(Joyce) #1
Ruling party flays PPP
leader for ‘endangering
people’s lives’ by insisting
on addressing next rally
whilst in quarantine



ilawal Bhutto-Zardari,
chairman of the oppo-
sition Pakistan People’s
Party (PPP), yesterday tested
positive for coronavirus.
Bilawal said he was self-
isolating after testing positive
for Covid-19 but that he would
address the forthcoming op-
position rally in Multan via
video link.
His diagnosis comes just a
day before the engagement of
his sister, Bakhtawar Bhut-
to-Zardari, to a Dubai-based
businessman and four days
before the Pakistan Demo-
cratic Movement’s (PDM) next
rally in Multan scheduled for
November 30, which is also
PPP’s Foundation Day.

Thirty-year-old Bakhtawar
was the world’s first baby born
to a sitting chief executive, her
late mother and former prime
minister Benazir Bhutto, dur-
ing the latter’s first term in of-
fice, in 1990.
Taking to the social media
micro-blogging site Twitter,
Bilawal said he was currently
experiencing mild symptoms.
“I’ll continue working from
home and will be addressing
PPP foundation day via video
link. Wear a mask everyone,
see you on the other side.”
The development drew sup-
port from within the party
ranks but also vindication
from critics who saw the irony
in the PPP chairman endan-
gering the lives of the people
while confining himself to iso-
“You are putting their lives
in danger. Take care of others
as well as yourself. These ral-
lies have no pros, only cons,”
tweeted ruling Pakistan Te-
hreek-i-Insaf Senator Faisal
Javed Khan.

The government and oppo-
sition have been at odds over
the holding of public rallies at
a time when Pakistan is in the
throes of a second, more dead-
ly, coronavirus wave.
Federal Information Minis-
ter Shibli Faraz offered prayers
for the PPP chairman and all
those suffering from the dis-
ease, but advised a rethink for
the sake of people’s safety.
“Following precaution-
ary measures is important for
staying safe. Corona(virus)
does not differentiate between
leaders and the public,” he
Bilawal has tested positive
days after the 11-party oppo-
sition alliance defied a lack of
permission from the govern-
ment and a court order to stage
a rally in Peshawar.
Guests invited at his sis-
ter’s engagement ceremony in
Karachi today are required to
send a scan of Covid-negative
report 24 hours prior to the
much anticipated event to be
able to attend.

NO SHOW: Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari (left) with his sister Bakhtawar
Bhutto-Zardari. (File photo)

Bilawal contracts Covid-19, won’t

attend sister’s engagement today

Volunteers throng fi nal

trials for Chinese vaccine



housands of volunteers
are fl ocking to research
hospitals across Pakistan
to join fi nal-stage clinical trials
of a Chinese-made vaccine for
the coronavirus.
It is the fi rst time Pakistan
has participated in such a trial,
which comes amid a string of
positive vaccine announcements
by Western pharmaceutical
companies this month.
The vaccine is being devel-
oped by CanSinoBio and the
Beijing Institute of Biotechnol-
ogy China.
“I have volunteered myself for
a noble cause that will help hu-
manity,” said a volunteer at Is-
lamabad’s Shifa hospital, where
hundreds of participants are be-
ing paid about $50 for venturing.
Others should “step forward
and take part in this noble cause
which will save lives,” he added.
For years, China has focused
much of its attention in Paki-
stan on mammoth development
projects, bankrolling the con-
struction of roads, power plants
and a strategic port.
Beijing has now tapped one of
its closest allies to participate in
the vaccine trials, despite Paki-
stan’s chequered history with
inoculation campaigns.
“We hope to have some fi nd-
ings ready about the accuracy
and effi cacy of the vaccine in two
to three months,” Ejaz Ahmad
Khan, the principal researcher
overseeing the trial in Pakistan,
told AFP.
Offi cials said Pakistan has al-

ready inoculated about 7,000 of
the 10,000 participants expect-
ed to receive a jab.
The trials come with in-
tensive care wards across the
country nearing capacity as a
second, deadlier wave of the
coronavirus spreads and offi -
cials struggle to counter public

indiff erence to the pandemic.
The country has confi rmed
more than 382,000 cases in-
cluding over 7,800 deaths since
the virus arrived in late February.
Less than a year after the
coronavirus that has claimed
1.4 million lives began spread-
ing across the globe, a number of

highly promising Covid-19 vac-
cines are on the cusp of release.
Four separate drug makers
have recently announced that
their vaccines are eff ective for
most people.
Due to lingering suspicions over
vaccines, Pakistan is one of just two
countries where polio continues to

spread, sparking fears that a new
drive to inoculate the population
against the coronavirus will fail.
The Chinese vaccine is also un-
dergoing phase 3 trials – or large-
scale testing on humans – in sev-
eral other nations including China,
Russia, Chile, Argentina and Saudi

