Imran orders relief package for Afghan refugees, IDPs - GulfToday

Imran orders relief package for Afghan refugees, IDPs


An Afghan refugee boy stands with face masks on a stick selling them at the corner of a street during a lockdown in Karachi on Wednesday. AFP

Tariq Butt, Correspondent

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed the authorities to prepare a relief package for the Afghan refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) facing hardship due to the coronavirus epidemic.

The directives came during a meeting of the federal cabinet following a request by Minister for States and Frontier Regions (Safron) Shehryar Afridi.

The prime minister gave the directives regarding allocation of funds for the IDPs and refugees from the Rs200 billion earmarked for poor farmers.

GirlsMaskPakGirls wearing face masks cross a street during a government-imposed lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 in Rawalpindi. AFP

Following the meeting, the minister told reporters that around 2.8 million refugees were living in 52 refugee camps across the country, of which 80 per cent were daily wage earners.

Earlier in the day, Imran has taken a serious notice of suspension of goods transport despite his earlier order for its restoration and tasked Rangers in Sindh with ensuring its implementation through appropriate measures for movement of trucks and opening of industries amid a complete lockdown in the province.


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The federal cabinet approved a coronavirus relief package of Rs1,200 billion and okayed issuance of Rs700b Domestic Sukuk Bonds (DSB) for three years to provide some support to the economy being affected by the global coronavirus pandemic and address the issue of liquidity.

"Imran Khan was quite annoyed that the decision taken by the National Coordination Committee (NCC), in which all provinces and mainstream opposition parties have representation, was not implemented in letter and spirit by the Sindh government by not easing the movement of goods transport from Karachi,” his Special Assistant on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan told reporters.

LabourerVirusMohammad Saeed, 55, father of six and a construction laborer, waits for work during a lockdown in Karachi. Reuters

She said the NCC had decided that all the four provinces and the governments of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan would ensure the movement of goods transport to ensure adequate supply of essential food items, but Sindh had so far not adhered to the decision.

"The prime minister observed that as a result of lack of goods transport, shortages of some basic food items, including wheat flour, have been reported in many parts of the country which also caused a sharp increase in prices of kitchen items,” she added.

"If relevant industries are still closed due to lockdown in Sindh and if there are no labourers and loaders at Karachi Port, the movement of goods transport will remain suspended. Therefore, the prime minister has tasked Rangers with removing all hurdles in the way of goods transport,” Dr Awan said.

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