Sindh planning package for doctors, says Bilawal

Published May 6, 2020
Accuses Centre of hindering relief efforts. — DawnNewsTV/File
Accuses Centre of hindering relief efforts. — DawnNewsTV/File

KARACHI: Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has said that doctors fighting bravely the Covid-19 pandemic are national heroes, adding that the Sindh government is planning to give them a special package similar to the one given to brave soldiers fighting against terrorism.

A part statement issued on Tuesday said that the PPP chairman expressed these views while addressing the Peop­les Doctors Forum (PDF) office-bearers at Bilawal House through a video link.

PDF president Dr Karim Khawaja, Punjab president Dr Khayyam Hafeez, Dr Javed Iqbal, Dr Arsalan Dewan, Sindh president Dr Razzaq Sheikh, Dr Yar Ali Jamali, KP president Dr Nisar Ahmad Khan, Dr Dawood Iqbal, Dr Ashiq Hussain Shah, Afzal Abro and others participated in the discussion.

“The non-arrival of the federal government’s economic bailout package reduced the effectiveness of the lockdown and further spread the Covid-19 outbreak,” the statement quoted the PPP chairman as saying.

“The federal governments all over the world have given such relief packages, but ours has given nothing except con­­tinuing the Benazir Income Support Programme funding started by the PPP,” he said, adding, “I have been talking about giving a relief package not on­ly to Sindh, but also to all provinces alike, but instead of helping, the federal go­ve­rnment is placing obstacles in our way”.

Accuses Centre of hindering relief efforts

He said that the federal representative, the Sindh governor, was not even signing the relief package ordinance giv­en to the people by the Sindh government as an attempt to create a hindra­nce. The package, he said, included job and salary protection for the people of the province, rebates on utility bills, reli­e­f in school fees and rebates on house rent.

“The Sindh government wants to give relief to the people of the province in all provincial taxes through this ordinan­ce,” said Mr Bhutto-Zardari. “We also want the lockdown to end but before that we have to ensure the safety of people’s lives and urge that abundant test kits will have to be given to provinces and facilities in hospitals will also have to be increased to cope with the situation.”

On medical facilities, he said that the federal government was not doing anything even in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where the people had given their mandate to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf. “We say that not only Sindh, but the federation should also help all the provinces as they need it,” he added.

The PPP chairman said that the federation and all the provinces should realise that timely measures taken by Sindh did not allow the Covid-19 outbreak epidemic to worsen.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari directed the PDF to intensify the public campaign to keep people safe from pandemics, like Covid-19, and to make them aware of safety measures.

Earlier, in the meeting, the PPP chairman was briefed on medical facilities available in the country.

Dr Dawood Iqbal from Khyber Pakh­tunkhwa said that at this time most of deaths from Covid-19 were reported from KP as well as most of the doctors who were affected by the virus due to lack of safety equipment. He claimed that no representative of the KP government had so far contacted the families of those doctors, nurses and other medical workers who lost their lives while performing their duties.

He said test facilities in the province were very limited.

Dr Arsalan Dewan from Punjab claimed that the Covid-19 centre set up at the Expo Centre in Punjab did not even have oxygen facilities. He said patients there had protested against unavailability of potable water.

Published in Dawn, May 6th, 2020

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