COVID-19: Pakistan army sets up testing labs at all its major hospitals

In this file photo, patients are being treated at Pakistan army medical camp in Karachi on July 2, 2015. (AFP)
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Updated 18 March 2020

COVID-19: Pakistan army sets up testing labs at all its major hospitals

  • Army chief directs military commanders to take necessary steps to assist government in tackling outbreak
  • All medical facilities of the army operationalized and geared up to meet any eventuality, military’s media wing says

ISLAMABAD: The media wing of the Pakistan army said on Tuesday that coronavirus testing labs had been established at major military hospitals across the country, with a central facility set up in Rawalpindi.
Health officials have said 195 people have tested positive in Pakistan so far.
Pakistan Army Chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, has directed all military commanders to take necessary steps to assist the country’s civil administration in tackling the coronavirus pandemic, the military's media wing said in a statement.
“As part of the national effort and in line with the decisions of the National Security Committee taken on 13 March, all medical facilities of the armed forces are operationalized and geared up to meet any eventuality to deal with the pandemic,” the statement said.
It added that testing labs had been established at main army hospitals across the country and a central testing lab set up at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Rawalpindi.
“The armed forces of Pakistan are fully involved in assisting the government and provincial administrations to tackle the situation since the outbreak and duly vigilant of the developing situation [since the emergence of] COVID-19,” the military statement said.


Pakistan to establish 18 markets on Afghanistan, Iran borders to boost trade, curb smuggling

Updated 18 September 2020

Pakistan to establish 18 markets on Afghanistan, Iran borders to boost trade, curb smuggling

  • Under the plan, the government will set up 12 markets along the border with Afghanistan and six along the Iran frontier
  • Prime minister approves setting up two border markets in Balochistan and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by February next year

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan government has decided to set up markets along its borders with neighboring Afghanistan and Iran to boost trade opportunities, foster peace and check smuggling, the commerce ministry said on Friday.
Main crossing point into Pakistan for both goods and people from Iran and Afghan also serve as major smuggling routes.
“The border markets will help create job opportunities and establish a peaceful relationship with the neighboring countries,” Aisha Humera Moriani, joint-secretary at the Ministry of Commerce, told Arab News.
Under the plan, the government is establishing 18 markets: 12 along the border with Afghanistan and six along the Iran frontier.
In a meeting on Thursday, Prime Minister Imran Khan approved setting up two border markets in Balochistan and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province as a pilot project, to be functional by February next year.
Moriani said the markets would contribute to local development and help the government address “smuggling and boost legal trade across the border.”
Pakistan is fencing its borders with Afghanistan and Iran to check cross-border militancy, illegal movement of people and smuggling, which is a major source of income for people living along border towns and villages.
Sardar Shoukat Popalzai, President Balochistan Economic Forum, said the government should have built “common markets” along the Afghanistan and Iran borders with the mutual consent of the neighboring governments to maximize benefits for people on both sides of the borders.
“The government has not released a feasibility report, if there is any, of these markets as to how are they going to help the local population,” he told Arab News.
Popalzai said Balochistan border areas were sparsely populated and establishment of a few shopping terminals would “hardly make any difference in the lives of the people.”
He said cross-border smuggling was a major source of income for people living in the frontier areas of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, so “this requires a lot more effort than mere setting up of markets to check this undocumented economy.”
Zubair Motiwala, chairman of the Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the government should establish cold storages and warehouses in the border markets to boost the export of perishable and other items to the neighboring countries.
“The taxation system on the exports and imports of different items through the land routes should be well defined to encourage businessmen and locals to boost the legal trade with Afghanistan and Iran,” he said.