QUETTA: The Balochistan government and opposition parties have decided to jointly distribute ration and other assistance among the poor and needy people who were facing serious difficulties in earning their livelihood due the lockdown imposed in Balochistan to control the spread of coronavirus.
Members of opposition parties in the Balochistan Assembly headed by Leader of the Opposition Advocate Sikandar Khan met Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani here on Friday.
Former chief minister Aslam Raisani was also present on the occasion.
Sources said that the chief minister informed the opposition members about the measures taken by his government to save the people from coronavirus in the province.
The chief minister took the opposition members into confidence about the programme for providing assistance to jobless daily wage earners and other deserving people.
Mr Alyani and the opposition members, including Naseer Ahmed Shahwani of the Balochistan National Party-Mengal, Abdul Wahid Siddique of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, decided to work jointly against the coronavirus pandemic which has infected a large number of people across the country.
Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, Chief Minister Alyani and opposition leader Sikandar Khan said that the government and opposition were on the same page on the issue of relief programme to help the poor people who have been rendered jobless after the lockdown was enforced in the province.
Mr Alyani said the Covid-19 outbreak was not an issue of a particular political party or the nation, but it was problem for the whole world as the deadly virus was rapidly spreading across the globe “so we have to show unity in the fight against it”.
He said his government had decided to include poor families who were not listed in the Benazir Income Support Programme to provide them financial assistance.
Both the chief minister and the opposition leaders were of the view that it wouldn’t be an easy task for a country, like Pakistan, to face such a crisis. Countries which had strong economies and huge recourses were unable to control the spread of coronavirus, therefore, both the government and the opposition would have to play their roles for providing the poor people healthcare facilities and food items under available resources.
The opposition leader stressed the need for making collective efforts against Covid-19 in Balochistan and said the provincial government must ensure provision of safety kits and equipment to doctors, nurses and other health workers who had been performing their duties in Sheikh Zahid Hospital.
He said opposition parties would fully cooperate with the government in distribution of food and other assistance to the needy people.
In reply to a query regarding lack of safety kits and equipment for doctors and paramedical staff in the province, the chief minister promised to resolve the issue.
“Our doctors, nurses, and other health staff have been battling Covid-19 on the frontline,” he said.
Published in Dawn, April 5th, 2020