Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry on Saturday called on political parties to be "responsible" and postpone rallies and processions for three months amid fears of a second Covid-19 wave in the country.
In a message on Twitter, Chaudhry said the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) had issued new standard operating procedures (SOPs) in anticipation of a second wave of the coronavirus, directing that gatherings of people in wedding ceremonies and other events be reduced.
"I believe political parties should give proof of responsibility and postpone rallies and processions for the next three months. The opposition should also postpone its movement till next year and respect life," he tweeted.
On Friday, the NCOC proposed restrictions on large-scale public gatherings and issued fresh guidelines for marriage halls after the country saw a rise in Covid-19 infections in recent weeks.
According to officials privy to the development, the NCOC pointed out that large-scale public gatherings were prohibited in most countries as they had the potential to cause an exponential increase in infections.
They said these gatherings should ideally not take place at all, but if unavoidable, must be organised with strict compliance with the SOPs for which deliberations were under way.
Health experts also apprised the forum of the pattern and prevalence of a possible second wave in the world, particularly in the region.
Meanwhile, the opposition’s alliance, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), announced last week it would formally launch its anti-government campaign with a public meeting in Gujranwala on Oct 16.
The PDM’s steering committee at its meeting on Monday released a schedule of six public meetings in the four provinces as part of the first phase of its movement in line with decisions taken at the Sept 20 multiparty conference (MPC) in Islamabad.
According to PML-N's Ahsan Iqbal, convener of the PDM's steering committee, the PDM would hold its second public meeting in Karachi on Oct 18, third in Quetta on Oct 25, fourth in Peshawar on Nov 22, fifth in Multan on Nov 30 and the last one in Lahore on Dec 13.
Iqbal had claimed that the Dec 13 Lahore public meeting would be the "biggest gathering" in the country’s history after which the present "fake set-up" would no more be able to stand against the wishes of the people of the country.