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Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced that the government has set aside Rs200 billion for laborers who will face unprecedented problems following countrywide lockdowns to control the spread of the coronavirus.
“In many countries a curfew has already been placed. Had I been in Italy or France, I would have no qualms in placing a curfew. When I think of Pakistan, I think of how we will get food to the people.”
Talking about the decision by the provincial governments have taken to impose lockdowns in their individual provinces, the premier said: “In Pakistan unfortunately decisions are always made keeping in mind the elite.”
“When I place a curfew do I ever think of squatter settlements where there are 8-10 people living in a single room?
“And this is a curfew which is not a normal curfew where you can come out to buy groceries from the marketplace in the evening. Here, if you allow such a thing, it will defeat the purpose of the exercise.”
He asked whether Pakistan is capable of imposing such decision while also guaranteeing the supply of food to the deprived sections of society.
“Have we thought of what effect a curfew will have on transport? How will hospitals get their supplies?”
He said these were all considerations that should be taken before such moves are made.