Federal govt slammed for ignoring doctors' advice on lockdown.


Byline: Shazia Hasan

KARACHI -- 'The coronavirus crisis has exposed Pakistan's fault lines. The federal government has its priorities all wrong. It has simply failed [to develop] a national narrative. Whatever comes out of Islamabad has only created confusion,' said Dr Syed Jaffar Ahmed.

He was speaking during a press conference called by civil society activists at the Karachi Press Club on Monday.

'We called this press conference today to show solidarity with the doctors of our country who are appealing to the federal government and the governments of Balochistan, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to lock down the entire country to save lives. It is ironic that the federal government, turning a deaf ear to the advice of doctors, is saying that it is thinking of the poor. But to end the pandemic it is mandatory to listen to the health experts, not the clerics. The clerics here, meanwhile, are doing as they please while ignoring the precautionary measures taken by the mosques of Madina and the Holy Kaaba itself,' he said, reading out a statement.

'When it comes to the coronavirus, the people seem to have very non-scientific opinions. Many have assumed it [to be] a conspiracy against Muslims. But this is propaganda being spread by social media. What's even worse is that a so-called religious scholar blames the pandemic on the shamelessness of women and the media in front of the country's prime minister and gets away with it. Though afterwards he did apologise about what he said about the media, he should also apologise to the women of this country,' the statement said.

'People seem to have very non-scientific opinions about the coronavirus'

'The lockdown could not happen as it was supposed to and thus the disease spreads among the population with the passing of each day. The government says that it will help the needy by distributing Rs12,000 among 30 million poor for six months. And it is said that the federal and provincial governments will not allow any poor worker to be fired from his or her jobs [but] it is still happening. Most of them are also not being paid their salaries. Nowadays the private hospitals and educational institutions are also firing their staff and the government is not able to do anything about it. The prime minister is of the view that lockdown has been successful in European countries because no one is starving there. He knows this is because they are...

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