LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shehbaz Sharif went into self-quarantine shortly after he arrived in Islamabad late Saturday.
The PML-N chief decided to return to Pakistan after the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government's decision to suspend international flights into the country till April 4 as part of sweeping measures to contain the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Shehbaz was received at the New Islamabad International Airport by Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Marriyyum Aurangzeb. The PML-N president headed to his Lahore residence where he has self-quarantined himself.
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Shehbaz speaks to NA speaker
In a telephonic conversation, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and Shehbaz exchanged views on the economic challenges faced by the country in wake of the pandemic and deliberated on setting up a joint parliamentary committee to tackle the virus outbreak and monitor the government's measures.
The NA speaker said the political leadership must unite to fight the virus together. "Our political leadership has always been united on national issues. Let us send a message of courage and bravery to our people," he added.
The opposition leader lauded the speaker's efforts to unite political leadership amid the crisis.
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Shehbaz had left for the British capital in November 2019 along with Nawaz Sharif for the latter's medical treatment. The former chief minister was expected to return soon but prolonged his stay because of Nawaz's health situation.
Earlier, in a statement from London on Saturday, Shehbaz proposed imposition of a lockdown in the country and urged the government to finalise all arrangements, including provision of food and other essential items.
“The lives of Pakistanis must not be jeopardised amid the worsening state of the COVID-19 outbreak,” the PML-N chief said. “A lockdown, same as in China, must be implemented and all required arrangements be made on war footing.”
He warned that a human catastrophe as a result of “any further carelessness and dereliction” in this regard would be unacceptable. “The PTI government would be held responsible for any and all consequences of delaying the lockdown.”