ISLAMABAD -- As Pakistan reports the world's third highest ratio of positive cases among those being tested for coronavirus, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has asked the federal government to come out of illusions, stop downplaying the threat and act to prevent a serious health crisis.
'Of all people being tested in Pakistan, 20 per cent are reporting positive, which is the third highest ratio in the world,' said PPP parliamentary leader in the Senate Sherry Rehman in her response to Prime Minister Imran Khan's latest speech.
She said if the death toll continued to rise at the current pace, at least 25,000 Pakistanis would fall victim to the deadly virus by the end of August. 'And yet we are being told that the situation in Pakistan is under control. Which parallel reality is the federal government living in?' she asked.
The PPP senator said: 'The first task [of the government] was to unite the nation. He [Prime Minister Imran Khan] has instead chosen to divide it at a time of terrible crisis.'
Unfortunately, she said, 'the BISP, which is the only organisation helping [the destitute] and is the most critical element of the economic response to the pandemic, got a 15pc budget cut. If the government is actually so concerned about the destitute, then why didn't it ensure that BISP's budget was increased?'
PPP senator asks rulers to come out of illusions, as pandemic demands them to be proactive, not reactive
PM Khan claimed that the government would account for every penny of coronavirus relief fund, but till date even lawmakers had not been informed where the international aid had gone, the PPP senator added.
'We have been asking repeatedly but no heed is paid to it. On the one hand, he [the PM] says that Pakistan is a poor country and, on the other, he is asking our people for charity,' she regretted.
She said: 'Pakistan has the fifth fastest outbreak in the world [where the virus is] accelerating beyond the point of containment. Local transmission is 96pc in Pakistan, as per the ministry of national health data.'
Sherry Rehman said the federal government was still confused and unable to reach a decision. 'This confusion and the government's mixed messaging have cost us a great deal. Actually...