LAHORE: Opposition Leader in the National Assembly and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shahbaz Sharif on Sunday offered the services of hospitals being run by the Sharif Group to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government to establish quarantine facilities for coronavirus patients.
He made the offer during a video conference with senior party leaders at the Model Town office of the party hours after returning from London where he had been staying for the past three months to look after his ailing brother and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
Mr Sharif said his family was ready to offer all health facilities of the Sharif group to serve as quarantine centres.
The caucus took stock of the country’s overall situation, formed a health task force to monitor the pandemic and frame recommendations, and also constituted a parliamentary advisory group to take further decisions to stem spread of the deadly virus.
The health task force will comprise former federal health minister Saira Afzal Tarar, Khwaja Salman Rafiq, Ayesha Raza Farooq, Marriyum Aurangzeb and Attaullah Tarar. Ms Aurangzeb will coordinate with the media.
Forms health task force to frame recommendations to stem spread
A second committee comprising the parliamentary advisory group and provincial party presidents besides senior leaders was also formed. Shaza Fatima Khwaja will serve as secretary of both the committees.
Earlier in the morning Mr Sharif was received by senior party leaders and some workers at the Islamabad airport on his arrival from the UK a day after the federal government had announced suspension of international flight operations for two weeks.
Talking to the media, the PML-N president claimed that he had come to join hands with the nation to counter the challenge of coronavirus. He said the former premier had also urged the nation to remain united during these testing times.
Party officials said Mr Sharif was likely to visit hospitals to raise morale of the people fighting the virus spread. They said he would also use his contacts developed during his 10-year long stay in power in Punjab to convince various foreign companies to donate the medical equipment most needed at present.
Replying to a question, a senior party leader said the PML-N chief’s presence in Pakistan would help check the efforts being made by certain quarters to create fissures among party ranks and persuade its parliamentarians to quit the party.
Published in Dawn, March 23rd, 2020