Thursday Apr 23 2020
Web Desk

Bilawal slams PM Imran for 'colossal failure of leadership' over COVID-19 lockdown

Web Desk
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari speaks to media outside a NAB office. Photo: file

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Thursday slammed Prime Minister Imran Khan's decision to desist from announcing a complete lockdown across the country, saying that the federal government was not serious in saving citizens' lives.

The PPP chairman was speaking to BBC World News when he said that PM Imran's reason and logic to change restrictions that were already in place were "beyond comprehension".

"For the first few weeks, the lockdown went relatively well and the people were abiding by the restrictions. Only five members of mosque staff were allowed to offer prayers and people were urged to pray at home. The PM eased some restrictions including barbershops and tailors in the country so it was difficult to convince the religious-minded people to follow the same restrictions about prayers," he said.

He criticised the "mixed signals" from the federal government, saying that Sindh did not have the resources or police to stop congregational prayers in mosques due to the conflicted approach from the Centre.

"When we compare ourselves to the rest of the Muslim world like Saudi Arabia, Iran, and others, they are taking steps to save the lives of their citizens. This is not the time for populous electoral decisions. It is time to take decisions on the advice of doctors and health experts," he said.

Pointing out that doctors in Lahore and Karachi were on the streets protesting against the government, Bilawal said that provinces were not being provided help by the Centre in its testing capabilities.

Speaking about the lockdown, Bilawal urged the federal government to think about the citizens' lives instead of the economy. "No country in the world is designed or capable to maintain such a lockdown but everywhere the governments and leaders prioritise the lives and health of their citizens. We in Sindh work with a philosophy that we can bring the economy back to life, but not the people," he said.

He criticised the federal government for not declaring a relief package for doctors and nurses who were fighting the pandemic on a daily basis. The PPP chairman said that the Centre had failed to forge national unity required to mitigate the coronavirus crisis. 

"I personally will be offering my prayers, whether it is the five time a day prayers or the Taraweeh prayers in Ramazan at home and I would call upon Muslims across the world, particularly those in Pakistan to please stay at home, pray at home, not only to protect themselves but to protect others," he said.