Monday, April 6, 2020

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#Balochistan: Doctors demand PPE, government beats them up and puts them behind bars

The Young Doctors Association (YDA) Balochistan on Monday organised a peaceful protest in front of the CM house in Quetta – capital of Balochistan over lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for doctors and other health workers.
A large number of doctors and other health workers took to streets holding placards inscribed with slogans against the provincial government and demanding protect gear to fight against Coronavirus.
The CM on the other hand, instead of resolving the issue peacefully send the ‘anti riot’ police armed with rifles and batons to break the protest.
Socail media activists and journalist who witness the police brutality against the doctors have posted video footages and picture where the police can be clearly been thrashing the doctors and paramedics.
The activists also stormed Twitter using hashtag #ProtectDoctorsOfBalochistan to share the information about protest and urged all concern quarters to take notice of provincial government failure and police violence against peaceful protesters.
Dr Abdul Rahim Babar, a spokesman for the Young Doctors Association (YDA) said the failure to supply safety gear to doctors and medical staff is putting their lives at risk.
“A dozen doctors have been infected while other medical staff is also suffering,” Rahim said. He added that a number of protesters were injured in the incident during today’s police attack.
However, a spokesman for the provincial government said that the doctors protesting were not the ones who are fighting the virus, adding hospitals in Quetta had been provided protective gear.
“The doctors protesting don’t look after coronavirus patients; we don’t understand their justification for protesting,” Balochistan government spokesman Liquat Shahwani said.
Pakistan has reported over 3,200 coronavirus cases so far, including 50 deaths. As many as 191 of these cases have been confirmed in Balochistan province, of which Quetta is the capital.
“Yes, police arrested dozens of protesting doctors today,” Quetta Deputy Inspector General of Police Razzaq Cheema said, according to Dawn, while denying allegations of the police using force against the protestors. He added that “a scuffle broke out after the medics tried to cross barricades near the Red Zone”.
On Saturday the Balochistan government suspended 44 doctors over ‘failure to join duty in Taftan’ during the coronavirus outbreak in the province.
Provincial government Focal Person for Coronavirus Prevention Umair Hasni announced this during a press conference at Deputy Commissioner office in Dalbandin.
Government had suspended 12 doctors earlier over their failure to report for duty.
Besides, it will ensure strict action against doctors who refuse to render services during the health emergency,” said Hasni, adding coronavirus patients needed the care of medics in Taftan. Hasni apprised journalists about a container town established in Taftan which had the capacity to accommodate 600 pilgrims returning from Iran for quarantine.Meanwhile, the Amnesty International (South Asia) have demanded for the immediate release of detained doctors and said they must be provided with the protection and support they need.
The Amnesty also said in their brief twitter message, ‘Their arrests in Balochistan today are an attack on their right to peaceful protest and affront to the risk they face.’

Bilawal Bhutto condemn arrest of doctors in Quetta

Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has reacted to the baton charge and arrest of doctors in Quetta and said that the demand for protective kits has led to government bullying of doctors in Quetta.
In his statement, Bilawal Bhutto said, “Instead of giving doctors a security kits government is sending them to jail.”
Bilawal Bhutto further said that the PTI government is making human rights threats by making arrests on legitimate demands. Doctors are fighting from the  frontline against the Coronavirus pandemic.
It is pertinent to mention here that Police in Quetta has arrested more than 30 doctors and medical staff protesting against a lack of protective gear provided to them.
The young doctors and paramedical staff arrested after they refused to end their sit-in in the city’s security zone.
During the protests, police and demonstrating medical staff resorted to scuffling as well.
Police said that the medical staff arrested due to the violation of Section 144 and now sent to different police stations.
The incident came in the backdrop of more than a dozen doctors contracting the virus reportedly while discharging their duties.

