For the first time ever Mr. Chaudary Sarwar the Governor of Punjab and the chairman of the board of governors Aitchison went live on our mothering blog Facebook page.
We asked all sorts of questions based on queries of mothers around the country who wish to obtain some clarity on issues only he could have answered. And we are glad he did! Not only was he a gentleman but was also patient and compassionate.
1. Is the government trying to hide the statistics? How bad is the situation?
Before anything else I would like to state that we are going through one of the worst times in history because of this pandemic, this virus is taking its toll but the Government is not trying to hide any information regarding Covid-19. We daily have statistics publicly announced of each province and city. We want people to know that they need to be careful and take precautions.
2. How is the government tackling this issue?
This is a disease that can’t be detected in the first few days and it spreads with contact as we don’t want it to spread any further. We have introduced a new task force entirely for this purpose but we think that this war can be won only if the public cooperates with the instructions given by the government. Orders like stay home will help prevent this disease from spreading further and are the only way to out of this crisis. This war can easily be won from home.
And as the Prime Minister has already stated earlier that we don’t have enough resources like hospitals and equipment to handle unlimited cases, we are prepared to handle if God forbid there are approx 20,000 to 25,000 cases.
3. As the lock down has been going on since some time and this is directly affecting small and medium sized business? How is the government planning to facilitate these people?
This is a very good and vital question. One war we have going on is with covid-19 and the other is with our poor destabilizing economy. Due to Covid-19 all industries big or small, shops, hotels, restaurants everything except hospitals are closed and our heart bleeds for the 12 million daily wagers who earn daily in order to make ends meet and now cannot because of the lockdown.
We have proposed a plan in which we are assigning the highest budget in the history of Pakistan which is more than 200 billion with which we intent to help the daily wagers for their survival in these hard hitting times. So the Pakistan government has planned to help 1 Crore 20 Lakh families by allotting them 12,000 rupees each through a program called “Ehsaas”. The Punjab government has also initiated a program by the name of “Insaaf Imdaad”. Where it will provide 4000 Rs to approximately 25 lakh families through easy paisa money transfer. We feel the pain of the
4. Some people are taking the lock down seriously and some are not! What is the government planning to do about that?
Yes you are right, however majority of the people are taking this virus seriously and are being responsible citizens however there are some foolish people who are being a hazard to not only themselves but to others as well. To keep a check on this we have situated police forces to main roads and city centers where they keep a check on people at different checkpoints. We are trying very hard to curb the curve however if people continue to be irresponsible we will have no option other than taking serious action.
5. How about the middle class people who work in private sectors like teachers and low tiered bankers, who won’t be able to survive more months of this lock down?
We are also looking into this matter as we know that most people can’t afford months of lockdown and there is a constant fear of being laid off. Keeping this in mind, in Punjab we are giving special concessions, tax reliefs and relief funds to help in this situation where we are providing 18,000 Rs for these affected families and they will be looked after.
6. Medical taskforce has been made in order to deal with the virus physically but why is there no psychological taskforce to help in counseling people?
Another excellent question I will share with you that I just had a discussion on this issue with a university chancellor where we planned to construct a center for this issue. And people who have psychological issues will be able to get concerned help and counseling on call.
7. Will the mosques remain open in this lockdown as Friday jummah prayers still on.
We have closed down all shops, hotels, institutes only so that we can fight this pandemic but it won’t be possible if people still keep going in crowds and don’t adhere to social distancing. The government is genuinely trying very hard to rise above covid-19 but we can’t do it without the help of all of you. Together we can overcome this epidemic. Inshallah.
I request all religious scholars to instruct the people to stay homes and cooperate with the government.
8. Till now doctors still don’t have n95 masks and similar equipment and precautions how is the government handling this?
Fortunately enough China has risen above this pandemic and timely enough we are working towards the solution with China who is willing to help us with these issues. PIA is helping with the transport of certain concerned cargo. We are definitely thinking and planning on solution for the betterment of the people.
9. Is the government going to help with rent relief for the people who live in rented homes?
Yes this issue is currently being discussed and will soon come up with a plan.
10. All flights are closed at the moment, will they remain closed?
This virus has spread due to people travelling in and out of countries and issues like this are looked on daily basis. A flight has recently flown to Toronto and back.
11. Keeping in mind that you are the chairman of the board of governors in Aitchison, will there be a relief in fees?
These issues are definitely going to be discussed in the board meeting. And the decision will be determined after a meeting with the Principle and the Aitchison board and we will look into it.