The PPP Parliamentary Leader, Sherry Rehman has urged arrangements for an online session as well as the regular session of standing committees.
In a statement she said that Parliament’s urgent role of scrutinizing government, authorizing spending, making laws, and providing leadership during difficult times must be upheld. She said, “While Pakistan faces a risk of increased cases and casualties, the federal government’s decision-making, effectiveness of lockdowns as well as its health and economic policies remain questionable.
The need for a consensus on effectively managing this state of emergency is greater than ever. The Senate of Pakistan, while ensuring no province is left behind in the decision-making process, needs to advocate for unity and cohesion to cope with this pandemic in the best interest for the public of Pakistan”.
“The Senate has to urgently address five big issues related to the Corona crisis. The federal government must look towards coordinating and aligning policies across the board. A coherent strategy among all provinces is the need of the hour to tackle and contain the growing COVID-19 challenge. A provincial government or a city alone cannot stamp out this deadly contagion. Chairman PPP, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, has also called for a unified strategy between the center and all provinces to combat the rising threat of the pandemic. This is the time for national unity where all provinces must be on the same page. As of now, the entire federal response is based on federal point-scoring politics vs Sindh”, she added. “We need to fight Corona, not each other”
“Secondly, health infrastructure deficits must be discussed in what we see is a daily evolving situation. Parliamentary committees must not function without data. Even civil society has questions about our capacity to protect the frontline. Discord on numbers, management over testing, provision of protective gear to doctors and health workers, all must be our priority.” the Senator added.
“Thirdly, we must face down the challenges our most vulnerable communities face, without exposing them to the life-threatening virus. Like most countries, Pakistan is facing key issues of charting a consensus-based policy which creates a workable balance between protecting lives while managing a lifeline to livelihoods, with huge impacts for the informal sector, daily wage-labour and SMEs.
So far, the government has shown a disregard for the federal system by ignoring the views of political parties that run a province. Changing the name of the Benazir Income Support Program into the Ehsaas program has left a bad taste in the mouth of those who advocate maturity.