The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Thursday cautioned the Sindh government that it will resist any move to further extend coronavirus restrictions in Sindh's urban areas, accusing the PPP of "trying to weaken" the federation by imposing a lockdown in Karachi.
In response, the Sindh government said that the federal government had issued orders for the restrictions to remain in place until May 31 in consultation with all provinces and the future of the lockdown will be decided in the upcoming National Coordination Committee (NCC) meeting.
Addressing a press conference in Karachi, PTI Karachi division president and member Sindh Assembly Khurram Sher Zaman demanded of the Sindh government to keep petrol pumps open 24 hours a day, questioning whether "corona attacks petrol pumps after 5pm".
He also demanded that milk shops be allowed to remain open until late evening and barbershops and beauty parlours, which he said employ thousands of people, be allowed to resume services by following certain standard operating procedures (SOPs).
Zaman said hundreds of thousands of people were associated with the food industry but the Sindh government had allowed restaurants to remain open only for home deliveries from 5pm to 10pm. He demanded that restaurants be allowed to deliver food from 12 noon to 12 midnight.
He also criticised the provincial government for keeping public transport off the roads and banning pillion riding, saying people were unable to reach their workplaces that have been allowed to function.
He demanded of the Sindh government to immediately allow public and private transport to resume while implementing SOPs.
Zaman claimed that Covid-19 cases had risen in Sindh during Ramazan because the provincial government issued orders to close markets by 5pm instead of late evening, which led to people crowding in bazaars.
He said the PTI will "stand against" the PPP government if it decides to further extend the lockdown in Sindh's urban areas.
Citing example of Western countries, he said it had become clear that "lockdown is not the solution" and that the world must move towards ending restrictions through implementing SOPs.
"You are trying to disturb and weaken the federation by locking down Karachi," Zaman alleged, addressing the PPP leadership.
'Future of lockdown to be decided by NCC'
Meanwhile, Sindh Information Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah announced that business activities across Sindh will continue as per the prevailing timings until May 31.
In a statement, he said the Supreme Court had issued directions on May 18 for businesses to continue functioning without any hindrance until May 31.
Shah said the federal government had extended the countrywide partial lockdown until May 31 in consultation with all the provinces.
He added that the federal government will convene a meeting of the NCC before the month's end in which decisions will be taken regarding the future of the lockdown while taking the input of all the provinces.