Bilawal: PTI prioritising development over health

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The PTI government has given preference to development over health at a time when we are fighting a pandemic, said PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari while addressing a press conference on Saturday.

The government said that is going to spend Rs70 billion on fighting the coronavirus but if you read the fine print, you will see that the amount has been kept as “slush funds” for PTI MNAs, he claimed.

The PPP chairperson said his party had raised this issue in the National Assembly. The government should be working on increasing the health facilities and provide relief to the people. “During a pandemic, the government is more interested in repairing roads.”

The federal government should have announced a health or COVID-19 package for every province in the budget, he said, adding that the country has to increase its healthcare and testing capacity. “This support, however, was not provided to us,” he remarked.

The government even slashed the budgets of the provinces and expects us to fight a pandemic on our own, he said. “Sindh’s budget has been slashed by Rs229 billion and Punjab’s by Rs400 billion.” This was the time to support the provincial governments as we have never faced a challenge this big before, said Bilawal.

The PTI should have allocated funds to transfer cash to people belonging to the working class and lower-middle class, believed Bilal, adding that they need our support. The government won’t be spending any money on health or food security, he added.

Pakistan is facing the worst form of locust invasion in 25 years. We have known about it for a year now, he said. “We appeal to them to take it seriously and help our farmers. This is a difficult situation.”

Pakistan has a lot more fault lines than the US, the PPP chairperson said. The PTI should be glad that they have such an active opposition, he said. The PPP decided to postpone all political activities because of the pandemic, including marking founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s death anniversary.

The PTI, however, repaid us by making the COVID-19 outbreak political, said Bilawal. Their leaders keep criticising the Sindh CM and the party is trying to away our hospitals too, he said. “I challenge the government to show me one government hospital that is offering the same quality treatment as the NICVD,” he said.

Bilawal said that the NFC Award will be discussed with other opposition parties during an All Parties Conference. “A statement on it will be issued after that.”

On the Justice Qazi Faez Isa reference, he said that the government will have to stop investigating ‘revenge cases’ if it wants to end corruption.