In-camera session of parliamentary panel on Covid-19 today

Published April 27, 2020
Agenda includes discussion on impacts of lockdown and steps required to protect country’s economy. — Dawn/File
Agenda includes discussion on impacts of lockdown and steps required to protect country’s economy. — Dawn/File

ISLAMABAD: An in-camera meeting of the special Parliamentary Committee on Coronavirus Disease will be held at the Parliament House on Monday (today) to review the impact of the continuous lockdown on the country’s economy and to receive recommendations from representatives of traders and the business community for formulating a strategy to deal with the crisis.

According to the agenda for the meeting issued by the National Assembly Secretariat, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood and Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar will brief the committee members and the representatives of traders “on impacts of lockdown due to Covid-19 and immediate steps required to protect the economy”.

This will be the fourth meeting of the committee, headed by National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and comprising many political heavyweights belonging to all the parties having representation in both houses of parliament.

According to the agenda, president of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industries Mian Anjum Nisar has been invited to highlight concerns and demands of industrialists, exporters and importers and the president of All Pakistan Anjuman-i-Tajran Ajmal Baloch to discuss problems and demands of traders.

Agenda includes discussion on impacts of lockdown and steps required to protect country’s economy

The committee has also invited the representatives of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan to hear their viewpoint on the current state of the country’s economy.

Opposition parties have termed the previous two meetings of the committee unproductive, saying the committee’s scope has been limited to receiving briefings from government functionaries.

In previous meetings held on April 20, opposition members had expressed their concern over the ambiguous government stance over the issue of lockdown and the rise in the number of coronavirus cases across the country and called for imposing a more strict and uniform lockdown all over the country.

The opposition members were of the view that a unanimous strategy for the lockdown should be made to end confusion among the masses.

Parliamentary leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in Senate Sherry Rehman had protested over statements issued by the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) members, including some federal ministers, against the Sindh government over handling of the coronavirus situation.

On the other hand, parliamentary leader of the main opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in Senate Mushahidullah Khan had boycotted the meeting when the speaker did not give him the floor for speech despite his repeated requests.

In the second meeting of the committee, too, Mr Khan had heated exchange of arguments with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood over the issue of the government decision to establish a “Tiger Force” to fight the pandemic.

The parliamentary committee comprises 12 MNAs and 13 senators. It also comprises a number of political heavyweights like Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Minister for Housing and Works Chaudhry Tariq Bashir Cheema, parliamentary leader of PML-N Khawaja Asif, PPP leader Raja Pervez Ashraf, Asad Mehmood of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, Shahzain Bugti of the Jamhoori Watan Party, Amir Haider Hoti of the Awami National Party, Akhtar Mengal of the Balochistan National Party, Shibli Faraz, Mushahidullah Khan, Sherry Rehman, Muhammad Ali Saif of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Mir Hasil Bizenjo of the National Party, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri of the JUI-F, Sirajul Haq (Jamaat-i-Islami), Usman Kakar (Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party), Sitara Ayaz (ANP), Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini (BNP-Mengal) and Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah (PML-F).

Published in Dawn, April 27th, 2020

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