President Arif Alvi praised the government on Thursday for containing the spread of coronavirus, saying its strategy helped people in testing times.
“There was a pressure to impose a total lockdown in the country,” said President Alvi, while addressing a joint session of the parliament. “[But the government decided] we will not let poor people die of hunger.”
The president said that at least 57 Muslim countries had suspended prayers in mosques, but people in Pakistan offered prayers in mosques.
The government deserves to be appreciated for its steps against coronavirus, according to the president. “I congratulate the NCOC, NDMA and the prime minister for withstanding pressure and remaining firm on their stance,” he said, referring to the government’s decision not to impose a complete lockdown.
President Alvi appreciated the media for urging people to adopt precautionary measures against coronavirus. Japan and Philippines said they needed to learn from Pakistan to counter the threat of coronavirus, he noted.
Commenting on the government’s Eshaas Programme, the president said Rs12,000 each were given to 15.9 million people during the coronavirus crisis. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sehat Sahulat Card covers 100 percent medical expenses, he said.
The government gave 50,000 scholarships to university students in the last year alone, according to President Alvi. He claimed that in the past 17 years, students were given only 23,000 scholarships.
“Despite coronavirus, our economy is improving,” the president said, adding that the country’s current account deficit had dropped down to $3 billion from $20 billion.
“Your policies are working and your policies are good,” he told government functionaries.
However, President Alvi requested the government to speed up the process of giving voting rights to overseas Pakistanis. They should be able to cast their votes in the 2023 elections, he said.
He lauded Prime Minister Imran Khan for his government’s efforts to highlight Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir. The whole country had unanimously rejected the Indian move to revoke the valley’s autonomous status, he said.
PM Khan was uniting the nation in Pakistan, while the Indian government was isolating minorities in its country, the president said.
“Kashmir will be soon freed from Indian occupation,” President Alvi said. He thanked Turkey, Malaysia, Iran, Azerbaijan and other countries for supporting Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir.
The president also praised PM Khan for his categorical denial to accept Israel.