KP seeks army deployment to enforce Covid-19 SOPs

Published April 25, 2021
Passengers walk through a thermal scanner installed at a railway station in Lahore to check coronavirus symptoms as 86,529 active cases were recorded across the country on Saturday. — AP
Passengers walk through a thermal scanner installed at a railway station in Lahore to check coronavirus symptoms as 86,529 active cases were recorded across the country on Saturday. — AP

PESHAWAR / QUETTA: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Saturday requested the federal government to authorise deployment of armed forces and civil armed forces in the province to ensure effective implementation of the guidelines of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Likewise, the Balochistan government said the army would be called in if the people did not follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to save them from the deadly virus.

A letter sent by the KP home and tribal affairs department to the federal interior secretary states that after invoking Article 245 of the Constitution, deployment of armed forces for enforcement of Covid-19 SOPs as per directives of the NCOC/NCC in the wake of exponential spread of corona virus is the need of the hour.

Balochistan may follow suit if people continue to ignore guidelines

Furthermore, it states that under sections 131-A and 132-A of the Code of Criminal Procedure the federal government is requested that assistance of the civil armed forces may also be made available to counter the pandemic in the province and to augment assistance to civil administration.

The letter states that currently all provincial resources are being invested to combat the pandemic by all the sectors/departments and most of the police personnel are also deployed for Covid-19 duties in addition to other responsibilities.

“Despite these efforts, rising trend in Covid-19 cases and high positivity rate is observed in major cities of the province,” it says.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced on Friday that the government had decided to call the armed forces in aid of civil power to effectively implement the SOPs to curtail the spread of the dreaded disease.

In Quetta, Balochistan government’s spokesman Liaquat Shahwani told a press conference the government would have to seek help of the army if the people did not follow the SOPs.

He said the percentage of people affected by the virus in Balochistan was recorded at more than 10 per cent on Saturday.

He said while 11 out of 33 districts of Balochistan were free of coronavirus, cases were being reported from interior of the province.

Published in Dawn, April 25th, 2021

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