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Govt decides to ease lockdown from May 9 as PM donates salary

It was informed that Pakistan's situation was far better than that of many developed countries. The prime minister and all the cabinet members, including ministers, ministers of state, advisors and special assistants, decided to donate their one month salary to the Prime Minister's COVID-19 Relief Fund 2020.

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The Federal Cabinet on Tuesday approved easing of lockdown and restrictions imposed in the country to stem the spread of coronavirus from May 9.

The final decision regarding lockdown would be taken in the meeting of National Command and Control Centre on May 6 (Wednesday), Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz said while briefing the media about the decisions made in the cabinet meeting regarding lockdown chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Shibli Faraz said Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar gave a comprehensive briefing about lockdown to the cabinet over the coronavirus situation in the country. It was informed that Pakistan’s situation was far better than that of many developed countries, therefore, the decision to ease lockdown has been taken. 

PM and cabinet donate salary

The information minister said the prime minister and all the cabinet members, including ministers, ministers of state, advisors and special assistants, decided to donate their one month salary to the Prime Minister’s COVID-19 Relief Fund 2020. The gesture was made in view of the prevalent situation and difficulties faced by the people, he added.

Read more: What is COVID-19? Here’s all you need to know

Cabinet discusses various matters

Moreover, the minister said the cabinet was informed that the Committee on Election Reforms had sent its report to the Ministry of Law and Justice. The prime minister desired that the election process should be transparent and unbiased, which should also enjoy the trust of the masses.

The PM said reforming the electoral system was part of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s agenda and it would remain the topmost priority of its government, he added. The prime minister stressed the need to reform the criminal justice system as the cases lingered on for decades. He asked the minister for law and justice to finalize the reformation process in the criminal justice system within six months.

The PM advised that modern technology should be introduced in police stations to change the ‘Thana’ culture.

The meeting was updated on the conversion of police stations to model police stations with the introduction of modern technology.

Shibli Faraz said on the PM’s directives, the cabinet was informed that 76 illegal appointments were made on high posts in seven divisions during the previous government. The ministries concerned were directed to present reports on those appointments in the next cabinet meeting. Any decision regarding the illegal appointments would be made soon, he added. It was informed that in total 81 cabinet meetings, total 1,630 decisions were made, out of which 1,376 (86pc) had been implemented whereas on 114 decisions (7pc) were at the stage of implementation.

Read more: Lockdown: It is important to regulate activities to avoid mental breakdown

The minister said the cabinet deliberated on the issue of ban on import of goods from India, except life-saving drugs. The prime minister directed to ensure that there is no violation of the ban.

He said the cabinet approved the appointment of Naveed Asghar Chaudhry, Grade 20 officer of the Audit and Accounts Service of Pakistan, as Member Finance WAPDA.

He said the cabinet also gave formal approval to the reconstitution of National Commission for Minorities.

Shibli Faraz said the cabinet also approved a memorandum of understanding signed between Akuwat Pakistan and Akuwat USA, which would help in the collection of donations for the PM’s Corona Relief Fund.

He said the cabinet also gave approval for export of locally made hand surplus sanitizers to earn foreign exchange.

Noting that there was a surplus quantity of rice available in the country, the cabinet accorded approval for its export. It also decided to include 61 food and non-food items in PSQCA’s quality control list, he added.

The cabinet also reviewed the process of implementation on its decisions for the facilitation of overseas Pakistanis.

The minister said that SAPM on Social Welfare Dr Sania Nishtar briefed the cabinet about the ongoing process of financial help of vulnerable segments of the society through the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme. It was informed that in addition to 400,000 families as per the data of previous governments, almost 810,000 new ones had been added.

The programme was being implemented in a most transparent manner and on merit, Dr Sania Nishtar said. Shibli Faraz said the prime minister listened to the suggestions given by various cabinet members. The minister informed the media that he himself had corona test yesterday and its result was negative.

Latest update of COVID-19 in Pakistan:

The number of novel coronavirus cases in Pakistan, the second worst-hit country in the region after India, has risen to 21,501 with 1,315 new cases reported over the past 24 hours, the country’s Health Ministry said on Tuesday.

Another 24 patients died due to the virus across the country in a day, raising the toll to 486. Some 5,782 have recovered so far. A bulk of the cases have been reported from northeastern Punjab and southern Sindh provinces.

Read more: Pakistan: Is lockdown best strategy to contain COVID-19

Since first appearing in Wuhan, China last December, the novel coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, has spread to at least 187 countries and regions, with the US and Europe the hardest-hit areas.

More than 3.58 million cases have been reported worldwide, with the death toll surpassing 251,500 and nearly 1.17 million recoveries, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University in the US.

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