AJK govt imposes ban on tourists’ arrival

F.P. Report

MUZAFFARABAD: Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Cabinet has imposed three-week ban on tourist arrivals in Azad Kashmir as a precautionary measure to deal with the increasing threat of corona pandemic in the region.

Senior minister Chudhary Tariq Farooq presided over the meeting. On the occasion, the Chief Secretary Mathar Niaz Rana briefed the cabinet members regarding the steps being taken to stop the outbreak of corona virus epidemic in Azad Kashmir.

Speaking on the occasion ministers gave valuable suggestions for preventing Corono-virus epidemic in the region. They stressed the need for mobilizing the district administration for raising awareness among the common masses. They pointed out that Corona has affected many countries, including China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Italy, and Spain. They expressed satisfaction over the steps being taken at state level to control the epidemic.

During the meeting it was revealed that a high level state coordination committee has been set up to deal with Corona. “Ten district hospitals including AIIMS, CMH have separate wards to deal with these patients”, they said adding that the quarantine facility was available. Moreover district administration and the police have also been fully mobilized to deal the situation.

The ministers were also briefed about the public awareness campaign being set in motion to educate general masses. It was stated that necessary instructions for the protection of the Corona virus have also been uploaded on the website and social network sites. The participants of the meeting were briefed about the presence of Chinese citizens in Azad Kashmir. “There are currently 249 Chinese residents in Azad Kashmir who have been tested”, the authorities said adding there were 97 pilgrims who have been cleared.

It was said that the pilgrims coming from abroad via Balochistan were being picked up from Dera Ghazi Khan in special ambulances and tested properly. “Special wards in Chaman Kot, Muzaffarabad and Mirpur have been setup for corno- virus affected patients”, the authorities present in the meeting said adding that ambulances were present in every district and initially a grant of Rs 5 million has been released on emergency basis to deal with the situation.

Moreover, special teams have been deputed at all eleven entry points of Azad Kashmir. The cabinet members were told that all educational institutions, including schools, colleges, medical colleges, technical and vocational institutions, universities (government and private) have been closed immediately for the next three weeks.

“During this time all tuition centers will also be closed. In addition, all religious madrassas, marriage ceremonies, halls, etc. will also remain closed”, the authorities said adding that all religious gatherings and other ceremonies, except prayer and congregation, will remain suspended for the next three weeks.

Raja Mushtaq Ahmed Minhas, Chaudhry Rukhsar, Raja Siddique, Raja Abdul Qayyum, Chaudhry Mohammad Aziz, Nasir Dar, Syed Iftikhar Gilani, Raja Naseer Khan, Chaudhry Khalid Masood, Ahmad Raza Qadri, Col. (R) Waqar Noor, Syed Shaukat Shah, Raja Javed Iqbal, Chaudhry Shehzad, Chaudhry Masood Khalid, Dr. Najib Naqib, Sardar Farooq Tahir, Chaudhry Ismail, Special Advisor Raja Imdad Tariq, Special Adviser Zia Sardar, Chief Secretary Mathar Niaz Rana, Secretary Raja Amjad Pervaiz, Secretary Information, Tourism and IT Ms. Midhat Shahzad, Secretary Finance Asmatullah Shah, Secretary Services Chaudhry Liaquat Hussain, Secretary Health and Additional Secretary Interior Masoodur Rehman and others attended the meeting.