AJK gov’t extends lock-down till April 21

F.P. Report

MIRPUR: Azad Jammu Kashmir government Monday announced to extend the ongoing lock-down across the state till April 21 in order to maintain the prevailing fool-proof measures to overcome the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the area.

Announcing this at a briefing to the media in the state’s metropolis, the spokesperson of AJK government and the Minister for Population Welfare and Information Technology Dr. Mustafa Bashir said the State Coordination Committee would review further extension in the lock-down period in its scheduled meeting to be held on April 20 with the Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan in the chair.

Dr. Bashir revealed that the AJK government was seriously contemplating to give the conditional Home Quarantine facility to masses in AJK through launching the state-wide awareness drive to this direction.

DGPR AJK government Azhar Iqbal was also present on this occasion – who responded queries and the arrangements for ensuring the comfortable passing of the quarantine period through provision of due facilities by the state government to the masses – especially poor, down trodden and underprivileged class.

Dr. Mustafa Bashir said the AJK government had requested to the government of Pakistan to ensure the disbursement of Rs. 12000/- per family financial relief – oriented Prime Minister Imran Khan’s “Ehsas Program’’ among the deserving families in AJK through all branches of the scheduled banks.

He underlined that at present the financial relief under the above program was being extended through a single bank in AJK, which, he added, lacked the timely payment of the amount under the program. The minister revealed that since mostly the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic in AJK was not emerged as homegrown, the government may facilitate the local growers, mostly engaged in agricultural field in Mirpur and Bhimbher districts, to resume the work if non of the cultivator from outside AJK was formally engaged in the business.

To a question, Dr. Mustafa Bashir disclosed that the per-day virus-testing strength had been increased to five thousand in Azad Jammu Kashmir. “We have received all the required kits and resultantly the state health authorities were enjoying the strength of testing the pandemic up to 5000 of cases daily across the state”, he revealed.

The government will leave no stone unturned to defeat the pandemic through due effective steps and preventive measures with the cooperation of the masses.

It may be added that AJK was strictly implementing the lock-down to avert the threat of spread of the pandemic since March 24 through strictly locking all exit and entering points leading to and from Azad Jammu Kashmir for the adjoining parts of the country.

Thousands of the residents of AJK are lying stranded in various parts of the country following complete closure of the entry points of AJK, since the advent of the lock-down on March 24 to discourage the spread of the pandemic in AJK. These people had traveled to various parts of the country, as routine before the advent of the lock-down.

The stranded AJK residents have demanded of the AJK government to devise an integrated strategy to ensure their return their homes through managing screening tests of all those waiting for getting back to their home stations, at all the entry points of AJK,  by the State Health Authorities, to check their virus-free physique.