Pakistan’s virus deaths cross 2,000 mark

A food delivery boy walks past a hotel gate painted with Pakistan's national flag on a street in Rawalpindi on June 6, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 07 June 2020

Pakistan’s virus deaths cross 2,000 mark

  • Country is also pushing toward 100,000 confirmed infections
  • Medical professionals have pleaded for more controls and greater enforcement of social distancing directives

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan passed another grim milestone as the number of deaths from COVID-19 crossed the 2,000 mark on Sunday.
Pakistan is also pushing toward 100,000 confirmed infections as Prime Minister Imran Khan warned the country’s 220 million people in televised speeches that they are going to have to learn to live with the virus.
He said the country is too poor to go into a full lockdown, which he warned would devastate a failing economy, already dependent on billions of dollars in loans from international lending institutions.
Pakistan’s medical professionals have pleaded for more controls and greater enforcement of social distancing directives. They’re infuriated that Khan’s government bowed to the radical religious right to keep open mosques, which have been one of the leading causes of the spikes in infections.
To try to stem the spread of the virus, the government has ordered markets closed on weekends and inspections have been stepped up in some areas where clusters have emerged, quarantining entire neighborhoods.
Pakistan has some 3,000 ICU beds, and while the demands are increasing, nearly 25% are still available.


Government, PTM moving toward 'short-term arrangement,' experts say

Updated 2 min 10 sec ago

Government, PTM moving toward 'short-term arrangement,' experts say

  • The group’s leaders were booked in May last year for allegedly attacking a military checkpoint in North Waziristan
  • Analysts say PTM can emerge as a political force in tribal region if it shuns policy of confrontation with state institutions

ISLAMABAD: Two lawmakers from the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) are going to approach the Peshawar High Court next week to have a criminal case against them quashed, following recent moves by the government which experts say indicate attempts at a “short-term arrangement” to end confrontation with PTM.
Last month, Defense Minister Pervaiz Khattak invited PTM to discuss “all the contentious issues” for the sake of the development of Pashtun-dominated Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.A few weeks earlier, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa administration requested an antiterrorism court to withdraw the case it filed against PTM leaders Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir in May last year.
“The government has the authority to withdraw the case, after which the accused will be considered exonerated in the case,” Abdul Latif Afridi, senior lawyer representing the two members of the National Assembly, told Arab News on Saturday.
Afridi confirmed that the provincial government requested the case withdrawal in March, but the antiterrorism court in Abbottabad had yet to decide on it. In the case, Dawar and Wazir were accused of an attack at a military checkpoint at Kharqamar in North Waziristan, in which at least 13 people were killed and multiple injured.
“This is like a hanging sword to my clients … I’ve discussed the development with my clients, and we’ll be moving Peshawar High Court next week to get this case quashed,” he said, adding that the court was legally bound to exonerate his clients after the government’s application.
The PTM emerged as a rights movement for the country’s Pashtun population in February 2018. Its leaders and supporters have faced numerous police reports and court cases for allegedly inciting people against the state institutions including the armed forces.
Political analysts are of the view that the recent developments indicate that the government and PTM leaders are moving toward a “short-term arrangement” to put an end to confrontation and address concerns of Pashtuns.
“The PTM is a genuine political movement led and supported by the youth, therefore it can’t be suppressed through state force or violence,” Qamar Cheema, political and security analyst, told Arab News.
He said that Pashtun nationalism had always been a problem for the state for its unique geographical location and closeness with the troubled Afghanistan
“The PTM should focus on getting genuine grievances of the Pashtuns addressed by shunning confrontation with the state,” he said, “The group could emerge as a political force in the region, provided it broadens its canvass.”