KARACHI: Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has said that Pakistan’s armed forces will never leave the people of Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) alone in these challenging times.
“Pakistan Army is cognisant of the challenges facing the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. We are working closely with GB’s govt and civil administration to provide all possible support while additional resources are being arranged on war footing in conjunction with the federal government,” the army chief was quoted as saying by the chief military spokesperson.
“We will never leave the people of GB alone in these challenging times. Pakistanis will fight against COVID-19 as one,” Gen Qamar said.
Currently, G-B has 80 confirmed coronavirus cases, or 30% of the total tests conducted in the region. Similarly, the region has 509 suspected cases, of which 162 have been reported during the last 24 hours.
Army assures govt of all-out support in war against coronavirus
One person has so far died of the COVID-19 disease in the region. The deceased, Dr Usama Riaz, had reportedly contracted the deadly respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus while screening pilgrims returning from Iran at G-B.
The young Dr Usama Riaz has been hailed as a hero by the region’s chief minister and his cabinet members.
Capacity of different hospitals in the region – including the Districts Headquarters Hospitals in Gilgit, Skardu, and Chilas – is being enhanced.
G-B is a remote mountainous region and the difficult terrain makes accessibility an issue. The region needs attention, immediate attention, to prevent the situation ballooning into a crisis.
G-B has been in a complete lockdown since Monday midnight for an indefinite period. Police and paramilitary troops are patrolling the streets and roads round the clock to enforce the lockdown, according to the law minister, Aurangzeb Khan.
The development comes as provincial governments in Sindh, Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan had announced lockdown in their provinces to an attempt to stem the spread of the deadly contagion.