Govt to ensure delivery of ration, food supplies to deserving families : Firdous

ISLAMABAD, Mar 29 (APP):Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan Sunday said that the Prime Minister has renewed his pledge of ensuring delivery of ration and food supplies to deserving poor families across the country at their doorsteps.

Briefing media persons about Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf Core Committee meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, she said that PM has trust in youth and wants to use the potential youth force volunteers in ensuring supply of food items to deserving people.

The SAPM said the Prime Minister will personally announce a comprehensive road map tomorrow to ensure uninterrupted food supplies across Pakistan.

She said that the Prime Minister informed the committee that the country was passing through a difficult time and there was need of unity among the masses to overcome the challenge posed by this pandemic. She said Imran Khan urged the party leadership to stand by the people in testing times and play a proactive role in resolution of their problems.

Dr Firdous said that due to ongoing lock down to prevent spread of coronavirus, national economy was being affected and chain of daily use items was slowed down.

She said the prime minister advised Minister for National Food Security to ensure availability of food items, including flour so that there should be no shortage of such items.

The SAPM said that there was no shortage of edible items in the country and the committee expressed the resolve to treat hoarders and profiteers with an iron hand.

Dr Firdous said that Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, during the briefing, informed the meeting that his government has allocated Rs 10 billion to provide Rs 4000 financial assistance every month to 250,000 deserving people in the province through easy-paisa.

Those getting financial support from BISP would not be included in this list. She said that the CM also informed the meeting that eight medical laboratories in the province would conduct coronavirus tests of 3200 persons daily and recruitment process of 10,000 doctors and
paramedical staff has been started in the province.

He also informed that in case any doctor or paramedic dies during performance of his duties, he would be given package as given to martyrs. She informed that one month salary as bonus will be given to doctors and paramedics, who will serve as frontline soldiers against Coronavirus pandemic in the province.

She said that KPK Chief Minister Mehmood Khan informed that his government has announced Rs 11.40 billion package for providing financial support to 19,00,000 deserving families in the province.

She said that province has overall allocated Rs 32 billion to control spread of the pandemic. The province has also given Rs 5 billion relaxation on taxes and duties to various sectors.

She said that KPK would provide additional Rs 2000 to each of ten lakh families getting financial support under Ehsas Programme.

She said that the prime minister also made it clear that the packages announced by the federal government would also be extended to the provinces where PTI was not in power.

She said that any relief given by the federal government to the people of Punjab, KPK and Baluchistan would also be given to the people of Sindh, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan as it was a time of national approach.

She said that in National Coordination Committee meeting tomorrow, steps would be discussed to open supply of goods needed for opening industrial units and construction sector to save the poor labour class from starvation. She said counter strategy was needed to save labour class from unemployment.

She said that personal protection equipment has been provided to doctors and paramedical staff attending coronavirus patients in Islamabad, AJK and GB and the same would be provided to other provinces as soon as possible.

Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan informed that National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) was going to set up five more laboratories across the country, other than those being set up by the provincial governments. “Two of these laboratories will be established in Karachi. This will help double the screening capacity of NDMA.”

Dr Firdous regretted that the criticism of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif on the government initiatives was discouraging the doctors, paramedics, volunteers, district administrations and institutions working extensively to contain the pandemic of coronavirus.

“You (Shehbaz Sharif) are worried about your life and making statements through video link from home. Those brave sons and daughters of the soil, working in the field, have put their lives at risk to serve the ailing masses affected due to coronavirus. Those health officials deserve encouragement and motivation to fight back coronavirus pandemic with renewed spirit and resolve,” she said.

Shehbaz Sharif should give positive suggestions to further improve their efforts otherwise avoid unnecessary criticism on government’s measures as the people are not in the mood of bearing with such adventures.”

Shehbaz should set aside his politics at the moment as the masses had rejected him and he should let the elected government serve the masses in this hard time.

“We pay tribute to the services of doctors, nurses, paramedics, armed forces and media during this war against the coronavirus outbreak,” the SAPM said.

She informed that an allocation of personal protective equipment (PPEs) for media personnel was made after consultation with NDMA. “Those media persons visiting Intensive Care Units (ICUs), quarantines and making coverage in emergency will be provided with PPEs and safety kits.”

An application has also been prepared for redressal of their complaints, which would be launched tomorrow and Prime Minister Imran Khan would also launch his youth volunteer plan tomorrow with a roadmap for overseas Pakistanis to overcome the pandemic.

She said the nation had coped with many serious crisis in the history and the Almighty would help us combat with the pandemic under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan. “The Prime Minister will not disappoint the nation in this time of emergency.”

While responding to the queries, Firdous said the Prime Minister had directed to ensure goods transport movement across the country to reduce the problems of the masses.

However, Minister for Communications Murad Saeed during the core committee meeting informed the prime minister that goods transport was halted due to lockdown at the provincial level as goods transport was initiating from the Karachi’s ports and then supplying goods across the country, she said.

“Around 80 percent of such transportation is off the road as no hotels and other facilities are available due to the lock down. Prime Minister Imran Khan directed to develop coordination between federal and provincial governments to revive the goods transport,” she added.

She informed that SAPM on Youth Affairs Usman Dar briefed the committee on the structure of youth volunteer force and positive suggestions were given by the committee. “The committee decided to take elected
representatives on board in this portal for effective distribution of relief items. The Prime Minister wanted to ensure the enlistment of deserving masses through the Citizens Portal, which is not possible in areas with no connectivity.”

She added that a parallel system of district governments was set up with DC Office as focal point and other committees. It was based on the data developed by district governments through geomapping and business communities. The most deserving would be provided food supplies through youngsters.

“This portal will also help in monitoring hoarding and profiteering in the respective districts. Youth volunteers will also be registered through DC Offices, where no Internet is available and they could also help in managing patients from rural areas to urban localities by ensuring ambulances.”

She mentioned that Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) would be made an active regulator based on the best global practices, and keeping in view the need of skilled workforce the strength of doctors and medical workforce would be beefed up.

Dr Firdous said opposition parties were ruling in Gilgit Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Sindh, where the Prime Minister did not discriminate among any in the National Coordination Committee on political bases.

The National Coordination Committee was the best forum where all stakeholders, civil and military leadership were taking decisions based on mutual consensus. “If the opposition parties want to become part of any committee or endeavour and to distribute food, then it is a welfare service for the masses.

She said it provided a golden chance for the opposition leaders to spend their looted money on the masses and to prove that even though they plundered the national wealth, they could also spent for the welfare of the masses.