March 27, 2020
Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Interior Senator Rehman Malik has urged the government to impose curfew throughout the country in the wake of the Coronavirus as partial lockdown is not the solution as our people do not take polite instruction seriously. In his statement, Rehman Malik stressed that the lockdown is not ensuring complete disconnection of the people but a real curfew will create the desired results. Senator further said that the outbreak of Coronavirus is a big national security issue and no one should play politics and blame game over it as it is a matter of human lives and security of our country. He expressed his concerns that in the coming weeks we may get more cases and each one of us is getting to dangerous zone of getting infected of Coronavirus.
He said that we need to stop the multiplication of the victims and hence we need to create physical gulf with the communities, families and each other. He said that disengaging and disconnecting from each other and getting into isolation is the defence mechanism to fight against Coronavirus. Senator Rehman Malik said that as Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Interior, he convened an emergency meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on February 27, 2020, to advise the government and public to take timely preventive measures against the potential spread of Coronavirus as that time only two cases in the country were reported. He added that in the said meeting he had given the government a comprehensive National Action Plan to counter Coronavirus and timely advices to preventive and other remedial measures adding that though late but still the same can be implemented.
In addition, he said that the government was cautioned that the coronavirus could spread in Pakistan after its outbreak in China and Iran. He also said that the committee had issued instructions for setting up screening test and isolation centers at all the airports and other entry points and had suggested that every passenger should be tested and quarantined upon entering Pakistan. Further, he added that the Interior Committee had termed the Coronavirus outbreak as a National Security Issue and had asked the government to impose an urgent medical emergency in the country in both of its meetings held on February 27th and March 6th. He said that he has advised the Prime Minister to convene a meeting of Chief Ministers of four Provinces to formulate a joint strategy against Coronavirus.
Senator Rehman Malik said that the committee had prepared a 30-point plan containing preventive measures and had sent it to the federal and provincial governments to implement it to control Coronavirus in the first phase before it spread countrywide. The committee requested to declare coronavirus issue as a matter of National Security. it was recommended by the committee to establish isolation centres away from the population. Government urged to properly evaluate the threat of coronavirus across the country.In addition, the committee emphasized on comprehensive coordination amongst all stakeholders to fight against coronavirus. It also urged the Government to allocate Rs.20 Billion for making logistic and other arrangements to stop the potential spread of Coronavirus in Pakistan.
Chairman Committee also asked that the flights returning from other afflicted countries must be diverted to specially designated airports to avoid further risk. Moreover, he told that the situation would have been different and far better today if the government had taken timely action against the spread of Coronavirus soon after its outbreak in China and Iran and had followed the committee's suggestions. In the second meeting of the committee on March 6, Committee had proposed to close all educational institutions across the country and had asked the government to hand over the designated civil hospitals to the Army Medical Corps, he added. "I thank the Chief of Army Chief for his actions and commitment and full support to the civil hospitals," Rehman Malik said. He stressed on consensus in these difficult times as nation has to fight against the hidden enemies. Pakistan Peoples Party(PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari extended the hand of help to PM Imran Khan but the country did not see the desired level of response from the government, he added.