PM Imran advises Sindh to opt for smart lockdowns


ISLAMABAD:

Prime Minister Imran Khan advised Sindh government on Sunday to refrain from enforcing a lockdown in the province, saying hungry people cannot be forced to go under a complete lockdown.

“We can’t enforce a lockdown on people who are hungry,” the PM said while responding to a citizen’s call during a telethon.

“How can we impose a lockdown on people who don’t have resources or food,” he asked, advising the Sindh government to opt for smart lockdowns instead.

“You can enforce partial lockdowns in areas where there’s an escalation in cases,” he said. The premier added that action could also be taken against wedding halls and restaurants, but only when they violate SOPs.

“Moreover, schools can remain closed until students and staff are vaccinated,” the PM added. He further stated that the real solution lay in getting vaccinated.

Pakistan has so far vaccinated 30 million people,” PM Imran said. Highlighting that the economy had been on an upward trajectory, he said that the government could not “destroy” the economy by “enforcing a lockdown”.

Noor Mukadam case

Addressing the question regarding the horrific murder of 27-year-old Noor Mukadam, PM Imran assured that he was following the case from day one and had all the information regarding it.

“It is a heinous case and it has shocked the nation, given its impact. I assure the nation that the accused will not escape the law and will be brought to justice,” the premier remarked.

He added, “I want to reject the common notion that the accused may escape punishment because they belong to an influential family or have dual nationalities.”

“The murderer won’t escape punishment regardless of how powerful they are,” the premier asserted.

Read Sindh, Centre lock horns on lockdown

Media freedom

Responding to a another caller, the premier said he believed in the freedom of media. “Only those who loot the country have a fear of facing the people,” he said.

However, he added that, “I only have a difference of opinion with the media when it airs fake news and propaganda.”

He cited the recent discovery by the EU DisinfoLab about India’s use of fake accounts against Pakistan in this regard.

“I want to reiterate that constructive journalism is a blessing for the country,” the premier remarked.

Electoral reforms

On the question of government’s proposed electoral reforms, the PM said that his was the first government that wanted to bring about a system to ensure transparency in the electoral process.

“Electronic voting machines (EVMs) are the only way to rectify the system and deal with its anomalies,” the premier added.

He noted that the government had been asking the Opposition to coordinate in finalising the reforms, but “to no avail”.

AJK elections

PM Imran questioned the Opposition’s claims of rigging in the Azad Jammu and Kashmir elections. He further added that all government functionaries in AJK belonged to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

“The PML-N also lost Sialkot polls,” the prime minister said, adding that the “AJK premier himself alleged rigging in the polls.”

The premier reiterated that the only solution to all such allegations was to introduce the electronic voting system.

Accountability

To another question, PM Imran said that those being targeted for their corruption were pressurising the government to be granted an NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance).

“These elements threaten to dislodge the government so as to keep their corruption hidden,” he added.

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