Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Tuesday said the PTI-led federal government lacks the courage to touch the 18th Amendment.
In a joint interview with Sindhi news channels, the PPP chairman said the Sindh government’s timely measures to stem coronavirus outbreak in Pakistan have averted a situation which prevails in Italy, Iran or New York. He said other provinces followed in the footsteps of the Sindh government and the deadly virus didn’t spread that rapidly in the country.
Separately, addressing the People’s Doctors Forum at Bilawal House Karachi through video link, he said doctors fighting the Covid-19 pandemic are the national heroes, adding that the Sindh government is going to give them a special package similar to the one given to the brave soldiers fighting against terrorism.
He said federal governments all over the world have given relief packages but that in Pakistan has given nothing except continuing the Benazir Income Support Program funding initially launched by the PPP. “I have been talking about giving relief packages not only to Sindh but all the provinces alike but instead of helping, federal government is placing obstacles in our way,” he lamented. Taking aim at Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, he said the provincial government has been trying to save the lives of citizens while the governor, the federation’s representative in the province, has been opposing the Sindh government’s measures such as lockdown. He said the governor is not even signing a relief package ordinance drafted by the Sindh government. “Relief package under that ordinance includes job and salary protection, rebate on utility bills, relief in school fees and rebate on house rent. Sindh government wants to give relief to the people of the province in all provincial taxes through this ordinance,” he added.
Bilawal said the PPP also wants the lockdown to end “but before that we have to ensure the safety of people’s lives”. He said abundant test kits will have to be given to the provinces and facilities in hospitals will also have to be increased to cope with the situation. “The federal government is not doing anything even in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where the people have given them a mandate. We say that not only Sindh but the federation should help all the provinces as they badly need help,” he added. Meanwhile, in a statement, Bilawal said that Balochistan government’s decision to extend lockdown for another 15 days is in accordance with the ground situation. “So far the only effective defence against coronavirus has proven to be isolation, social distancing and lockdown,” he said, adding that the federal government should help Balochistan in increasing and establishing its testing capacity and isolation and quarantine centres through logistic support so that the country’s poorest and largest province can cope with the alarming situation it is facing alongside other provinces.