idea that this amount would be disbursed among how many workers in factories, which means that no policy is in place on the part of the government. Rs100 billion has been allocated for agriculture and SMEs but no detail of the same. Rs150 billion has been allocated for the daily wagers but no idea about the number of daily wagers in the country. No mechanism of disbursement is available with the government.

He deplored that the government was not utilizing the data collected under the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) to disburse stipends amongst poorest of the poor.

He accused the federal government of not providing resources to Sindh to tackle the coronavirus crisis.

He said the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is the only institution seems operational. The Punjab government has failed to meet the desired needs, he added.

He demanded that the federal government should increase the amount of Benazir Income Support program, just like Sindh government Punjab government should also provide ration to poor people, the government should distribute Benazir Income support program through old mechanism rather than through gatherings, provide PPE kits and other precautionary goods to doctors, nurses and paramedics.
He also demanded relief package for farmers, and traders as well.

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