Islamabad, Apr 25 (PTI) Pakistan on Sunday issued orders tasking the army to help the civil administration in implementing the anti-coronavirus Standard operating Procedures in various parts of the country.
The interior ministry issued notifications allowing the provinces and federal territories to seek the help of the army after Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Friday that the army was being called to enforce standard operating procedures (SoPs).
'The federal government is pleased to authorise deployment of sufficient strength of troops of Pakistan Army, from April 25, 2021, on the requisition of the Government of Punjab in the province in connection with enforcement of NCC/NCOC guidelines on COVID-19 and matters ancillary thereto subject to laws enforced in Pakistan,' one of the orders said.
Similar notifications were issued for Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Balochistan, Islamabad, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.
Initially Sindh had not sought help from the army but it also sent a request on Sunday.
Following the notifications, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid issued a video message confirming that the army was being deputed in the country.
'The army that always stood with its people in calamities such as floods and earthquakes has now been given this new responsibility,' he said.
The move came as Pakistan's coronavirus death toll crossed 17,000 on Sunday after 118 more patients died in the last 24 hours, according to the official data.
The number of confirmed cases reached 795,627 with 5,611 news cases in this period, while the number of deaths reached 17,117, the Ministry of National Health Services reported.
It said that 689,812 people have recovered, meaning that at least 88,698 active patients are still suffering from the infection, and out of them 4,826 were in a critical condition.
The authorities had performed a total 11,538,771 tests since the start of the pandemic, including 55,128 in the last 24 hours. It showed that the positivity rate was 10.18 per cent.
The pandemic is not receding and the officials have introduced tough restrictions like closure of markets after 6 pm to bring it under control.
Information minister Fawad Chaudhry said on Saturday that the government would only wait for a week but if the situation did not improve, it would impose a complete lockdown.
“He (Prime Minister Imran Khan) always wants such a system that the economy keeps moving so at least the poor segments of society don’t come under pressure. But now we would wait for another week and if the situation doesn’t improve, definitely we would have to think about complete lockdown,” he said. PTI SH RUP RUP