Covid-positive PM throws caution to the wind
Premier Imran chairs meeting to take stock of Maryam’s decision to take rally to NAB office
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday chaired a meeting of the party leadership in person after being tested positive for the coronavirus a couple of days ago to take stock of PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz’s decision to take a rally to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) office in response to a call-up notice.
Soon after Senator Shibli Faraz shared a photo of himself, Premier Imran, SAPM on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfikar Bukhari, Standing Committee on Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Chairman Faisal Javed and SAPM on Media Yusuf Baig Mirza on Twitter, the social media was abuzz with questions like “what was so urgent and important that the PTI media team had to meet the PM”.
“In the meeting, Maryam’s appearance before NAB was discussed,” Shibli told The Express Tribune. “It was decided that a campaign will be launched to sensitise the nation about the equality of law for the weak and the strong” and counter the attitude of threatening the bureau or any other institution when they take legal action.
In the evening, however, it emerged that NAB deferred Maryam’s March 26 hearing due to an uptick in Covid cases.
Emphasising that the equality of law will lead to stability in the country, Shibli said that the premier and the participants not only discussed Maryam’s move to take a rally to NAB office but also JUI-F and Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s earlier statements issued against NAB.
“When the leadership takes such decisions and issues such statements, the followers think on the same lines,” Shibli said. “Due to such things, people prefer to stay with ‘Chaudhrys’ [powerful people] because they think they can save them from the authorities concerned.”
Read more: PM Imran tests positive for Covid-19
Shibli revealed that the PM has directed to counter all such moves and narratives, adding that the meeting also discussed about providing maximum relief to the masses during the holy month of Ramazan and avoid shortage of any food item.
During the meeting, he said, the premier called Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar to obtain latest updates about the prices of food items, directing to ensure that prices should remain stable in Ramazan and a strategy in place to counter the “hoarders”.
He said that the premier also discussed the implementation of Covid-19 SOPs during Ramazan.
To a question about who called the meeting and why it was not held via video link when the PM tested positive for coronavirus, Shibli said that the PM Office called the meeting. “The PM is a fit person. Despite COVID, he is eager to work, which is why he conducted several meetings while following certain SOPs.”
Apart from the meeting with the media team, Shibli said, the PM met his Special Assistant on Health Dr Faisal Sultan and conducted a few other meetings on Thursday.
On the public reaction to the photo shared on social media, Shibli said that social media became quickly active after the photo was shared but the purpose of calling the meeting, among other things, was to ensure that how the government could provide maximum relief to the people during Ramazan amid the third wave of the pandemic.