ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan and several key federal ministers criticised on Saturday the newly-formed alliance of the opposition parties against the government – Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) – for allegedly playing with the lives of common people by defying a government ban on its public gathering in Peshawar amid the second wave of the coronavirus.
The prime minister accused the opposition parties of playing reckless politics with people’s safety, saying earlier the opposition had favored a stricter lockdown but they were now defying court orders and holding a rally when Covid-19 cases were on the rise.
“The same PDM members who had wanted a strict lockdown and criticised me earlier [are] now playing reckless politics with people’s safety,” said the premier.
“They are even defying court orders and holding a jalsa when cases are rising dramatically,” he said.
The same PDM mbrs who had wanted a strict lockdown and criticised me earlier now playing reckless politics with people's safety. They are even defying court orders & holding a jalsa when cases are rising dramatically. https://t.co/nc9KAN0Ihg
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) November 21, 2020
PM Imran’s tweet came in response to a tweet of the Federal Minister for Planning, Development, Reforms and Special Initiatives, Asad Umar, who stated that Covid-19 positivity ratio was 13.39 percent on Friday in Peshawar; total 202 patients were in critical condition and out of those 50 were on low flow oxygen, 134 on high flow and 18 on ventilators.
The planning minister, who also heads the National Control and Command Center (NCOC) – the nerve center to synergise and articulate unified national effort against Covid-19 and implement the decisions of the National Coordination Committee –, stated that 14 new critical patients came on Friday. “PDM response: we will be safe on the stage so who cares what happens to citizens,” Umar stated
Peshawar covid positivity ratio 13.39% yesterday. Patients in critical care: 202. Of these 50 on low flow oxygen, 134 on high flow and 18 on ventilators. 14 new critical patients just yesterday. PDM response : we will be safe on the stage so who cares what happens to citizens
— Asad Umar (@Asad_Umar) November 21, 2020
Soon after the premier and planning minister’s tweet, several other ministers condemned PDM for declaring that rallies across the country will be held as PDM planned until the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government is removed.
“The attitude of the opposition is dangerous. Playing with the lives of the people is not a joke,” the Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry tweeted.
Though condolences poured in from every part of the country, including prime minister, president and several ministers, on the demise of Tehreek-e-Labbaik chief Allama Khadim Rizvi, the science minister did not hesitate to slam the religious political party for becoming a cause in spreading coronavirus.
“Tehreek-e-Labbaik also left no stone unturned in making a time bomb of the whole of Lahore and now PPP and PML-N will wreak havoc from Multan to Peshawar,” Chaudhry stated.
اپوزیشن کا رویہ خطرناک ہے، لوگوں کی زندگی کے ساتھ کھیلنا مذاق نہیں تحریک لبیک نے بھی پورے لاہور کو کرونا کا ٹائم بم بنانے میں کوئ کثر نہیں چھوڑی اور اب پشاور سے ملتان پیپلز پارٹی اور نون لیگ حشر بپا کریں گی۔ https://t.co/lgA4mRldTc
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) November 21, 2020
Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Haider Zaidi said it was the “height of hypocrisy and irresponsibility” that the PDM was insisting on holding rallies when “Covid-19 cases are rising throughout the country”.
“Earlier, these clowns wanted to shut down everything but now [they are] taking a Trumpian view by ignoring ground realities!”
Height of hypocrisy & irresponsibility by PDM insisting upon holding jalsas while Covid-19 cases are rising throughout the country. Earlier, these clowns wanted to shut down everything but now taking a Trumpian view by ignoring ground realities!
— Ali Haider Zaidi (@AliHZaidiPTI) November 21, 2020
Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari said it was sad how the PDM was playing “dangerous politics with the people’s lives by insisting on continuing their rallies”.
“When the government was doing smart lockdowns, the same PDM leaders were attacking the government and demanding a complete lockdown.
“But clearly holding jalsas in a desperate attempt to protect their corruption through pressuring for NRO is far more important than preventing exposure of people to Covid-19. They place little value on the lives of ordinary Pakistanis,” she said.
But clearly holding jalsas in a desperate attempt to protect their corruption through pressuring for a NRO is far more important than preventing exposure of people to the deadly COVID 19. They place little value on the lives of ordinary Pakistanis.
— Shireen Mazari (@ShireenMazari1) November 21, 2020
In his message to the nation, the Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid, tried to highlight that double standards of the opposition parties by saying that “respect the vote but let the voter die from the corona is our [oppositions’] double standard”.
Rashid maintained that “they [opposition parties] do not care if the foundations of the country are shaken by corona because their children and blood relatives are out of the country and the child of the poor is needed for sacrifice.”
قوم کے نام میرا پیغام
ووٹ کو عزت دو! لیکن ووٹر کو کرونا سے مرنے دو یہ ہے ہمارا دوہرا معیار
کرونا سے ملک کی بنیادیں ہل جائے انہیں کوئی فرق نہیں پڑتا کیونکہ ان کی اولادیں اور خونی رشتے دار ملک سے باہر ہیں اور غریب کا بچہ قربانی کے لیے انہیں درکار ہے.
— Sheikh Rashid Ahmed (@ShkhRasheed) November 21, 2020
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz threatened the opposition parties with legal action, saying that FIR will be registered against the opposition leaders and organisers of the rallies for playing with the lives of people.
In his tweet, the government’s spokesperson stated, “playing with the health and lives of the people for personal gain is the biggest selfishness. In case of increase in cases in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, an FIR will be registered against the opposition leaders and organisers of the rallies.”
ذاتی مفاد کے لئے عوام کی صحت اور زندگیوں سے کھیلنا سب سے بڑی خود غرضی ہے۔خیبر پختونخوا میں کیسز بڑھنے کی صورت اپوزیشن راہنماؤں اور جلسوں کے منتظمین پر ایف آئی آر درج کرائی جائے گی۔
— Senator Shibli Faraz (@shiblifaraz) November 21, 2020
A day earlier, Peshawar’s deputy commissioner had refused to grant permission for the PDM’s public meeting, citing the rising spread of the novel coronavirus in the district.
A letter issued by the DC’s office had noted that the coronavirus positivity rate in Peshawar district had exceeded 13 per cent, adding that a public gathering was “likely to further increase the spread of the life-threatening virus”.