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Shehbaz Sharif calls for Pak govt to change approach in COVID-19 vaccine procurement policy

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Islamabad | June 21, 2021 12:44:33 AM IST
As the Pakistan government faces intense criticism over the shortage of COVID-19 vaccines, opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday expressed grave concern over the matter and called for the federal government to change its approach regarding the procurement of vaccines.

"Planning should be done keeping in view the 220 million population. The small-minded view of ordering a few million vaccines and relying on donations needs to change," the Pakistan Muslim league-Nawaz's (PML-N) official Twitter account quoted Shehbaz, reported Geo News.

The Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly remarked that the unavailability of COVID-19 vaccines is another proof of the government's 'criminal negligence and incompetence'.

"The same thing is happening with the supply of vaccines as that which occurred with the supply of LNG," the PML-N president said.

He further said that "just as people with vested interests lined their pockets by scamming people over the sale of wheat flour, sugar and medicines, the same is being repeated when it comes to coronavirus vaccines".

Shehbaz said the situation had already been muddied with questions being raised about the Rs 1,200 coronavirus relief package following allegations of corruption. "Theft of public funds is rampant and the provision of services to the public is zero," he said.

He remarked that people are being punished for the Imran Khan-led government's "thievery, incompetence and poor planning, which is regrettable and condemnable", Geo News reported.

Shehbaz's statement comes after Pakistan's opposition parties have slammed the Prime Minister Imran Khan-led government for the delay in procurement of COVID-19 vaccines after reports emerged that the government was forced to place emergency orders for supplies of the vaccines to overcome a nationwide jabs shortage.

This criticism comes after the country's Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan on Saturday had admitted that their government has placed emergency orders for supplies of the vaccines to overcome a countrywide shortage and the fresh supplies would begin to reach the country from Sunday, The Express Tribune reported.

PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said it was criminal negligence on part of Imran Khan that the vaccine had not been procured on time.

As things stand, vaccination centres in major cities Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Rawalpindi have either suspended vaccination or slowed down the process due to which the number of vaccinations has been reduced by around 40 per cent, Dawn reported.

Sindh province reported a shortage of COVID-19 vaccines, which forced the administration to shut vaccinations centres on Sunday. Meanwhile, the vaccination drive has been suspended almost across Punjab province due to delays in the supply of the vaccines from the federal government.

The administrations of the centres had to pacify people and persuade them not to protest in several areas, the official said. (ANI)

 
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