LAHORE: PML-N president and opposition leader in National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif has presented a comprehensive mechanism for the provision of food, medicines and essential items under the lockdown.

In a proposal Shahbaz Sharif presented to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government on Thursday, he said food and other essential items should be retailed by Utility Stores through home delivery ordered through calls and apps. “Post offices and NLC’s (National Logistic Cell) human resource can also be used for this purpose. The railway freight trains should be used for transporting these items to different parts of the country at mass scale.”

He said the prices of food and essential items should be subsidised using Baitul Maal and the BISP. He stressed that all personnel involved in this operation must be provided with protective gear.

Mr Sharif paid rich tribute to the armed forces, Rangers, doctors, nurses and paramedical staff for their service to the nation while putting their own lives at risk.

The PML-N leader warned that after spike in coronavirus cases in the country, it was now unavoidable and non-negotiable to enforce a complete shutdown to contain further spread of the disease. He called for an immediate disinfecting drive through municipal staff across the country and especially in areas with high density of infected cases. He pointed out the grave situation in Rawalpindi (Bara Koh) and called for immediate attention to that area.

Sharif renewed his call for inclusion of opposition’s proposals to the ‘insufficient and vague’ economic package announced by the government. He demanded that the Parliamentary Committee on Covid-19 be upgraded to the parliamentary monitoring committee so that it could analyse and ensure effective implementation of the steps and.

He also demanded that the Sindh government’s charter of demand be immediately sent to the federal government and be approved at once. “Meeting of the Council of Common Interests must be held on a daily basis and Punjab’s local government be reinstated immediately,” he said and called for the policy rate to be cut by at least four per cent.

Shahbaz Sharif said: “There is no time for mindless, egomaniacal, arrogant and stubborn tantrums fuelled by vengeance and prejudice and called for sanity, unity and coherence to prevail.”

Published in Dawn, March 27th, 2020