Fawad Chaudhry, Minister for Science and Technology, has urged political parties to postpone their planned public gatherings for at least three months to stem the second wave of the novel coronavirus. In a Twitter post, he said the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Covid-19 has issued new standard operating procedures (SOPs), restricting wedding receptions in terms of both number of guests and duration of the function and other events in view of the second wave of the deadly disease rearing its ugly head in the country.
کرونا کی دوسری لہر کے پیش نظر NCOC نے نئےSOP جاری کئے ہیں اور شادیوں اور دیگر تقریبات کو محدود کرنےکا کہا ہے، میں سمجھتا ہوں سیاسی جماعتوں کو ذمہ داری کا ثبوت دینا چاہئے اور تین ماہ کیلئے جلسے جلوس ملتوی کر دیں، اپوزیشن بھی تحریک اگلے سال تک ملتوی کر دے، زندگی کااحترام کریں
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) October 10, 2020
Fawad said political parties should demonstrate a sense of responsibility and postpone their public gathers for a period of three months. He also urged the opposition to put off their anti-government movement until next year.
On October 9, the NCOC had observed that the coronavirus situation can take a turn for worse if SOPs are violated by wedding halls and rolled out a set of new guidelines for them to prevent the resurgence of cases. As per the new SOPs, only 300 guests inside halls and 500 guests for an outdoor function will be allowed. The duration of ceremonies has also been reduced to two hours.
Opposition to hold anti-government protests
Notably, the 11-party Pakistan Democratic Movement announced on Monday that it would hold its public rally in Karachi on October 18, as the PDM (Pakistan Democratic Movement) finalized all its officeholders.
The PDM leaders also announced a new schedule of anti-government rallies across the country after differences emerged among the political parties on the dates.
Ahsan Iqbal, General Secretary PML-N, said that the opposition parties’ next rally would be held in Quetta on October 25 adding that the PDM will hold massive gatherings in Peshawar and Multan on November 22 and 30, respectively.
Is government afraid of Opposition?
GVS spoke to sources in the government to understand if the ruling party is afraid of the movement. However, it was reliably learned that the government does not have any fear, and would allow the opposition to hold protests.
While speaking at the Insaf Lawyers’ Forum on Friday, PM Imran Khan also said that the opposition is allowed to hold public protests but no law should be breached.
Reiterating his unflinching stance that the government will never give any legal relief to the opposition, PM Imran Khan said the country had been destroyed because retired Gen Pervaiz Musharraf had extended favors to the PML-N and the PPP a decade ago.
COVID-19 in Pakistan
According to the latest figures by the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), 671 persons have been tested positive for COVID-19 in 24 hours. Six people died on Saturday taking the nationwide tally of fatalities to 6,558.
Sindh remains the worst-hit province by the pandemic in terms of cases followed by Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Islamabad.
Till now 139,910 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Sindh, 100,484 in Punjab, 38,273 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 17,210 in Islamabad, 15,498 in Balochistan, 2,991 in Azad Kashmir, and 3,900 in Gilgit-Baltistan.
Furthermore, 2,543 individuals have lost their lives to the epidemic in Sindh, 2,252 in Punjab, 1,263 in KP, 146 in Balochistan, 188 in Islamabad, 89 in GB and 77 in Azad Kashmir.
Pakistan has so far conducted 3,828,952 coronavirus tests and 33,665 in the last 24 hours. 303,062 coronavirus patients have recovered in the country whereas 475 patients are in critical condition.