PTI, PPP continue blame game over Covid-19 handling

Updated 16 Apr 2020

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Yousuf Raza Gilani lashes out at Punjab govt for ignoring south Punjab. — APP/File
Yousuf Raza Gilani lashes out at Punjab govt for ignoring south Punjab. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: The blame game between the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the ruling parties in Punjab and Sindh, over the handling of the coronavirus situation continued on Wednesday, with the parties accusing each other of playing politics over the issue and doing nothing on the ground.

Hours after Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan and PTI’s central vice-president and parliamentary leader in Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh at a news conference targetted Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, PPP’s deputy information secretary Palwasha Khan alleged that the PTI ministers were inciting people in Sindh against the lockdown and playing with the lives of the people.

Former prime minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani in a separate statement blasted the PTI-led Punjab government for ignoring south Punjab in the handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

The PPP leader claimed that it was on the instructions of PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari that the Sindh government provided protective gears and kits in hospitals in south Punjab.

He said the protective equipment and testing kits from Sindh had been provided to medical staff in Nishtar Hospital and Erdogan Hospital in Multan and at the quarantine centre in Jampur district.

Mr Gilani expressed concern over rising number of Covid-19 cases among the medical staff of Nishtar Hospital, stating that there were 37 Covid-19 patients in the hospital. Of them, he said, 27 were doctors.

He said that results of the tests of some 100 staff members of the Nishtar Hospital were still awaited. He said that the medical staff in south Punjab hospitals had been working without safety gears, including gloves, which was a complete failure of the Punjab government.

Asking the federal and Punjab governments to follow in the footsteps of the Sindh government and enhance medical facilities, the PPP leader warned that if Covid-19 got out of control then the current health system would collapse.

In her news conference, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said that the Sindh chief minister appeared to be pessimistic which might create fear and panic among the people of Sindh.

She said that instead of focusing on building his media image, the Sindh chief minister should look at the poverty and hunger on the ground and take measures to address them.

In reply to Dr Awan’s presser, PPP leader Palwasha Khan said that the SAPM held three press conferences a day in three outfits and “her talking about the poor is nothing but crocodile tears”.

She accused Prime Minister Imran Khan and his ministers of turning a serious situation into a joke.

Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2020