DG ISPR says Pakistan cannot afford ‘indefinite lockdown’ Information ministry, ISPR to deal with media over coronavirus: Awan

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STAFF REPORTER ISLAMABAD The country cannot afford an ‘indefinite lockdown’, DG ISPR Major General Babar Iftikhar said Friday. “We cannot afford an indefinite lockdown,” he said, speaking at a press conference alongside SAPM Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan. “We will have to keep our essential services functioning as well.” Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar thanked the media for reporting objectively on the coronavirus pandemic, saying that he had no hesitation in admitting that the state will require cooperation from the media to battle the virus. The military’s media spokesperson paid tribute to the doctors, health workers and medical staff that was at the forefront in the battle against the coronavirus. “I pay special tribute to doctors, paramedics, security personnel, on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19 virus. I also thank ulema for their role,” he said. The DG ISPR briefed media about the NCOC, saying that it was headed by Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar. He said that the NCOC serves as a nerve centre “to collate and analyse information received from provinces, after which recommendations are made to National Command Centre” so that the country’s top political leadership can take timely decisions. The DG ISPR said that the NCOC was a ‘one-window operation’ where under one roof, important ministries and provinces had representation. “Here, all sorts of information is received and is forwarded,” he said. The military’s media spokesperson said that it was of the utmost importance that the masses cooperated with the state by staying inside their homes. “As a good Muslim, it is one of our most important responsibilities to keep others safe as well,” he said. “You can do this by staying inside your houses. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan said on Friday that the information ministry, along with Director General Inter-services Public Relations (DG ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar would coordinate and brief the media on the coronavirus situation. She made these remarks during a joint press conference with the DG ISPR in Islamabad to brief the media about decisions taken by the premier during the National Coordination Committee (NCC) meeting earlier in the day

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