Government not going for a lockdown, vows PM Imran Khan

PM rules out normalisation of ties with India till Kashmir special status is restored: Says can’t fight corruption alone: PTI defeated two-party system in Pakistan

By: News Desk      Published: 01:02 PM, 4 Apr, 2021
coronavirus facemasks
Prime Minister Imran Khan making a statement.

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday called upon the public to strictly follow the coronavirus guidelines, particularly wearing of the facemask to protect themselves and their families from the deadly third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, and that the government is contemplating on imposing a lockdown in the country, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

In an interaction with the people through telephone which was aired live, Imran Khan stressed “I urge you all to wear a mask and I appeal you to follow all the SoPs for your sake and for the sake of Pakistan.” 

The prime minister said it was Allah Almighty’s blessings that He protected Pakistanis from the first two waves of the deadly coronavirus. He said despite vaccinating their people countries in Europe were going for lockdowns. He mentioned the impact of the third wave in neighbouring countries – India and Bangladesh and said “Putting on a mask is the most important thing in protecting oneself.”

“Put it on whenever you are in an enclosed room with people, in buses, everywhere,” he said, adding the world today recognises it as an important protective measure.

The Prime Minister said Allah had been merciful for the people of Pakistan during the first two waves, and Pakistan escaped the serious negative impact, but now the people have become complacent and no one was worried anymore.

“People are roaming around without any fear. If this spreads more, it would pressurise our hospital systems We are not going for a lockdown, but only implementing restrictions, else we will be forced to take the next step,” Imran Khan warned.

He said according to the data the poor were the most affected people in the entire world, and around 150 million people went below the poverty line across the world. The prime minister said it was his wish to protect the poor segments of the society at all costs and said he wants them to take safeguards.

“No one can predict how long this third wave will last,” he said and added it was therefore vital that people strictly adhere to the standard operating procedures (SoPs).

In response to the first caller, the prime minister said Pakistan was importing gas from other countries at exorbitant rates while the resources it was tapping in its own country, were on the decline. 

He said countries progress due to higher education among the masses. "We also have to think about what sort of high education we have," he said, adding "Buildings do not bring about quality education; it also depends on what type of degrees they are handing out to students." 

Imran said the government is bringing about "huge changes" in the HEC, adding that the previous chairman of the education committee was not selected by the incumbent government. 

Mafias and price spiral

In response to the second caller who complained about inflation, the prime minister said prices of vegetables and other food items were on the rise as the farmers who supplied them wanted their products to be sold at high prices in the market. "The middlemen are making a lot of money from this," he said. 

Imran said his government was working towards an ingenious solution through which they are aiming to connect the primary producers of these items to the final consumers.

The premier said the masses will see the positive effects of the rupee strengthening against the US dollar, adding that the local currency's performance had already led to a decline in prices of diesel.

PTI’s feats

Answering another caller, Imran Khan maintained that in Pakistan his party had brought about a "democratic change" unlike the revolutions in France and Iran. He said the PTI had defeated a two-party system in Pakistan and helped new people take up ministries. 

The premier said previously, the two parties who were at each other's throats, were now demanding he step down and were on one page. "This is the change," he said, adding that now, a government was in place which did not tolerate corruption and was not willing to let the menace go unchecked.

'Can’t fight corruption alone'

Terming corruption a "cancer", Imran Khan said that it ends up feasting on a country's progress like termites feast on wood. 

He said when prime ministers became corrupt and stole billions from the masses, it resulted in money going out from Pakistan into other countries. He said Pakistan was fighting a war against corruption, adding that a handful of people in the country were being brought to book for their crimes in Pakistan.

"The entire nation will have to fight this war. Imran Khan alone cannot win it," he declared.

He cited a UN report, saying that a mammoth total of $1,000 billion was sent to developed countries from poor states each year through corruption and money laundering. "I am one of the few heads of state in the world who is calling upon the developed countries to return our money back to us," he said, adding the rich countries were reluctant to do so as they were reaping the benefits of it.

Health card system

Imran Khan said Pakistan was introducing the health card system due to which people will be able to get themselves treated via insurance at any hospital across the country. "I assure you, this facility is not extended to people even in developed countries," he said. 

He also highlighted how the government was bringing about measures in the health sector, including exempting duty from hospital equipment imported from abroad. 

The prime minister spoke out against shamelessness, saying it was giving rise to temptation in society. "If you keep on increasing shamelessness in society, every person does not have the willpower [to control it]," he said. 

Imran Khan recounted his experience in London, when "sex, drugs and rock n roll" were just taking a hold in the country. He said society as a whole will fight this menace too, adding that such shamelessness was giving rise to rapes and other cases of sexual violence. "Why did I bring Turkish drama series Ertugrul to Pakistan?" he asked, saying that it was entertainment that did not breach any moral boundaries unlike Bollywood and Hollywood movies. 

Ties with India

Answering a public query, Imran Khan said relations with neighbouring India will not be normalised until New Delhi's August 5 move is revoked.