Opposition endangering peoples' lives, livelihoods: PM Imran

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Prime Minister Imran Khan and key federal ministers on Sunday again censured the newly-formed opposition alliance against the government – the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) – for ‘endangering the lives and livelihoods of people by holding rallies amid the second wave of the coronavirus’.

The premier expressed concern at Pakistan’s second Covid-19 spike data, highlighting the increase in Covid patients on ventilators in the last 15 days.

In a series of tweets, the prime minister condemned opposition rallies saying, “Across the world there is a second spike & complete lockdowns in most countries. In Pak, the PDM by continuing with jalsas is deliberately endangering lives & livelihoods bec if cases continue to rise at the rate we are seeing, we will be compelled to go into complete lockdown & PDM will be responsible for consequences.”

He said that the opposition was doing this “in a desperate attempt to get an NRO”, but despite all their efforts they will not succeed in their plans.

“I do not want to take measures like a lockdown that will start hurting our economy which at the moment is showing signs of a robust recovery,” PM Imran tweeted, “Unfortunately, the Opposition’s only goal is NRO at whatever cost to the lives of people & the country’s economy.”

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz also termed the opposition rallies ‘political brutality’ as it risked the lives of the people amid increasing number of Covid-19 cases in the country.

In his tweet, the government’s spokesperson stated, “Playing with the lives of innocent people and workers for petty political gain exposes the mindset of vested interest groups.”

“The culprits who have defamed the state institutions and destroyed the economy are now after the health and employment of the people. They want to affect both public health and employment with their irresponsible behavior,” he maintained.

The federal minister further added, “The people will be held accountable for the corruption. Holding meetings after court orders is tantamount to breaking the law. PEMRA should not be allowed to broadcast such illegal and dangerous activities for the health of the people. The health and safety of the people is our top priority.”

Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry demanded the opposition to change their political strategy and hold virtual meetings that are more in line with the government-sanctioned ban on public gatherings.

“Power, politics is when one’s life is safe,” he tweeted adding, “If the disease spreads and people’s lives are at stake, then what purpose does politics serve?”

On Saturday, the prime minister and federal ministers had lambasted the PDM for allegedly playing with the lives of common people by defying a government ban on its public gathering in Peshawar amid the second wave of the coronavirus.

The prime minister accused the opposition parties of playing “reckless politics” with people’s safety, saying earlier the opposition had favoured a stricter lockdown but they were now defying court orders and holding a rally when Covid-19 cases were on the rise.

PM Imran’s tweet came in response to a tweet of the Federal Minister for Planning, Development, Reforms and Special Initiatives, Asad Umar, who stated that Covid-19 positivity ratio was 13.39 per cent on Friday in Peshawar; total 202 patients were in critical condition and out of those 50 were on low flow oxygen, 134 on high flow and 18 on ventilators.

The planning minister, who also heads the National Control and Command Center (NCOC) – the nerve center to synergise and articulate unified national effort against Covid-19 and implement the decisions of the National Coordination Committee –, stated that 14 new critical patients came on Friday. “PDM response: we will be safe on the stage so who cares what happens to citizens,” Umar stated.

Soon after the premier and planning minister’s tweet, several other ministers condemned PDM for declaring that rallies across the country will be held as PDM planned until the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government is removed.


Source: tribune.com.pk