Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry has criticised the Sindh government for “mishandling” the Covid-19 situation in the province, saying Karachi and Hyderabad have the lowest percentage of vaccinated people in comparison to the other cities of the country.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad following the federal cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Fawad said 50 per cent of the eligible population in Islamabad received the first jab of Covid-19 vaccine whereas in Rawalpindi and Peshawar 35% had been vaccinated.
The Sindh government, he said, is lagging behind all provinces in terms of governance and added that the federal government had been asking the provincial authorities to improve their performance.
Earlier in the day, Planning Minister Asad Umar said in a tweet that Islamabad had become the first city in Pakistan with a population of 1 million or more to get 50% of its eligible population vaccinated with at least one dose.
The vaccination ratio in Peshawar and Rawalpindi is 35%, Faislabad 28%, Lahore, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Sargodha 27%, Karachi 26% and Hyderabad 25%, he added,
Islamabad has become the first city in Pak with a population of 1 million or more to get 50% of its eligible population vaccinated with at least one dose. Peshawar and pindi 35%, faislabad 28%, lahore/gujranwala /sialkot/sargodha 27%, karachi 26%, hyderabad 25%.
— Asad Umar (@Asad_Umar) August 3, 2021
Responding to Fawad’s claims, Sindh Information Minister Nasir Hussain Shah said the PPP-led government in the province established the biggest vaccine centre in Karachi and the first coronavirus hospital in the metropolis.
He said “ignorant” information minister was not aware of the measures being taken by the Sindh government to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
Shah added that Fawad’s criticism was actually aimed at the Punjab government’s performance “in the guise of Sindh”.
He went on to say that the PTI-led government is trying to politically “conquer” Sindh but “no matter what tactics they use, Sindh would remain a stronghold of the PPP”.
The Sindh government and the federal government traded barbs last week after the province-wide lockdown was announced by Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to contain the fast-spreading fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab hit back at the calls from federal ministers Fawad Chaudhry and Asad Umar as well as Sindh Governor Imran Ismail for reconsideration of the lockdown decision.
Rejecting Centre’s criticism, Bilawal warned that the federal government would be held responsible if the Covid situation aggravated in Karachi. Wahab, on the other hand, stressed that the focus should be on encouraging people to cooperate, rather than creating chaos.
Bilawal also said that he would hold Prime Minister Imran Khan and other ministers of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) responsible if the Covid-19 situation in Karachi turned deadlier like India, which faced a devastating surge in coronavirus infections.
Responding to Bilawal’s statement, Umar, who heads the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), stressed in a series of tweets that PM Imran’s strategy to contain coronavirus spread produced “dramatically superior results”.
“Bilawal Zardari says if what happened in India happens in Karachi PM [Imran Khan would be held] responsible. Mr Zardari what you wanted… lock down lock down lockdown,” the minister said in a tweet on his official handle on Saturday.
Bilawal zardari says if what happened in India happens in karachi PM responsible. Mr zardari what you wanted.. Lock down lock down lockdown..Was done in India & the world saw the devastation . Crores thrown into poverty from which they have still not recovered. Economy shrank 7%
— Asad Umar (@Asad_Umar) July 31, 2021