Amid alarming rise in Sindh’s Covid-19 cases, PTI slams PPP for ‘misguiding’ people

Published May 10, 2020
PTI leader Khurram Sher Zaman on Saturday blasted the Sindh government for "misguiding" people. — DawnNewsTV/File
PTI leader Khurram Sher Zaman on Saturday blasted the Sindh government for "misguiding" people. — DawnNewsTV/File

KARACHI: With over 1,000 tested positive for coronavirus across Sindh on Saturday, the provincial leadership of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf said that although the prime minister had not forced the provinces to follow the federal government, the PPP-led Sindh government was deliberately misguiding the people to put the burden of its bad governance on the centre.

The leaders of the key opposition party in the province also blamed the PPP for exploiting ethnicity for its political gains, putting national unity at risk.

They called corruption and bad governance in the province as key reasons behind poverty and panic in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.

“The prime minister has given the right of decisions to all the provinces,” PTI leader Khurram Sher Zaman told a press conference at his party’s Insaf House headquarters here.

“You can see that Punjab and Balochistan have made their own decisions. But when it comes to Sindh, the chief minister turns hostile. They only want to pretend that they want to do best for the people but the federation is preventing them from doing so. It’s absolutely wrong and unfair. The people of Sindh have suffered irreparable loss due to the PPP government,” he said.

Asad Umar terms Sindh party colleagues’ statement about Covid-19 numbers ‘irresponsible’

Party leaders MNAs Aftab Siddiqui, Alamgir Khan, Aslam Khan, Fahim Khan, Akram Cheema, Aftab Jahangir, Saif-ur-Rehman, MPAs Jamal Siddiqui and Shehzad Qureshi and others were also present.

Zaman said that children of Sindh were dying of hunger and dog bites.

“Only two days ago a boy, named Zeeshan, from Larkana died helplessly. In 70 per cent of Sindh, water is not drinkable. In the current scenario of progress and growth, even KP and Balochistan have made significant progress. Our province of Sindh is lagging far behind,” he added.

He blamed the PPP government in Sindh for promoting ‘hatred of ethnicity’ for its political gains but warned that the politics of hatred had already cost many lives in the country, which could not afford it anymore.

“They [PPP government] know well how to spread hatred and perform very well in this area,” he added. “Anyone who questions their performance and asks about governance, he or she is declared anti-Sindh or anti-democracy. We would not stop raising questions and make them accountable for their mandate.”

The PTI leaders also reiterated their demand for immediate reopening of businesses in the province so traders could be saved from further losses.

“We demand that the Sindh government devise SOPs [standard operating procedures] immediately and reopen markets. The federal government has spent billions for the people of Sindh under the Ehsaas Programme but the performance of the Sindh chief minister is questionable,” he said.

Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Asad Umar, meanwhile, called his party’s allegations against the Sindh government for exaggerating the coronavirus situation in the province “irresponsible”.

Answering a question while appearing on Geo News late on Saturday, he denied the impression given by senior members of his party in Karachi. “It’s not appropriate and the situation is not like that,” replied the minister when asked about his thoughts on PTI Karachi president Khurram Sher Zaman’s allegations against the Sindh government during a presser earlier in the day.

1,080 new cases in Sindh

In his video message issued on Saturday, Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that for the first time since Feb 26, Sindh diagnosed 1,080 cases by conducting 5,498 tests overnight, which means 20 per cent of those tested came positive.

“This is the highest ratio ever reported in any province and a worst situation has emerged in Pir-jo-Goth of Khairpur district where 246 new cases [were] diagnosed in a day,” he said.

“This seems to be the peak and it may rise further with the number of tests increasing,” he said and added the testing capacity was being enhanced to 6,450 per day.

Shah said that the Sindh government had conducted 87,108 tests against which 10,771 cases were diagnosed, constituting 12.4pc of the total tests.

He said that four more patients lost their lives while struggling against the virus and now the death toll had reached 180, or 1.7pc of the total patients.

“I am sorry to say that 101 patients, or 17.2pc of the total patients, are in critical condition, of them 23 are on ventilators,” he said.

He said that 80 more patients were cured and sent back to their homes with necessary advice and prescriptions.

246 test positive in Pir-jo-Goth

The chief minister said that local spread had hit a high in various districts but the worst-affected district is Khairpur and its taluka Pir-jo-Goth produced 246 cases in a single day.

He added that a woman of Pir-jo-Goth visited Hyderabad and when she returned she had fallen ill and within two days she died.

“I think she was coronavirus suspect case since she was not tested, therefore she was not being counted in coronavirus patients/deaths,” he said and added he was suspecting that she brought the virus back to Pir-jo-Goth from Hyderabad and infected others in the village.

Her funeral prayer was offered without observing SOPs, he said and added the government had started testing her family members and those that had attended the funeral.

Giving details of the samples tested so far, Shah said that on May 4 35 people [of Pir-jo-Goth] were tested, of them 10 were diagnosed as positive; on May 6, 97 villagers were tested and 14 found positive; on May 7, 59 more people were tested and seven came positive and finally 251 were tested on May 8 and 246 were found positive.

“This is a very serious situation and the cases are multiplying in Pir-jo-Goth,” he said.

Shah directed the Khairpur administration to impose a strict lockdown in Pir-jo-Goth and isolate the patients in their homes or shift them to isolation centre in Sukkur.

Covid-19 found during random testing

Shah said that the vendors and customers present there were randomly tested in a special drive at grocery and vegetables shops and some of the shopkeepers and the customers were found positive.

“This is a dangerous sign and speaks volume about local spread. This is why I have been requesting people not to go out unnecessarily and even [if] it was necessary people must wear masks and follow the SOPs,” he said.

About Karachi, he said 583 new cases emerged in the metropolis including 143 in district South, 133 in Malir, 113 East, 76 in Central, 61 in Korangi and 55 in district West.

Sharing the number of cases in districts other than Karachi, the chief minister said that 265 cases were found in Khairpur (including 246 of Pir-jo-Goth), 34 in Sukkur, 19 in Hyderabad, 17 each in Ghotki and Larkana, eight in Kandhkot-Kashmore, seven in Shaheed Benazirabad, five in Matiari, four in Mirpurkhas, three each in Jamshoro and Qambar-Shahdadkot, two in Tando Allahyar, one each in Jacobabad, Sanghar, Sujawal and Thatta.

Published in Dawn, May 10th, 2020

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