Gradually Ease in Lockdown By the PM of Pakistan in Coming Days
The decision on lockdown today PM Imran Khan wants curbs eased
ISLAMABAD: the cupboard Tuesday deliberated on a proposal about easing lockdown and restrictions across the country from May 9.
However, a final judgment during this regard is going to be taken within the National Command and Operation Centre meeting on Wednesday (today).
This was stated by Information and Broadcasting Minister Shibli Faraz while giving a briefing to the media about the choices taken during the federal cabinet meeting, which was presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday.
The PM, addressing the cupboard members, again emphasized taking care of the vulnerable segments of society, and people who are bereft of their livelihood within the wake of the lockdown. The PM backed the proposal of easing restrictions within the country, keeping in sight the hardships being faced by people thanks to the lockdown. However, he warned of an abrupt spike in infections if the quality operating procedures (SOPs) weren't implemented strictly after easing of the lockdown.
The information minister said Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar had remarked that the war against the virus might be won only by sitting back reception.
He said the prime minister and every one cabinet member, including ministers, state ministers, advisors, and special assistants decided to donate their one-month salary to Prime Minister's Covid-19 Relief Fund.
The minister said the gesture had been shown insight into the prevalent situation and difficulties being faced by the people.
Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar briefed the cupboard about the coronavirus situation within the country. the cupboard was informed that Pakistan's situation was much better than many developed countries as far as Covid-19 infections and deaths from the virus were concerned.
The cabinet meeting was informed that the committee on election reforms had sent its report back to the Ministry of Law and Justice. Shibli Faraz said the PM wanted the election process to be transparent and unbiased, and it must have the trust of the masses. The PM said reformation of the voting system was a part of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) agenda which would remain its topmost priority.
The minister noted that the PM raised some extent that reformation of the criminal justice system was imperative because the cases keep lingering on for many years. He asked the law and justice minister to finalize reformation within the criminal justice system within six months.
The premier also advised that modern technology should be introduced at police stations to vary ‘Thana’ (police station) culture. The meeting was given an update on the conversion of police stations into model police stations with the introduction of recent technology.
On the directives of the Supreme Court, he said the cupboard was informed that 76 illegal appointments were made to seven divisions on high posts during the previous government.
“All ministries concerned are advised to present the related report within the next cabinet meeting and decisions on these illegal appointments would be made soon,” he added.
The forum was told that in 81 cabinet meetings, a complete of 1,630 decisions were made, out of which 1,376 (86pc) had been implemented, whereas decisions on 114 (7pc) were within the stage of implementation.
The minister said the cupboard deliberated on the difficulty of the ban on import of products from India, apart from life-saving drugs. The PM ordered for ensuring that there was no violation of the ban.
Shibli Faraz said the cupboard gave approval to a proposal about the appointment of a grade-20 officer of Audit and Accounts Service of Pakistan Naveed Asghar Chaudhry as Member Finance, Wapda. the cupboard also approved a memorandum of understanding (MoU), signed between Akhuwat Pakistan and Akhuwat USA, which might help collect donations for the PM's Corona Relief Fund.
Shibli said the cupboard gave approval for export of locally-made hand-sanitizers after fulfilling the local needs, to earn exchange. Noting that there was a surplus quantity of rice available within the country, the cupboard gave approval for the export of surplus rice.
The cabinet reviewed the method of implementation of its decisions for the facilitation of overseas Pakistanis. He added the cupboard decided to incorporate 61 food and non-food items within the Pakistan Standards and internal control Authority (PSQCA) list.
He said that Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on welfare Dr. Sania Nishtar briefed the cupboard about the continued process of monetary help of vulnerable segments of society through the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme. the cupboard was informed that additionally to 400,000 data of the previous governments, almost 810,000 new families are added to the info. She said that the Ehsaas Emergency Cash program was being implemented during a most transparent manner on the idea of merit.
The minister said the PM listened to the suggestions given by various cabinet members and decisions were made taking all of them on board. The new IT minister, Aminul Haq, of Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) was welcomed to the meeting.
Shibli Faraz said the cupboard also approved unanimously the reconstitution of the National Commission for Minorities, consisting of defined minorities, including Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, and Parsis. To an issue, the minister noted that what was reported was incorrect with regards to the commission.
The minister noted that rather than bringing the institutions under individuals, Prime Minister Imran Khan gave them independence by putting them under the law. He recalled that the incumbent chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was appointed after consultations between the then government and therefore the opposition.
About those, appearing before NAB then beginning making victory signs and behaving like Tarzan despite having been grilled by NAB authorities, he said that the media could discourage that unfortunate trend by not giving coverage to them outside the Bureau offices.
Shibli informed the media that he himself underwent a corona test on Monday and its result was negative.
He parried an issue about the arrest of Jang/Geo Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in over 30 years old deal while no FIR had been registered hitherto.
Our correspondent adds from Lahore:
Pakistan Railways has announced resuming operations from Sunday, May 10, a notification said on Tuesday.
In the first phase, consistent with the notification, 15 trains will operate throughout the country while social distancing is going to be observed strictly. Only e-ticketing is going to be allowed. All booking office and reservation office will remain closed. In line with social distancing guidelines, passengers are going to be required to stay their tickets ready and show them to the conductor to make sure no physical contact takes place between them and therefore the train staff. The notification said that fifty of the booking for trains would be made available online. The Khyber Mail, Awam Express, Tezgam, Islamabad Express, and a couple of others will resume operations.
According to the notification, Pakistan Railways is considering the restoration of passengers' traffic operation on May 10, subject to approval from the competent authority.
News desk adds: After some hints from Centre about easing restrictions, the Punjab government Tuesday decided to also ease lockdown.
A decision during this regard was taken at a gathering, presided over by Chief Minister Usman Buzdar. Sources said the lockdown restrictions would be relaxed from Saturday, May 9 when shops selling iron pipes, steel, spare parts, machinery, and electrical items would be allowed to try to business.
According to sources, glass manufacturers, shops selling construction, and textile material also will be granted permission to resume operations. Besides, cloth shops are going to be allowed to work for a period of six hours from the 15th of Ramazan.
It will be mandatory for all businessmen and traders to strictly follow the quality Operating Procedures (SOPs) to avert the spread of the deadly virus.
A formal announcement with reference to the relaxation of the lockdown would be made on May 8.
APP adds from Quetta: The Balochistan government, meanwhile, extended the lockdown for 15 more days, till May 19, so as to regulate the spread of coronavirus.
According to a press release issued by the provincial home department, the govt has imposed Section 144 insight into the spread of coronavirus and extended the amount of lockdown for 15 days.
Gathering of 10 or more people and pillion riding is banned, and inter-district and inter-provincial conveyance have also been closed. Shopping malls, cinemas, wedding halls, hotels, showrooms, and shrines also will remain closed in the wake of the coronavirus.
However, shops and warehouses providing construction material, medical stores, vegetable shops, agricultural goods, petrol pumps, and call centers are going to be allowed to stay open.