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Monday Mar 23 2020

Implementing lockdown is provincial govt's own prerogative: Firdous


Special Assistant to PM on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan has said that the centre does not agree with the Sindh government’s implementation of a province-wide lockdown while adding that, in the centre's interpretation, a lockdown means utilizing the services of law enforcement agencies to ensure people stay in their homes.

The SAPM, addressing a press conference, said that varying opinions have emerged over the matter of locking down and its implementation.

She said that according to a summary forwarded to the prime minister on the issue, it had been decided that the decision to implement a lockdown would be the provincial governments' prerogative.

The SAPM said that the provinces can summon the army if the need arises, adding that at this time there are civil armed forces personnel deployed at eight airports of the country.

She said that a lockdown does not mean a curfew, or using force to ensure people remain at their homes.

Awan said that the government will overcome the issue of the coronavirus outbreak with the help of the people.

Delivering her message in relation to Pakistan Day, the SAPM said that March 23 is a day entwined with the concept of solidarity.

A day ago, PM Imran Khan had addressed the nation with the rising coronavirus tally across Pakistan in the backdrop, which as of Monday has crossed 800 cases. 

Read more: Pakistan cannot afford to impose a total lockdown: PM Imran

In his address, the PM said that the government will steer clear of a country-wide lockdown as it would disproportionately affect the poor.

Meanwhile, diverging from the centre's point of view, the PPP-led Sindh government enacted a province-wide lockdown from March 23, midnight.

Pakistan is struggling to contain the spread of the coronavirus and Sindh remains the worst affected province with more than 350 cases. So far, the country has recorded six deaths.