From left: Maryam Nawaz, Bilawal and Maulana Fazal-ur Rehman attend an anti-government rally in Peshawar on Sunday. AP
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday blamed the opposition parties (Pakistan Democratic Movement) for endangering people's lives by holding public meetings.
#PDMSpreadingCOVID has been trending on Twitter after the massive rally of the opposition parties in the city of Peshawar on Sunday.
Twitterati call out political leaders' apathy and ask the real question: whether the “jalsa” (rally) is more important than their lives...
In a series of tweets, he warned that the government may be compelled to enforce a complete lockdown across Pakistan if the coronavirus cases continue to rise at the same rate.
The prime minister blamed the PDM for "deliberately endangering lives and livelihoods" by holding public meetings across Pakistan with coronavirus cases in Pakistan on the rise.
"If coronavirus cases continue to rise at the rate we are seeing, we will be compelled to go into complete lockdown and the PDM will be responsible for the consequences," he tweeted.
Supporters of the PDM attend an anti-government rally in Peshawar. AP
He reiterated that he would not grant the opposition leaders an NRO (amnesty) even if they held a million public meetings. The opposition is callously destroying people's lives and livelihoods in their desperation to get an NRO, he said.
However, the prime minister said he did not want to take the lockdown measure as it would hurt the economy and create problems for the people. He lashed out at the opposition by saying that its "only goal is NRO at whatever cost to the lives of people & the country's economy."
"I do not want to take measures like a lockdown that will start hurting our economy which at the moment is showing signs of a robust recovery. Unfortunately, the opposition's only goal is NRO at whatever cost to the lives of people & the country's economy.”
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government denied permission to the PDM to hold its public gathering in Peshawar, which was organised on Sunday.
However, the PDM, an alliance comprising 11 of the country's opposition parties, staged it fourth power show on Sunday in Peshawar.
The deputy commissioner, citing his reasons to refuse permission, in a statement said COVID-19 positivity rate has exceeded 13 per cent in Peshawar district — which is “alarmingly high.” Any large public gathering is likely to increase the spread of the deadly virus, he added.
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry thinks that in order to achieve its short-term goals, the opposition is not thinking about the big picture.
In a tweet, the federal minister used the example of a cow to explain the situation. “The Opposition wants to sacrifice the entire cow for its 2kg meat,” he said, speaking in parables. “Fools, if the disease continues to spread and people’s lives are on stake, then for what [purpose] are you doing politics for?”
He said that politics and power were connected with people’s lives and well-being. “Change your strategy; if you really want to hold jalsa then hold virtual ones,” he added in the tweet.
Imran and his wife Bushra Bibi tested positive for the coronavirus the other day. The prime minister tested COVID-19 positives two days after receiving the vaccine, triggering a debate on the effectiveness of the jab.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has continued to perform his work despite being infected with coronavirus and discussed important government matters with the leaders of his party on Thursday.
"I exercised precaution for a whole year. I never went to any wedding or even to a restaurant to eat. I practiced social distancing and kept my mask on for the most part," the premier said, as he began his video message.
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