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Govt considering ‘smart’ lockdown to fight Covid-19, poverty: Imran Khan

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that his administration is considering enforcement of a smart lockdown in Pakistan to fight the coronavirus as well as to provide relief to low-income groups.

The PM was speaking at Ehsaas Telethon being simultaneously telecast by the PTV and private TV Channels for raising funds to fight the COVID-19.

Khan said the PTI government had announced massive historic relief package for poor families with an objective to reduce miseries of the masses amid a lockdown imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Terming the Ehsaas Cash Emergency Programme as transparent and merit-based, he said cash assistance worth 12,000 rupees is being distributed among 5.437 million beneficiaries across the country.

He said the government allocated 144 billion rupees for poor segments of society under Ehsaas Cash Emergency Programme.

Khan said entire world is struggling against Coronavirus which has emerged as the major global issue. He said the lockdown adversely affected the world economy, resulting in growing poverty across the globe, especially in developing countries like Pakistan.

He said the government is mulling the option of imposing smart lockdown in the country to wisely provide relief to labour class, daily wagers & lower-middle strata of society.

The PM said imposition of ‘balanced and smart lockdown’ on the pattern of western countries will be an effective and viable option under prevailing situation in the country.

He made it clear that an “indefinite lockdown” is not an option and any decision regarding a smart lockdown should be for “all Pakistanis and not just the elite”.

Imran Khan said lockdown in India and Singapore badly affected the poor people, and now countries like the United States, are also thinking to impose ‘smart lockdown’ despite deaths of over 40,000 citizens.

The prime minister expressed the confidence that the government will take further decisions in consultations with all stakeholders to resolve issues being faced by the people living below the poverty line.

He said the government prepared a comprehensive roadmap for holy month of Ramazan by taking all religious scholars and Ulema on board.  He, however, warned that the government will come into action, if any one resorts to violate the 20-point standard operating procedures to prevent spread of the virus during Ramazan.

The prime minister warned that the next three to four weeks can be critical for Pakistan in terms of coronavirus infections and deaths.

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