Criticising the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) for its insistence on holding a rally despite rising coronavirus cases in Peshawar, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday accused opposition leaders of “playing reckless politics with people’s safety”.
“The same PDM members who wanted a strict lockdown and criticised me earlier are now playing reckless politics with people’s safety,” the premier tweeted early Saturday.
“They are even defying court orders and holding a jalsa when [coronavirus] cases are rising dramatically,” he added.
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
The premier’s tweet was in response to a tweet of Federal Minister for Planning, Development, Reforms and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, who stated that Covid-19 positivity ratio was 13.39 per cent 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 Centre (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,” Asad stated.
Soon after the premier and planning minister’s tweet, several other ministers condemned Pakistan Democratic Movement (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.
“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
Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed, tried to highlight 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”.
Rasheed 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
It may be mentioned here that the PDM is insisting on holding a rally in Peshawar despite Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government’s refusal to grant permission for a public meeting planned due to the rising number of coronavirus cases in the country.
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”.
The letter went on to say that in order to “safeguard human lives [from the] potential spread of Covid-19”, the public gathering cannot be allowed to take place.
However, the opposition vowed to defy the ban, warning the district administration that use of force to stop the protesting citizens could spark street battles.
It is pertinent to mention that PM Imran had urged the nation on Monday to strictly adhere to the health guidelines to curtail the transmission of the contagion disease and announced new restrictions on public events, including the suspension of his party’s political rallies.
“We have cancelled our jalsas and will ask other [parties] to do the same because that is one place where the virus spreads rapidly,” he said, adding that the recent campaigns in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) seem to have resulted in a rise in the number of cases.
“This is the time to take precautions. If we do [adopt restrictions], we can slow down the virus. Just like earlier we were saved due to following precautions, that time has come again,” the prime minister had said in a televised address.