Next corona phase is going to be tough, says PM Imran

By: News Desk      Published: 06:19 PM, 25 Jun, 2020
Next corona phase is going to be tough, says PM Imran

Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the next phase of the coronavirus spread is going to be tough.

Addressing the National Assembly session on Thursday, Imran Khan said the next phase of the Covid-19 is going to be difficult. “If we strictly follow the SOPs, then we can bear out the month of July, and if the next month goes without many infections, then Pakistan would be in a position to plan for the future,” he added.

Imran Khan urged the people to follow the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in letter and spirit to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus. The prime minister said that it was essential to making common people understand the importance of following precautionary measures.

He said if the people did not follow the SOPs seriously it would increase the burden on hospitals and existing health facilities.

He said the next one month was crucial and “If we are able to convince people to adopt maximum precautionary measures, the peak of the disease can pass.”

Imran said the administration was already stretched to their limits and the government did not want to put additional pressure on them.

Imran Khan maintained the volunteers were very important as they have played an important role in all countries in stemming the tide of the pandemic.

Imran Khan challenged the Opposition to highlight any one of his statements as contradictory as far as the government’s Covid-19 strategy is concerned.

Responding to Opposition’s criticism about the handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Imran Khan said since March 13 when the lockdown was initiated he had been continuously saying that Pakistan could not afford to let the poor people starved.

Imran said “Mr Speaker, I wanted to respond to the criticism which had been going on for quite some time from the Opposition.”

The premier paid tribute to the National Command Operation Centre (NCOC) team led by Federal Planning Minister Asad Umar.

Imran said the PTI government took action when there were 26 cases in Pakistan and no death was reported in the country due to the Covid-19.

“Provinces started imposing lockdown own their own. I and my team believed from the first day that we could not simply follow the Western Europe, New Zealand or US models as Pakistan has vast majority of people who are daily wagers and who live in slums.”

“We have data now and example of countries like Brazil and England cannot be imposed on us. If there was no confusion in any government of the world that was ours,” the prime minister said and added “I say to opposition to highlight my any statement that was contradictory.”

Imran said the NCOC team was based on doctors, experts and policy-makers led by Asad Umar and that was the reason we were able to make better policies.

“The devastation we have seen now in India as per figures that 34 percent people are now below the poverty lines due to the coronavirus and now India’s Covid-19 spread rate is faster than Pakistan. People are standing outside hospitals in Delhi and Mumbai waiting for their turns to get admitted.”

“We opened the construction sector and now imposed smart lockdowns across the country. It is just because of the NCOC team and with their proper research on novel coronavirus. NCOC has been seeing the hotspots in every city of the country.”

Imran said, “The next phase {of coronavirus} will be difficult. We are trying our best that people must understand that SOPs implementation is important.”

“We pray to Allah Almighty to shower His blessings on us and ease the coming difficulties due to the coronavirus and locust attack. NDMA has been given free hand to fight locust swarms,” Imran said.

“If we will take precautionary measures then we will be able to contain the virus. We have deployed the Tiger Force as the administration is already tired. I was stunned when I heard {from opposition} that our government was hiding behind the Covid-19. This is not the point. The real point is our economy was devastated when we assumed the government.”

“It was not like we had received a Switzerland-like economy. Here are our statistics; there was $20 billion current account deficit that was the biggest current account deficit in the history and its impact came on the exchange rate and that brought the biggest problem which was inflation. When your rupee devalued and oil price spike, then inflation must hit the country.”

“Our half tax collection went on servicing of the debts. Due to the unplanned steps, $20 billion reserves crashed to $10 billion,” he added.

“We approached friendly countries to borrow money. I am the biggest fundraiser of the country. I felt no shame collecting money from the fellow Pakistanis to build hospitals in the country but I felt immense shame, when we asked for money from the friendly countries.”

“Prime Minster of any country is just like father and people are his children. I spent 16,200 dollars on my New York trip while Asif Zardari spent $1.3 million and Nawaz Sharif spent $11 million on such a visit. I reduced my PM Office staff from 534 to a few and I can go further but I feel for the unemployment.”

“Rulers lead from the front and with examples of austerity. Now, our 76 percent loans are long-term. The circular debt was Rs1.2 trillion when we assumed the government and same liabilities followed in gas and electricity.”

“What Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf did, our current account deficit now stands at $3 billion and our primary deficit is also levelled due to our austerity campaign.”

“We started Pakistan history’s largest poverty alleviation programme Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme.”

“The whole world is saying that the impact of the coronavirus on the world economy was the worst in a century. As many as 40,000 people have died in England and globally $12 billion trillion lost due to COVID-19.”

NFC Award

Imran Khan said, “Four provinces promised to contribute funds for the Fata merged districts. I request all the provinces to fulfil their promises and share funds for the merged districts of the tribal areas.”

“India led by fascist Modi government is constantly trying to destabilize Pakistan and we have a threat from India in the Fata districts.”

Uniform Education System

Imran Khan paid tribute to the Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood for introducing uniform education system and seminaries reforms that would be implemented from March 2021.

Foreign Policy

“An American senator declared that there was no military solution to Afghanistan’s war on terror. Pakistan had lost 70,000 people in this war. Our consistent policy is that we will only participate in the peace, not in the war.”

“We tried to mediate between Iran and Saudi Arabia. I feel proud that Iran and Saudi Arabia requested to mediate between them,” the PM said.

Osama bin Laden as a ‘martyr’

Imran said there were terrorist attacks throughout the country when the PTI government came into power. “Admiral Mullen was saying that the US was carrying out drone attacks in Pakistan with the permission of the government in Islamabad,” he added.

“After coming into power we declared that we would not become part of any war. We can be part of peace but not the war,” Imran Khan told the lawmakers amid the thunderous applause from the government benches.

Pakistani face embarrassment due to the ‘martyrdom’ of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, he maintained.

“Now President Donald Trump is seeking Pakistan’s help for establishing peace in Afghanistan. I have met President Trump many times and every time he accorded respect to me,” the prime minister recalled.

India

“We tried to resolve the Kashmir issue so both countries boost their trade ties to curb poverty. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi went on a different path after the elections. Now, we are fighting against the Hindutva and Nazi-fascist like ideology,” Imran said.

“Modi is a fanatic for he did in Gujarat. He allowed rape and butchery of 1,000 people in Gujarat when he was the chief minister of that state,” the PM said and added after 1965 Kashmir issue was raised in UNGA twice which was our victory.

He blamed JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman for last year’s sit-in in Islamabad for detracting government’s focus from the Kashmir issue.

No political victimization

“I did not raise the political victimization word when the now opposition parties which were in government made six cases against me regarding the flat he had in England.” “We did not establish NAB and 90 percent cases against the politicians were registered before our government,” he said.

“There is a fundamental question that people in power must be answerable or what they say the fish rots from the head down,” the PM said.

“I have no personal enmity against anyone,” he said.