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'Who is running the country?': Sherry blasts PM for absence from Senate session on Covid-19

'Who is running the country?': Sherry blasts PM for absence from Senate session on Covid-19

PPP Senator Sherry Rehman on Tuesday lambasted Prime Minister Imran Khan for his absence during a Senate session to discuss the coronavirus situation in the country.

The Senate session was convened for the first time since the pandemic after a requisition was submitted by opposition members. Speaking during the session, Rehman severely criticised the government's handling of the pandemic, saying that the premier had been giving out confusing messages.

She questioned what the poor people the premier had talked about would do amidst the pandemic, warning that the country would run out of healthcare resources if the number of cases spiked.

Rehman said the government did not have a "national message" and questioned the premier's absence in both the NA as well as Senate sessions on Covid-19.

"I want to talk about missing persons today. The missing person is the prime minister. He is missing, his policy is missing, his words of unity are missing," she said during the session as she moved on to question: "Where is the PM? Who is running the country?"

Rehman said provinces were receiving the message that they were "on their own" after the 18th Amendment. She lashed out at the federal government for "creating distractions" by criticising the 18th Amendment and said that while the amendment had given provinces autonomy, it did not mean they were on their own.

"Provinces are not on their own. The provinces are self-sufficient but they are not the state," she said, adding that there was a feeling of abandonment in provinces as all governments were adopting separate strategies.

She also criticised the Centre for comparing Pakistan's situation to that in Italy, UK and the US. She termed the current health crisis a "situation worse than war" and said that the government was not ready to sit and discuss a policy to deal with the disease.

"Why are you telling us what happened in Italy? They made mistakes. We cannot make mistakes, we can learn," she said.

The PPP leader said that the government had created confusion by pitting "lives versus livelihood", adding that there was no choice in reality.

"Lives always come first!" she said, adding that the government should focus on saving lives first and then take decisions about the kind of lockdown it wanted to enforce.

Rehman said there had been reports that the government was moving towards herd immunity and criticised it for doing so.

"The UK went for herd immunity, look at their number of deaths now. Look at what is happening in the US," she said, adding that Pakistan could not cite European countries as models for dealing with the pandemic.

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