HYDERABAD: Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) chairman Syed Mustafa Kamal has said that the government needs to collect correct information about the virus-hit people whose condition is serious as well as those who need aid during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.

Only 150,000 local government (LG) representatives could do that job in the country because union committees (UCs) chairmen and councillors knew about such patients and aid seekers in their areas, he said while addressing a press conference on Wednesday held at the Pakistan House at Latifabad Unit-6 where PSP president Anis Qaimkhani, other leaders and activists and some businessmen and philanthropists were present.

Mustafa Kamal said that no corruption could be committed through the LG system. He said cabinets of the prime minister (PM), chief ministers (CMs) and deputy commissioners were not able to collect such information and distribute ration bags among the genuine needy people through the system.

Millions of rupees went into corruption even in these testing times, he said, adding that the government must stop aid or ration distribution to people because it failed in that effort.

The PSP chief said he raised his voice addressing the PM on March 21 and advised him to call all CMs and hold a national security meeting to promulgate an ordinance to activate those 150,000 LG representatives, including councillors and chairmen, in an hour to contain the spread of virus in this unusual situation.

He said he also suggested to the PM to call leaders of all parties to give a statement on TV channels that their activists should ensure their services under UC set-up in their respective areas to serve people.

He said that after 12 days, the PM announced formation of a Tiger Force to grapple with this crisis and the next day he asked his MPAs and MNAs that it was high time to work in their constituencies through that force.

A report was presented to the federal and provincial governments this week that if the pace of the cases continued, 70,000 cases could pop up by the end of this month while there were only 2,500 ventilators available in the country, he said. “Situation in the country in terms of the spread of the virus is going from bad to worse. Allah bless us! ” he said.

“The rulers could disappear in the days to come if the cases increase; how we could control the situation then. I request people not to depend on the rulers who chant the slogan: “coronavirus se darna nahi larna hai” (not to be frightened of the coronavirus, but to fight it). This is a wrath from God Who is angry with people and He expels us from mosques and Kaaba,” he said.

He said that all leaders of the world learnt great lessons from the pandemic, but it was sad that it did not affect politics of Pakistan as Prime Minister Imran Khan and four chief ministers were not on the same page. They were engaged in differences with each other while the masses were facing problems and falling prey to confusion over opposite narratives of the PM and Sindh CM over the lockdown strategy.

He said that all rulers should be united for at least three months to form a unified policy and evolve strategies to steer the country out of the current challenges. He said he announced giving his services, along with his activists, under his worst political enemy Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) which had MNAs, MPAs, mayors and others, “but they (MQM-P) are missing and reluctant to listen to me”.

He said that soon after the breakout of the pandemic Covid-19, all offices of the PSP were converted into relief camps around two months ago.

He said that all activists had started contributing to charity works and distributing ration bags among the deserving and respectable people at their doorsteps at night while safeguarding their self-respect.

He said he had to request some philanthropists to contribute when the demand rose significantly and they helped a lot. He urged people to give aid to people in their localities in these testing times.

Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2020

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