No end to health crisis in sight as Sindh govt refuses to resume Covid risk allowance.

KARACHI -- Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon on Wednesday rejected the protesting healthcare providers' demand for the resumption of Covid-19 risk allowance, contending that the pandemic no longer posed a threat to public health and that doctors in the province were getting better salaries than their counterparts in other provinces.

But he did not tell any plan to bring back the protesting workers on duty as patients across Sindh continue to suffer due to closure of key services at public sector hospitals for over a month.

Explaining the stance of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) over issues ranging from the appointment of the army chief to the local government elections, the minister at a press conference claimed that the government did not have the money to pay the allowance.

'It will cost the government around Rs22 billion. If the government had funds available, it would have paid them the allowance. Right now, our focus is on the rehabilitation of flood victims. We are offering farmers financial support and aim at building houses for the poor whom the disaster has left homeless,' he said.

Minister says allowance would cost Rs22bn to govt, which has no money

'It's [allowance] being given during the pandemic, which is now over. Hence, their demand is unfair,' he said.

Answering a question, Mr Memon said that everyone wanted to address the 'genuine demands' of the protesting healthcare workers.

'The government would like to resolve the issue but not through pressure (tactics). The profession of medicine is noble. We respect health workers and appreciate their services, especially during the pandemic,' he said.

Asked about the use of force against the protesting workers last week, he said the law of the Red Zone was the same for all citizens.

'People hold protests on streets as well as the press club every day, but nobody stops them. But when you enter the Red Zone then law would be enforced. The government hasn't stopped them even when they chose to close down outpatient departments in protest, a step that should have been avoided as it has created a lot of problems for...

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