Pakistan cannot afford an 'indefinite lockdown': army.


ISLAMABAD: Inter-Services Public Relations Director General Major General Babar Iftikhar Friday said based on the information provided to the National Command Operation Centre (NCOC), the country cannot afford an 'indefinite lockdown'.

"We cannot afford an indefinite lockdown," he told a news conference along with Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan. "We will have to keep our essential services functioning as well," he said.

Maj Gen Iftikhar thanked media for reporting objectively on the coronavirus pandemic, saying that he has no hesitation in admitting that the state will require cooperation from the media to battle the virus. He also paid tribute to the doctors, health workers and medical staff who are at the forefront in the battle against the coronavirus. "I pay special tribute to doctors, paramedics, security personnel, on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19 virus. I also thank ulema for their role," he said.

The DG ISPR briefed media about the NCOC, saying that it is headed by Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar. He said the NCOC serves as a nerve centre 'to collate and analyse information received from provinces, after which recommendations are made to National Command Centre so that the country's top political leadership can take timely decisions'.

He said the NCOC is a 'one-window operation' where under one roof, important ministries and provinces have representation. "Here, all sorts of information is received and is forwarded," he said.

He said it is of utmost importance that the masses cooperate with the state by staying inside their homes. "As a good Muslim, it is one of our most important responsibilities to keep others safe as well," he said. "You can do this by staying inside your houses."

Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said the nation's protection and safety from the coronavirus pandemic is the first priority of Prime Minister Imran Khan. She said the NCOC will review the implementation of decisions taken to curb the spread of coronavirus in the country. The NCOC, which was inaugurated by the prime minister as a nerve center earlier in the day, will provide a platform to all the stakeholders to perform their assigned functions smoothly, she added.

Dr Firdous praised Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and his team for providing an unprecedented support to the government in the toughest time. The federal and provincial...

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