PM Imran calls for lifting transport ban

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday stressed upon reviewing the extreme steps taken by the provinces to contain the spread of coronavirus as these would impact the economy drastically.

Addressing the parliamentary leaders’ conference in Islamabad, PM Imran called for lifting the ban on transport and said this would badly affect the supply of essential items in the country.

“Gilgit-Baltistan is facing fuel shortage and yesterday supply from the port was stopped due to lockdown in Karachi and we had to take necessary steps in this regard,” the prime minister said.

He added there was no precedence in the world of such lockdown.

“The federal government can no do this alone we have to have a national response to fight the epidemic,” the premier said.

Requesting the political leadership of the country to give their input and suggestions, the prime minister said, “We have a meeting of National Coordination Committee tomorrow where we will review the situation arising out after the lockdown.”

“There are multiple levels of lockdown and curfew is the last one,” the premier said, adding that his concern was the poor section of the society which will face the brunt of such measures.

“Sindh was the first province which announced to impose lockdown and then under pressure from media all the other provinces and Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu Kashmir followed the suit,” PM Imran said.

Addressing the Taftan controversy, PM Imran said the army and Balochistan government made great efforts in taking care of pilgrims coming from Iran.

Iran could not deal with the situation and the brought our nationals to the border, leaving us no option but to allow them back into the country.

The prime minister added, “Our decision to not evacuate students from Wuhan proved right. We received the criticism from everyone but you see there is no case of coronavirus from China.”

“We must not take decisions under fear,” he said. “If we have to win the fight against coronavirus we can do this together.”

Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser had called the meeting last week, inviting parliamentary leaders to parliament house for an in-camera briefing on the impacts of COVID-19.

A formal notice was sent to all parliamentary leaders in the National Assembly as well as the Senate of Pakistan.

However, due to the growing severity of the virus’s spread, the format of the meeting was changed to a video conference.