"There is no question of any political affiliation in this fund,” Imran declared.
Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Wednesday that the government will start distribution of relief money from Thursday among lower-income people who have been hit by financial crisis due to the ongoing lockdown.
He said that a sum of Rs12,000 will be distributed among 12 million families from 17,000 different points across Pakistan. He said that the programme was free of any political influence as the data was collected digitally.
Talking to media men about prevailing the coronavirus situation in Islamabad on Wednesday evening, he assured that distribution of funds to the deserving families will be totally merit-based, transparent and non-political what may come.
“There is no question of any political affiliation in this fund,” Imran declared, adding that he wanted everyone to take part in the relief programme initiated by the government and register with the Corona Tigers Relief Force.
He said the process of awarding cash worth Rs144 billion to 12 million deserving families will be completed within next two and half weeks.
Imran informed that Coronavirus Relief Tigers Force will continue to identify deserving poor people at district and union council level, and these will be added in the list of deserving people.
He said that the government “needed your (public’s) money and manpower” as it was low on resources and had to cater to a large population.
The prime minister cautioned that every single person out of 100 persons in Pakistan might be infected due to COVID-19.
He urged the citizens to understand gravity of the coronavirus situation and demonstrate responsibility by adopting all necessary precautionary measures to contain the virus.
The prime minister urged the opposition leaders, parliamentarians and civil society to support government in its endeavours to steer Pakistan out of Covid-19.
Dr Sania Nishtar, the head of the Ehsaas Programme, said on the occasion that the National Identity Card numbers being sent to the government through text messages on 8171, had passed through several stages so that the government can be sure that they qualify for the programme.
She explained that only one member of a family will receive a message even if multiple members of the family had sent their NIC numbers. The data, Nishtar said, was being cross-checked with the information in the database of the National Database & Registration Authority (Nadra).
Dr Nishtar added that those families, whose heads had passed away but their death had not been registered, could call on the 0800-26477 helpline to get assistance.
The prime minister that the volunteers of Corona Tigers Relief Force have been instructed to help people who have not been able to send their computerized national identity card numbers to register for the emergency cash fund.
He appealed to the people to join the force in maximum numbers. He said the force would be used in identifying the deserving people and ensuring lockdown of any particular neighbourhood.
The prime minister said all the federal and provincial lawmakers of his party would help the volunteers in their respective areas.
The prime minister said only precautionary measures can help to defeat the coronavirus. The entire world, he said, has now understood that lockdowns are not a solution for the Covid-19 pandemic.
The sealing of high-risk area comes as Pakistan reported 6,472 news cases on Saturday, the country's highest single-day total. Pakistan has confirmed a total of 132,405 cases, including 2,551 deaths.
India has also closed a border with neighbouring Myanmar to counter the coronavirus outbreak, as countries across South Asia reported a rise in cases on Wednesday. No cases have so far been confirmed in Myanmar.
"We are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction. We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterised as a pandemic," WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference on Wednesday.
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