Faith and Youth: PM Imran announces plan to ‘unleash potential and vigour of youth’ to fight the virus
Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Monday that the country's faith and youth were two of its biggest assets against the Covid-19 pandemic.
In an address to the nation, the prime minister said that the entire world was at war against the coronavirus and that every country was fighting this war according to its own capacity.
He identified China as a country that has been successful in its war against the virus while reminding the nation that Pakistan did not possess China's resources and would therefore need to come up with its own strategy.
"If our economic situation was similar to that of China's, I, too, would have locked down the entire country. 25 per cent of our population lives under extreme poverty. And then 20pc on top of that lives near the poverty line. If we committed to a full lockdown and are then unable to feed our people, all our efforts to halt the spread of the virus will be futile," Khan said.
Pointing to India's 21-day lockdown dilemma, the premier warned against taking similar decisions without implementing plans to mitigate the effects of a lockdown. "If India lifts its lockdown now, the virus will spread. And if they retain the lockdown, their people will starve to death," Khan said.
The prime minister reminded the nation that this virus didn't discriminate between the rich and poor, citing the example of a developed country like the United Kingdom where Prime Minister Boris Johnson had tested positive for the virus.
"If you compare the US to Pakistan, they announced a stimulus package of nearly $2 trillion whereas we could only offer $8 billion to mitigate the economic fallout from Covid-19 outbreak. You see, we have limited resources. But what we have is faith and youth. We are the second youngest population in the world and we intend to fully unleash the potential and vigour of our youth to fight this virus," Prime Minister Imran Khan vowed.
The premier outlined the ways in which the newly established Corona Relief Tigers youth force will work to assist the government in its Covid-19 response. "This youth force will go into lockdown areas and distribute food and other necessities amongst the needy and poor. These youngsters will also offer guidance to people around the country about potential symptoms of the virus and instruct them about quaranting and self-isolation," Khan revealed.
"The PM office has a cell which is analysing data and trends. Within a week, we will inform you of the virus' trajectory in Pakistan," assured the PM.
The prime minister also announced the establishment of a Prime Minister Corona Relief Fund — a fundraising National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) account, which will aid people financially affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. He revealed that the bank account would be set up day after tomorrow.
He appealed to the nation to donate generously and promised tax relief to those who will deposit money in this account.
Warning to hoarders
In a stern warning to hoarders, the premier promised strict action against those whose hoarding was inflating the prices of commodities.
"Those who are hoarding, I want to tell them that because of them people in this country will die of starvation. We will make an example out of you," Prime Minister Imran Khan warned.
He cited the example of the Ansar and Muhajireen from history of Madina and urged the nation to follow the selfless example of the Ansar.
"We need to defeat these hoarders and create the spirit of the Ansar. Only then will we defeat this virus," the premier concluded.