Says hungry people can’t be put under lockdown; vaccinations only solution
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday said that as the country is facing fourth wave of coronavirus, Indian variant is most lethal but the government doesn’t want to ruin the country’s economy by imposing complete lockdown.
Responding to public queries in live Tv programme, “Aapka Wazir-e- Azam Aap kai sath”, he urged the nation to fully adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ward off the looming threat of most contagious Delta variant coronavirus.
The prime minister said that the 4th wave contains Indian variant of COVID-19 pandemic is very lethal as it spreads at a fast pace, adding that after witnessing the situation across the globe, it was observed that Delta variant was proving more lethal due to its fast spread.
He said that the World Economic Forum had ranked Pakistan as the third country in the world which had taken timely steps to save lives of its people and its economy.
Imran Khan underlined that to cope with the emerging situation of Delta spread, vaccination was the only solution. He said through prudent decisions, the government had saved 220 million people from the debilitating effects of previous coronavirus waves with scientific decisions and valuable guidance and input provided by the NCOC.
PM Imran Khan also thanked nation for extending cooperation during the pandemic. Mosques in the country kept opened during Ramazan ul Mubarak and the ulema cooperated in implementation of SOPs, adding that wearing of masks could reduce coronavirus spread by 60 to 70 per cent.
Regarding Sindh government’s decision of complete lockdown, the prime minister expressed the hope that the provincial government would fully consider its implications over the weaker segments of society especially the daily earners.
He said enforcing lockdown was a good decision as it would reduce its spread but the issue which should be considered whether such a decision could save the country, its people and economy.
He observed that imposing complete lockdown would increase hunger. “Never go for lockdown unless you have answers for these issues,” he maintained.
The premier also referred to situation in India where the abrupt lockdown was caused destruction. The government there only thought of the upper and elite classes. He suggested that smart lockdowns could be imposed on areas identified as hotspots.
Schools should not be reopened unless all the teachers were vaccinated. He said that they had so far vaccinated 30 million people throughout the country.
Imran Khan said, “A corrupt society could not make progress whereas those countries made economic strides that had eliminated this curse from their societies.” “Corruption at the low level did not bankrupt a country, it has always been the ruling elite that ruined the countries through their teeming corruption,” he said.
He said in order to save their skins, the corrupt junta would first weaken the anti-graft bodies, resulting in the destruction of a country. The UN secretary general formed a fact-finding panel as to why the poor countries were miring in poverty, he said, adding, the panel submitted a report indicating that about 1000 billion dollars were being siphoned off from the poor countries to the rich countries through money laundering tactics by the powerful and corrupt ruling elite.
The PM further termed government’s efforts against corruption and for the rule of law as ‘the biggest Jihad’. He said there would be no two separate sets of laws for the powerful and for the poor.
He asked the people to fully cooperate with the government in this regard as they wanted to make the people free from the clutches of injustices. “We want the country to stand on its feet. It should not seek loans or beg for assistance, and should not take part in the other’s war in return for money,” he said.
The two families had accumulated pelf through corruption. For the first time in the country’s history, NAB had arrested the powerful people, he added. He said that the first principle in the Riasat-e-Madina was the rule of law where even the Caliphs were answerable to ordinary people.
The prime minister said in the initial stages, Muslims faced hardships in Madina, but later they achieved remarkable successes and became the world leaders. He said his government was striving to introduce such a system of public welfare and rule of law in the country.
To a question regarding cold-blooded murder of Noor Makadam, daughter of a former ambassador of Pakistan, the prime minister said he is personally following this matter and assured the nation that culprits will not be allowed to escape the law.
He termed the incident as tragic saying that irrespective of the citizenship or influence of the culprit, he will have to face the law.
“I want to reject the common notion that the accused may escape punishment because they belong to an influential family or have dual nationalities,” he said and added the murderer won t escape punishment regardless of how powerful they are.
In the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Gilgit Baltistan, they had given health cards facility to each family. Each family was entitled to one million rupees free of cost medical treatment.
The prime minister termed it a revolution, ‘the biggest step ever taken in the country’s history’.
Moreover, he said the government was mulling to expand the network of Panahgah (shelter homes). Currently, 22 panahgah were catering to the needs of labourers and daily workers whereas 11 more would be established soon.
The prime minister said even in countries like US, homeless people didn’t have such facilities and they were forced to live under open sky.
Besides, the prime minister said, 12 buses were plying in poor areas and providing free meals to people and hinted that number of such trucks would be increased in the near future.
Another biggest step, the prime minister said that Kamyab Pakistan programme would be launched in this month to facilitate about 40 per cent poor families of the society. Each member of the family would be imparted technical education, besides these poor families would get health cards facility, interest-free loans and micro finance for house construction.
To a question, regarding promotion of sports activities, the prime minister said he had been familiar with the sports as he could have ‘triple PhD’ in this arena but regretted that he could not focus on sports as the government was busy in addressing other burning economic issues.
He said once country’s hockey and cricket teams were among the world’s top teams. In the squash, Pakistan produced two giants, Jehangir Khan and Jan Shair Khan who dominated the arena for long.
But the subsequent corrupt rulers shamelessly looted and plundered resources and destroyed the institutions. In sports, they placed their blue eyed in different departments, he opined.
“On the other hand, different countries make their sports more competitive with innovative training and new techniques and they have professionals at the helms of affairs,” he said.
He referred to New Zealand, a country with 4 or 5 million population that defeated one of the most populous country India in the world cup test series.
The prime minister expressed the resolve to fully focus on promotion of sports in the country by bringing professionals at the top. However, he added that the rotten system would take some time.
He stressed that playgrounds should be constructed at the union council level to nurture the young talent.