The key opposition parties – PPP and PML-N – on Friday extended support to the government’s call for the formation of a parliamentary committee and joint strategy for containing the coronavirus outbreak.
This came during separate telephone calls made by National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser to Pakistan People Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) parliamentary leader Maulana Asad Mehmood, and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior leadership Rana Tanvir Hussain and Khawaja Muhammad Asif.
The speaker discussed the formation of a parliamentary committee to oversee the government’s efforts to deal with coronavirus pandemic with the opposition leaders.
Talking to the PPP chairman, the speaker said: “Together, we have to fight the pandemic disease and send a message to people that the entire nation and the political leadership is united at such critical juncture.”
Agreeing with the speaker’s call, Bilawal said the pandemic and its aftermath needed to be fought together as a nation. The PPP chairman extended his and his party’s support for the national cause.
Speaking with the PML-N leaders, Qaiser said the coronavirus apart from affecting the health of people would also adversely affect the economy. He said: “The country can face a multitude of challenges in the coming days.”
They agreed to forge unity to tackle the challenges and assured of giving names of their party’s representatives (for the committee) after consultation with the party leadership.
The speaker mobilised to unite the entire political leadership to fight the coronavirus after a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday where the two leaders agreed to set up a parliamentary committee for framing a comprehensive plan to combat health and economic downsides of the virus.
In addition to delivering its recommendations to the government, the committee will also review the steps taken by the government to deal with the pandemic.
The panel will be notified as soon as the National Assembly Secretariat receives the names of the members from political parties.
At a time when the world, including Pakistan, is fighting coronavirus, the opposition resisted the temptation of criticising the premier and called for joint efforts to combat the virus.
On Friday, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari announced a “no criticism policy” against PM Imran and his government over its response to the coronavirus pandemic. He expressed hope that the federal government will meet the challenges posed by the situation, but at the same time called upon it to adopt a “proactive and interventionist” approach in war on COVID-19.
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