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BNP-M chief Akhtar Mengal cautions PM about Balochistan govt's failures in coronavirus response

Web Desk
April 09, 2020

There are no testing kits or health facilities available in Quetta, so one can imagine the situation in the interior, Mengal says

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Sardar Akhtar Mengal, chief of the Mengal faction of the Balochistan National Party and an ally of the PTI at the Centre, on Thursday said that the Balochistan government had given Prime Minister Imran Khan "a complete false impression" during his visit to Quetta's Bolan Medical College.

The prime minister had today visited a quarantine centre at the hospital where he was briefed by the provincial chief secretary about facilities provided to patients.

He was also briefed about the steps authorities have taken to stem the virus's spread in the province.

Following his visit to Quetta, the prime minister pledged all possible assistance and resources to the province.

Mengal, however, via a statement on Twitter, sought to warn the prime minister to not be misled by the government of Balochistan, which is chiefly ruled by the Balochistan Awami Party.

"On ground, there is absolutely nothing," Mengal said in his tweet. "There are no testing kits or health facilities available in Quetta, so one could imagine the situation in the interior."

He alleged that the Balochistan government "has been completely negligent and is completely responsible for the spread of [COVID-19] throughout Pakistan".

Mengal's party, though an ally of the PTI at the Centre, is in the opposition in the provincial government.

Balochistan has currently reported 213 cases of the coronavirus and two deaths.

Doctors protest against non-availability of equipment

The historically neglected province saw protests erupt on Monday by frontline health workers who said they were not provided personal protective equipment while treating coronavirus patients.

More than 150 doctors and paramedics were arrested after clashes with police, who resorted to baton charging the demonstrators.

Following their colleagues' arrests, doctors announced a boycott of services. The boycott was withdrawn on Wednesday after the government assured doctors that their needs would be met.

Balochistan government spokesperson Liquat Shahwani had claimed at the time of the protests that the government had provided all necessary medical equipment to medical staff, with the exception of goggles, which were substituted by face shields.

He said that the required items are "also in limited quantity in China", adding that whatever new supplies are received will be distributed among the medical staff.

Shahwani had also claimed that more than 50,000 N-95 masks from NDMA had been distributed to doctors.


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