In order to lessen the financial difficulties faced by the people due to lockdown, Prime Minister Imran Khan said the government is set to gradually ease restrictions, adding that the volunteer Corona Relief Tiger Force will help ensure implementation of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) in every field of life.
“The objective of easing restrictions is to assist the people affected badly by the lockdown and those who have lost their jobs. But if we did not follow the SOPs, the situation of coronavirus in the country, which has come to a bit level, will turn very bad,” he said while addressing the Corona Relief Tiger Force volunteers here.
The prime minister said since the purpose of creating Corona Relief Tiger Force is to help people in this difficult situation, they should play their role in creating public awareness about the dangers of Covid-19 and guide them about the SOPs, including social distancing in mosques, shops, factories, etc. He said the biggest challenge in this difficult situation is to create balance in a way that the people can be saved from Covid-19 and the wheels of economy can also be run again by easing lockdown restrictions.
The prime minister told the Tiger Force members that as they are volunteers, they will not be getting any salaries or benefits and will be doing a `Jihad’ by working in aid of the district administration and supplementing their efforts. He said the Corona Relief Tiger Force, besides creating awareness among the public about the Covid-19, will also help the people unemployed due to the coronavirus lockdown in getting registered at the Ehsaas web portal through special digital desks being set up at the union council levels. The registered unemployed people, after filtration of their credentials from the Ehsaas database, will be provided with the cash assistance, he added.
The prime minister urged the Tiger Force volunteers to also keep an eye on those engaged in hoarding, particularly of food items, and if they find any such activity, they must provide information to the district administration for further action. “You don’t have to take any action against anyone on your own. You have to inform the administration,” he said, and added that as hoarding is illegal and pushes price hike, it is the duty of the administration to check such activities. He also asked the Tiger Force to keep visiting the utility stores across the country to ensure social distancing and also have check on the availability of essential items at the USC outlets as well as their working.
Recalling the creation of a tiger force by him during his cricket era for raising funds for the construction of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital, the prime minister said the force had contributed a lot in the establishment of the cancer hospital, which is now providing free of charge treatment to 75% of cancer patients.
He also urged the people from district administration to co-opt the Corona Relief Tiger Force and take them along by encouraging them in their voluntary services. Separately, Prime Minister Imran Khan urged upon the members of national and provincial assemblies to provide relief to public in difficult situation of coronavirus and also encourage them to adopt precautions to contain the spread of pandemic.
In an address to the public representatives through a video call, he said in view of the ground realities, particularly economic conditions and problems of common men, the government has decided to gradually ease lockdown in the coming days.
Imran Khan asked MNAs and MPAs to be more cognizant about implementation of the comprehensive standard operating procedures (SOPs) formulated to ensure the safety of general public against the virus. He said the government is firm on providing utmost relief to the people and has recently announced a financial package of Rs 1.25 trillion to mitigate their sufferings. He said distribution of Rs 12,000 financial assistance to each deserving family is being carried out in a transparent and merit-based way. Also, a special programme for providing relief to labourers and workers has been launched, he added.
The prime minister asked the elected representatives to ensure that needy people in their constituencies benefit from the government’s relief package. He lauded the spirit of people from the all walks of life to join Corona Relief Tiger Force with an aim to provide relief to the masses. He mentioned that terms of reference have been devised to utilize the services of one million volunteers to assist provincial administration in relief work besides updating it about situation of stock availability of basic commodities at the utility stores.