Govt assures SC of adopting more measures to fight coronavirus

Top judge says govt performance so far is far from satisfactory

By: News Desk      Published: 12:32 PM, 13 Apr, 2020
Govt assures SC of adopting more measures to fight coronavirus

Supreme Court Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed on Monday warned the court could order the removal of Adviser to PM on National Health Dr Zafar Mirza as his performance was dissatisfactory.

During the suo moto hearing on virus situation in the country, he said that the government team did not answer even a single question of the court about the coronavirus and merely presented the statistics.

“I asked five questions and not even single one answered.”

He said that despite a huge number of ministers and advisers, the government did not take any concrete steps to curtail the infection.

Attorney General Pakistan responded that removing Zafar Mirza from his position at this point will not be suitable for the country as it will create a governance crisis and harm the ongoing efforts against the pandemic.

“Changing the pilot mid-flight would be disastrous,” he remarked.

He said that no country was prepared for the global pandemic and Pakistan government was taking all possible measures to curb the deadly respiratory disease.

Another judge of the bench, Justice Qazi Amin asked what measures the government had been taking to ensure social distancing.

Lashing at the federal government performance on fighting the COVID-19, Justice Gulzar remarked that allegedly corrupt people were appointed advisers in the cabinet.

He asked if the prime minister did not have the capacity to appoint ten capable people.

The AGP said that this impression was not right, to which CJ replied that he took the care to use the word 'allegedly'.

The CJP noted that Advisers have been given the status of a federal minister. He also posed questions about the qualification of Adviser to PM on National Health Dr Zafar Mirza and his present status.

When the AGP remarked that for the first time Pakistan has got an honest prime minister, the CJP replied, “We have no doubt about PM’s honesty.”

The top judge said that industries have been shut down and nobody was taking care of this problem from the parliament and government.

“Today PM is appealing to delay the debt return. If foreign investment is not coming to the country then the government should start setting up the industries.”

Questioning the role of parliament in tackling the crisis, the CJP asked the attorney general about the silence of those politicians who talked much about public welfare in the pre-virus days.

The attorney general replied with a smile that he could not comment on anyone’s silence. 

Centre-Provinces coordination

Justice Gulzar said the federal and provincial governments were not on the same page regarding the virus control.

Lashing out at the Sindh government, he said there was a huge difference between its claims and ground realities.

Sindh Advocate General said the provincial government could only ask people to observe social distancing as they cannot force them to stay homes.

The chief justice remarked that it means Sindh Government was surrendering before the people.

As the court again expressed displeasure over steps taken by the federal authorities to battle the virus in the country.

The attorney general assured him about taking concrete measures to stem the spread of infections.

The Punjab Advocate General also submitted a reply in the court.

He said the locally manufactured Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and masks will be provided to the medics in the province.

The court directed that the equipment should be provide to doctors and paramedics only if it meets the standards.