As the government seems to have successfully contained COVID-19 outbreak, opposition leader criticize Prime Minister Imran Khan for not having a comprehensive policy to protect citizens. In a recent development, Pakistan People ‘s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Friday criticized the federal government for announcing an incentive package for the construction sector while ignoring frontline workers such as doctors, nurses, or daily wagers.
The PPP chairman took to Twitter and criticized the federal government for having ‘wrong priorities’.
In the middle of global pandemic, we have not announced major relief packages for our doctors, nurses, frontline fighters or even daily wage earners who have been hardest hit by lockdown. However, Pakistan has announced major relief for construction industry during #COVID2019 1/2
— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) April 17, 2020
“Our value for profit over human life is driving our response to a health crisis,” he said.
The PPP chairman cautioned that the entire country could suffer due to the current policies of the government, urging leaders to support the healthcare system and labourers. “Support our health care system. Support our labourers. Support those who need it most,” he said.
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It is important to note that Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan Matsuda Kuninori commended Pakistan’s tremendous efforts to tackle the coronavirus, which has so far left 26 people dead and over 2000 infected in Pakistan. Japanese ambassador said this while talking to Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza here in Islamabad on last Thursday. During the meeting, both leaders discussed the situation arising out of COVID-19.
Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) has termed Pakistan’s measures against COVID-19 outbreak as ‘timely’ and the ‘best national response’. The Country Head of the WHO Dr Palitha Gunarathna Mahipala, while talking to media in Karachi during his visit to various hospitals and testing labs, said: “At a time when other countries were reporting cases, Pakistan was keeping the virus at bay, which is something quite praiseworthy.”
Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director-International Monetary Fund (IMF), has also praised the government for its ‘swift move to offer relief response to the people’.
Cabinet approves Ordinance
Earlier on Friday, the federal cabinet approved an ordinance for the construction industry that will give special tax breaks to builders and land developers as businesses suffer due to the spread of the novel coronavirus in Pakistan and across the world.
According to local media sources, the tax breaks will be applicable as soon as the ordinance is officially notified. Under the ordinance, those investing in land development schemes will not be asked about the sources or origin of their investments into the schemes.
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Prime Minister Imran Khan had earlier this month stated that the government would announce Rs.100 billion package for the construction industry as it tries to keep the country afloat amid the coronavirus epidemic.
“We have decided we will give necessary incentives to the construction industry in order to provide job opportunities to people during this time of crisis,” PM Imran said while addressing a ceremony in Islamabad.
Analysts believe that the PPP and all other opposition parties in Pakistan are afraid of the post-Corona political scenario where PM Imran is likely to emerge as a leader with vision and capabilities to lead in the time of crisis.