PM Imran urges critics not to politicise coronavirus crisis


PM Imran addressing a press conference in Islamabad on April 18, 2020. — Geo News/Screengrab via

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday urged critics and rival politicians not to politicise the coronavirus pandemic, as opposition parties mount criticism on the premier for imposing a ‘partial lockdown’ in the country.

“I would like to request everyone to stop playing politics on this issue. This has been happening since the past two to three weeks,” he said, speaking to media. “There is a group that wants more damage to happen in the country so that they can benefit politically from this.”

PM Imran said that leaders around the world had made mistakes in dealing with the pandemic and had been reprimanded by media. He said that the Government of Pakistan had taken steps beforehand in the interests of the people.

Addressing media reports about the rise in coronavirus deaths in Karachi, the prime minister expressed his displeasure by referring to them as ‘irresponsible’, urging people not to spread panic among the masses. “It is an irresponsible act by saying people are dying without verifying it,” he added.

The prime minister categorically rejected claims that the government was hiding coronavirus deaths. “Which silly government will hide coronavirus deaths? It is in the government’s interest that it gets full information. If we hide facts from people, will the cases disappear?” he asked.

PM Imran said that it is his government’s main aim to think of the impoverished when taking important decisions. “We must not think only of the people residing in Defence or E-sector alone,” he said. “We should think about the people residing in katchi abadis as well,” he added.

The prime minister cited the example of the Muhajireen and the Ansars who helped each other at a time of crisis. This, he said, led Muslims to establish the State of Madinah which was a perfect example for other states to follow.

“I believe this is a trial from Allah and it is my faith that Pakistan will emerge stronger from this test,” he said. “Pakistan Paindabad.”

Overseas Pakistanis to be brought in a safe, transparent manner: Yusuf

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Security Moeed Yusuf said that the government was doing its utmost to bring back Pakistanis from abroad. “This week, we will be able to bring back 6,000 Pakistanis from abroad and in the coming week, an estimated 7,000 people,” he added. 

Yusuf said that in the coming weeks, commercial airlines will be allowed to fly stranded Pakistanis from abroad. He said that the government was doing its utmost to ensure that stranded Pakistans from abroad were brought back to the country safely. 

He said that among the 2,000 Pakistanis brought home from abroad, only 40 had tested positive for the coronavirus. Yusuf said that they had been quarantined and treated properly. He said that Pakistanis who will be brought from Afghanistan will be dealt with a uniform quarantine policy. He said that people from abroad will be kept in isolation for two days after which they will be tested for the virus and then other measures will be taken. 

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