Newly-appointed Science and Technology Minister Shibli Faraz has said locally produced ventilators are not useful and the country also lacked other resources including oxygen to deal with any emergency situation amid surging coronavirus cases.
His statement refuted the claims of his predecessor Fawad Chaudhry, who in a recent cabinet reshuffle, was made the information minister.
Fawad as science and technology minister had claimed that Pakistan had joined the ranks of those a few countries which are producing their own ventilators and added that a ventilator is a "complicated machine and not a lot of countries in the world have the capacity to make it".
“There are 16 functions in the ventilators but the ventilators being made at local level have only four,” he revealed after visiting the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Islamabad on Monday.
The minister said the National Radio and Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC) and private firms were manufacturing ventilators in the country.
Responding to a question regarding activating the Pakistan Steel Mills’ (PSM) Oxygen Plant, he said the ministry of industries and production is looking into the PSM Oxygen Plant and he has also spoken to the minister of industries and production in this regard.
However, he said that that the PSM Oxygen Plant might not be made operational immediately due to some problems.
About supporting India during worsening Covid-19 situation, Shibli said, “Pakistan will extend support to India as much it can. This is the issue of humanity and our sympathies are with India.”
In November last year, the then science and technology minister, Fawad, had said that Pakistan became self-sufficient in manufacturing Covid-19 related material thanks to the efforts of its scientists, engineers and technicians.
“The country lacked the medical equipment to fight the pandemic when the first phase of Covid-19 appeared in the month of February, but now the situation is different,” the Radio Pakistan quoted the federal minister as saying.
(With input from DNA)