#ResignChorImranKhan - Opinion in #PTI divided on sugar crisis report

Leaders of the ruling party seem to be having different opinions about the inquiry committee’s report on the sugar crisis in the country.The report, which was made public on Saturday, termed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s decision to allow export of sugar unjustified as it caused a 30% increase in its price.
“The exporters of sugar gained benefit in two ways: first they were able to gain subsidy and secondly, they made profit from the increasing sugar prices in the local market,” according to the inquiry committee, led by the director general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA)
The committee report revealed that former PTI secretary general Jahangir Khan Tareen and Federal Minister for National Food Security
Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar were among the main beneficiaries. The supporters of Tareen believe that the report is aimed at defaming the former secretary general but would not bear any legal consequences.
They wonder why Prime Minister Imran Khan had not made the inquiry report against then health minister Amir Mehmood Kiyani public.
Kiyani had been removed from his office last year due to a controversy over increase in the prices of medicines.
They also allege that a certain group close to the premier was busy lobbying against Tareen.
Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar and PM Secretary Azam Khan, both close to the premier, have been vocal critics of Tareen.
Political analysts are of the view that PM Imran’s decision to make the report public is a message to the influential including the Chaudhrys, Tareen and the powerful who are insisting that the premier replace the Punjab chief minister and take decisions on several other matters in their favour.Commenting on the issue, ruling party’s chief organiser Saifullah Niazi stated on his Twitter handle that the sugar mafia is threatening the premier that the price would go up to Rs110 per kilo if the inquiry was not stopped.He cautioned the mafia against tax evasion, cartelisation and utilisation of subsidies for personal gains saying these measures were against the ideology of PTI.
He urged them to take corrective measures or otherwise their mills could be confiscated.
Niazi declared that the premier had taken an unprecedented step by bringing out the report.
On the other hand, PTI senior leader Ishaq Khan Khakwani has been defending the release of hefty subsidy to the sugar mills owners.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Khakwani observed that granting subsidy was a practice of the federal or provincial government for a particular sector, industry or crop and not for an individual.
Khakwani noted that regimes in the past had given subsidies on gas, fertilizser, petrol, electricity, agriculture and other sectors.
He maintained it was routine matter where one got more than the other based on the volume of the output as was in the case of sugar industry.
“As sugar production and its price directly impact the farming community, the governments at national and provincial level move to save the rural economy,” he said.
Decision to provide subsidy therefore can easily become a political issue when governments change,” he added.
The PTI leader was of the opinion that in the present case, all depended on the terms of reference on the basis of which the inquiry was conducted.

#ResignChorImranKhan - Fears of massive Pakistan #coronavirus outbreak after 100,000 attended Lahore religious gathering

  • At least 154 worshippers who went to last month’s gathering have tested positive, with two fatalities to date
  • Foreign nationals came from countries including China, Indonesia and Nigeria
  • Pakistan
     has quarantined 20,000 worshippers and is still searching for tens of thousands more who attended an Islamic gathering in Lahore last month despite the worsening coronavirus pandemic.
    Authorities said they want to test or quarantine those who congregated at the event held by the Tablighi Jamaat – an Islamic missionary movement – between March 10-12 over fears they are now spreading Covid-19 across Pakistan and overseas.
    More than 100,000 people went to the meeting, organisers said, undeterred by government requests for it to be cancelled as the virus hit the country.
    In northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, authorities have so far quarantined 5,300 Tablighis or Islamic preachers who attended the Lahore meeting.
    “Health officials are conducting tests for coronavirus and some of them have tested positive,” Ajmal Wazir, a spokesman for the region, said on Sunday.
    Wazir said thousands of Tablighis from his province were stranded in other regions because of the closure of major motorways across the country.
    About 7,000 have been quarantined in the central Punjab city Lahore, while in southern Sindh province up to 8,000 Tablighis have been quarantined, government officials said.
  • Dozens more have been forced to self-isolate in southwestern Balochistan province.
  • The Tablighi mosques and the movement’s other places of worship were shut down or marked as quarantine centres at the end of March.
    At least 154 worshippers who went to last month’s Jamaat had tested positive for coronavirus, with two fatalities, authorities said.
  • Coronavirus has killed at least 45 people in Pakistan but with only limited testing available, observers worry the number is far higher.
    Tablighi Jamaat is considered one of the world’s largest faith-based movements, with millions of followers, particularly in South Asia, and sends preachers to countries to spread Islam’s ideas.
    Numerous foreign nationals attended this year from countries including 
    , Nigeria and 
    , organisers said.
  • About 1,500 foreigners are now quarantined in Pakistan, but others left the country without being tested.
    Gaza’s health ministry confirmed last month its first two cases of coronavirus were Palestinians who had attended the gathering.

#Covid-19 cases in Pakistan reach 3,278, death toll rises to 50

According to Pakistan Health Ministry, Punjab registered the maximum of COVID-19 cases at 1,493, followed by Sindh with 881.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Pakistan reached 3,278 on Monday as health authorities in the country scramble to contain the spread of the lethal disease by appealing to the public to remain inside their homes, after many of them were seen flouting government orders and roaming on the streets.
The health ministry, showing a break-up of the figures of each province, posted on its dedicated website and showed that Punjab registered a maximum of 1,493 cases, followed by Sindh with 881, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with 405, Geo News reported. Balochistan reported 191 cases, Gilgit-Baltistan 210 cases, capital Islamabad 82 cases and 15 in Pakistan-occupied Kashmi, respectively.
So far, 50 people died due to the disease.
Despite reiterating emergency measures, there was little impact on the masses. In several cities, people were seen roaming out while security officials were trying to convince them to go back to their homes.
In many places, Islamic religious clerics were also seen addressing a gathering irrespective of the fact that religious congregation has been restricted by the government in view of the rapidly spreading contagion.