Sindh info minister deems federal govt responsible for coronavirus spread in province

KARACHI: Sindh Information Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah on Saturday said the federal government was responsible for the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country, criticising Prime Minister Imran Khan for his doublespeak on imposing a lockdown in the country.

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Addressing a press conference in Karachi alongside Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani and other senior officials in the provincial government, Shah said:

“On the one hand the prime minister talked about the elites enforcing lockdowns. And then after a few hours, he praised his government’s decision to enforce a timely lockdown and spoke about the benefits of enforcing a strict lockdown. These are [his] double standards.”

The provincial minister also took PTI’s members in Sindh to task over their reactions to PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s press conference from yesterday.

“When PPP leaders critique the performance of the federal government, they [PTI’s Sindh members] start distracting people by talking about irrelevant things.

“Chairman Bilawal spoke about all the provinces, not just Sindh. He only said that the federal government should support provinces. What’s wrong with that?” Shah inquired.

Referring to the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic as “non-serious”, Shah pointed out that lockdowns across the country were being followed until people started getting mixed messages from the Centre.

“Experts all around the world have concluded that enforcing effective lockdown is the only way to fight a lethal pandemic,” Shah said, as he urged the federal government to cooperate with Sindh.

Refuting the federal government’s claim that they provided ventilators to the Sindh government, Shah claimed the provincial government had not received a single ventilator from the federal government and that 90 per cent of Sindh’s testing kits had been imported, claiming that the kits provided by the Centre were faulty.

“Murad Ali Shah or Saeed Ghani didn’t conclude on their own about the faultiness of these testing kits,” Shah remarked, adding that experts had advised against their use because of incorrect results.

But he did acknowledge that about “16,000 masks and 90,486 personal protective equipment” were delivered to the Sindh government from the Centre.

Meanwhile, Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani, said the federal government was “not working to further national unity” amid an unprecedented crisis.

“When the opposition was trying to work towards national unity, they started talking about national unity. Even if they wanted to talk about 18th Amendment, they could have waited until this pandemic was over.

“They do not realise that this crisis is a matter of life and death. They [the federal government] should be ashamed of talking about the 18th Amendment,” Ghani said, adding that the prime minister himself did not have a clue about what was held inside the Constitution.

“The prime minister went to Punjab, KP and Balochistan but he did not come here. Maybe someone told him that if he came to Karachi, he will lose his job,” Ghani said.

He rubbished the idea that doctors who did a press conference in Karachi were affiliated in any way with the PPP.

“These doctors appealed to the ulema, the government and the people for action. Doctors everywhere are saying the same things. Don’t listen to us but listen to the doctors. If doctors stop working out of fear, what will you do?” Ghani concluded.

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