We do not want to damage our economy by imposing a lockdown, Imran says while responding to live calls from Pakistanis.
Tariq Butt, Correspondent
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday criticised the partial coronavirus lockdown imposed by the Sindh government against the Centre’s wishes, explaining that doing so would break the back of the common man.
The premier expressed his views on the issue while conversing with the people of Pakistan in a live programme “Aapka Wazir-e-Azam Aap Kai Sath” question-and-answer session via telephone, which was telecast by all TV channels.
Imran Khan began the session by thanking the people of Pakistan for co-operating with the government over the first three waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, and urged them to again adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to curb the spread of the ongoing fourth wave.
He then addressed the government of Sindh's decision to impose a partial lockdown to curb rising COVID-19 cases, saying it hadn't taken into consideration the hardships of the poor. "We had a small problem between the federal government and Sindh," he admitted.
"The Sindh government wanted to impose a lockdown, which is the correct decision and will curb the spread of the virus. But on the other hand, the thing to see is that will we be able to save the economy from the lockdown? Then there is the issue of hunger ... the daily wage earners and especially the poor section of our society ... how will they make ends meet during the lockdown?"
Imran cited the example of "destruction in India" to tell the Sindh government "never to impose a lockdown until you have the answers to these questions."
"Their (Indian) government imposed a lockdown at once without thinking anything of the public. They only thought of the upper class and elite like us," the premier said.
"The Sindh government should know that when you force a lockdown you are going to keep people hungry. You cannot keep hungry people under a lockdown if you do not have the resources to bring them food."
The prime minister said that the policy of smart lockdowns and mass vaccinations was the way to go, as he stressed that the economy that has "survived very difficult times and is headed on an upwards trajectory" should not be hurt at any cost.
The prime minister said he was not imposing a lockdown for now but that he would close down cities if Pakistan started facing a situation line in neighbouring India,
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