Islamabad, June 22, 2020: In her response to Prime Minister Khan’s speech, PPP Parliamentary Leader in the Senate, Senator Sherry Rehman said, “Of all people being tested in Pakistan, 20% are reporting positive, which is the 3rd highest ratio in the world. On June 19, deaths crossed the 3200 mark. This number doubled in 17 days (1600 on June 02). The previous doubling had happened in 18 days and the one before that in 15 days. If it continues this way, then till end August, we will be looking at 25000 deaths. And yet we are being told that the situation in Pakistan is under control. Which parallel reality is the Federal government living in?”
She said, “The first task was to unite the country. He has instead chosen to divide it at a time of terrible crisis”.
“BISP which is the only organization helping and is the most critical element of the economic response to the pandemic, got a 15% budget cut. If the government is actually so concerned about the destitute, then why didn’t it ensure that BISP’s budget was increased?” she asked.
Rehman said, “He says the government will account for every penny of corona relief fund but till date we are unaware of where the international aid has gone. We have been asking repeatedly but no heed is paid to it. On one hand he says that Pakistan is a poor country and on the other, he is asking our people for charity”.
“Pakistan is the fifth fastest outbreak in the world and accelerating beyond the point of containment. Local transmission is 96% in Pakistan, as per the ministry of national health data. While the federal government is still confused and unable to reach a decision. This confusion and the government’s mixed messaging has cost us a great deal. Actually, wrong and misleading messaging has become a hallmark of this government’s COVID-19 response. Data from around the world clearly shows that all those countries that showed reluctance in lockdown or reopened prematurely, suffered but we are continuously given examples of USA and India. Will Prime Minister Khan also answer why the recovery rate in Pakistan is so low?” she asked.
The Senator said, “As per a WHO report dated June 20, 6,980 cases are hospitalized in Pakistan and out of which over 50% are critical, while the government has lifted the lockdown at this crucial time. How can you predict the peak when necessary steps like lockdown, aggressive testing, and contact tracing have not been taken? This is exactly why the peak projection keeps shifting from one month to the other. We had the data from the entire world to make plans but the government still relied on hope”.
“The Prime Minister has been consistently saying that he is against lockdowns. It is easy to say this when he is comfortably sitting in his Bani Gala mansion but do we have to wait for the situation to worsen further, for him to consider that a complete lockdown could be a viable option? High time that the Federal government realises that that this pandemic demands them to be proactive, not reactive,” she added.
PPP Parliamentary Leader in the Senate, Senator Sherry Rehman concluded by saying that, “The federal government needs to realise that they will be held responsible if the death toll increases because it will be due to their lack of planning. What Pakistan needs at this time is decisive leadership so, will the PM of Pakistan please step forward and take responsibility?”