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Saturday, February 4, 2023

Coronavirus Outbreak: PML-N seems insecure, but why?

Why is PML-N attacking the government when the international community is praising Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ‘wise’ and ‘timely’ response to novel coronavirus outbreak? Analysts explain the reasons behind the former ruling party’s desperation and political insecurity.

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Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) continues to slam the incumbent government for its alleged inability to combat the novel coronavirus outbreak. PML-N’s Secretary Information Marriyum Aurangzeb slammed Prime Minister Imran Khan for zero utilization of Rs 11 billion federal health budget, saying the action exposed Imran’s incapacity, inability and non-seriousness towards public healthcare.

In a statement on Friday, Marriyum said that majority of this Rs 11 billion was allocated to the running schemes started by PML-N which Imran could not even complete.“Imran wants to damn the hospitals of Islamabad down the same hell hole where he dumped the hospitals of KPK for the past 7 years” She said.

She also slammed the government for not being able to deal with the spread of coronavirus. She maintained that the incumbent government was clueless as to how can it manage the virus and its impact on Pakistan’s economy.

Read more: Coronavirus Outbreak: Is PML-N an opportunist party?

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 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.”

The former minister said that this clueless government could not even spend a single penny on the up-gradation of the Basic Health Units (BHU) in the federal capital in spite of available resources.

Read more: PTI looks clueless as opposition is leading Pakistan’s fight against Coronavirus

He could not even run the PIMS and Polyclinics of Islamabad or improve and upgrade them or buy the equipment required, she said and added that these hospitals also cater to patients from the surrounding areas of the capital territory. The patients after experiencing the “revolution” of KPK hospitals also turn to Islamabad, she added.

“For the entire year this government was snoozing and busy doing nothing and all this money will become overdue and delinquent in June which is just one month away. How can Imran explain this utter incompetence and failure of Rs 1 billion allocated for epidemics which is crucial in the times of the current pandemic situation, was not utilized as well. Had Imran utilized the funds allocated for Central health Establishment, he could have used them for research to fight COVID-19”, she said.

She further said that Rs 6 billion allocated for PIMS could not be utilized for better treatment of patients amid coronavirus outbreak. Imran could not even make use of the money allocated for the pediatric ICU and the state of the art HVAC system.

Analysts believe that the PML-N is failing to offer any substantial critique of the government’s policy of tackling coronavirus. These political tactics of belittling Prime Minister Imran Khan and his cabinet without concrete evidence are likely to be dangerous for the PML-N itself. “We are increasingly losing our credibility because of our inability to comprehend the present situation. The entire world is praising Imran Khan and we are needlessly attacking him,” a PML-N’s local leader told GVS.

Read more: Shehbaz demands center to support provinces: Is he promoting provincialism amid coronavirus?

Moreover, there is another view as to why the PML-N’s top leader is terming PM Imran incompetent or clueless. “PML-N wants to stay in limelight. PPP is doing well in Sindh. Hence, they get reasonable media coverage and stay in power corridors. The former ruling party, on the other hand, is completely out of power. It creates both frustration at a personal level and insecurity at the political front. Therefore, Shehbaz Sharif and his aides seem to be under severe personal and political pressure,” said Saleha Anawar, a Lahore-based political analyst. She added, “In my opinion, PTI should give space to PML-N”.