A volunteer reads an information leaflet while waiting to be administered the new Chinese-made vaccine for the Covid-19 coronavirus, the first
ever Phase 3 clinical trial for any vaccine in Pakistan, at a hospital in Islamabad. (AFP)

PM urges nation

to follow SOPs

Prime Minister Imran Khan yesterday appealed the nation to
strictly adhere to Standard Operating Procedures and precau-
tionary measures to prevent spread of Covid-19 pandemic.
Talking to media, he said pressure on hospitals as well as on
Pakistan’s economy will mount if SOPs are not followed in letter
and spirit.
He said with the blessing of Almighty Allah, the nation not only
successfully overcame economic problems, but also contained
spread of the coronavirus during the first wave of the pandemic.
He said all this happened due to the complete support from the
people, especially, ulema. He said Pakistan was the only Muslim
country in the world, which did not close its mosques as ulema
played a pivotal role in observing SOPs in mosques.
He urged people to make it mandatory for themselves to wear
face mask, which is the easiest way to prevent spread of coro-
The PM said the government has decided not to close factories
and other sources of earning in order to save people’s lives from
Covid-19 and the hunger.
He said today Faisalabad’s textile industry is running with full
capacity and contributing in enhancing Pakistan’s exports.
Answering a question, he said we have postponed our public
rallies to avoid spread of the contagion.
He said the government will not allow anyone, including the op-
position, to endanger people’s lives by holding public rallies. He
said they should refrain from jeopardising people’s lives.

Friday, November 27, 2020


A health off icial collects a swab sample from a man to
test for the Covid-19 coronavirus inside a van along the
roadside in Islamabad yesterday. Intensive care units
across Pakistan are nearing capacity as a second, deadlier
wave of the coronavirus builds momentum and off icials
struggle to counter public indiff erence to the pandemic.

Schools shut to curb infections



akistan shut its schools
and postponed exams
yesterday to try to curb
new coronavirus infections and
a rise in the number of people
in hospital with Covid-19.
Students, including those at
higher educational institutions
as well as in private schools, are
expected to continue classes
through distance learning until
December 24, when schools are
scheduled to go on winter break
until January 11.
“All eff orts will be made to
make sure that education con-
tinues from home,” Education
Minister Shafqat Mahmood
said on Monday, announcing
the closure of schools, adding
that “if the situation improves”
schools would reopen on Janu-
ary 11.

Pakistan reported 3,
new cases on Wednesday, and
40 deaths from the pandemic,
with 2,485 patients currently
admitted in hospitals, accord-
ing to offi cials. There have
been 386,198 total cases in the
country recorded so far, and
7,843 deaths.
The decision to close
schools, offi cials have said,
was based on an increase in the
rate of positive test results in
the country. The rate of peo-
ple testing positive in June was
as high as 23%, but dropped
to a low of 1.7% by September.
It has since begun to increase
again, reaching 7.41% this
More than 19% of new cases
were from educational institu-
tions, where the rate of positive
results had nearly doubled in
one week to reach 3.3%, offi -
cials said on Monday.
The south Asian country has

ruled out a wide ranging lock-
down, opting to close down
non-essential public gatherings
in a bid to keep the economy
afl oat through the pandemic.
“We do not know what this
winter is going to be like, so
there is a bit of worry right now
because our cases are rising up
quite rapidly these days,” Prime
Minister Imran Khan told an
event organised by the World
Economic Forum on Wednes-
“We are going to only lock
down the non-essential, in oth-
er words the public gatherings
and so on where our economy
doesn’t get hurt.”
Pakistan closed educational
institutions between March
and September to combat the
spread of the virus. State tel-
evision and radio stations were
used to broadcast lessons for
students at home for students
in government schools.

The Multan Administration
yesterday denied permission
to Pakistan Democratic
Movement (PDM) for a public
gathering in the city scheduled
for November 30.
The Deputy Commissioner
Multan Amir Khattak refused
permission on a request
submitted by Pakistan
People’s Party (PPP) leader
Natasha Daultana citing spike
in Covid-19 cases across the
As per the Punjab government
directives, public gatherings
of more than 300 guests is
banned in the province until
January 31 next year.
“The permission for the public
meeting will be a violation
of the standard operating
procedures (SOPs) to tackle
the coronavirus pandemic,” the
DC responded to the request.
The PDM has vowed to hold a
massive power show in Multan
on November 30.

PDM request for

rally rejected

Islamabad hosts

fi rst meeting of

Saarc planning




akistan hosted the Inau-
gural Meeting of South
Asian Association for
Regional Cooperation (Saarc)
Planning Ministers yesterday
on the theme: ‘Shaping the
Saarc Vision 2030’ in virtual
All Member States and
the Saarc Secretary Gener-
al, Esala Ruwan Weerakoon
participated in the Meeting
with Planning Minister Asad
Umar in the chair.
The meeting discussed
national SDGs approaches,
impact of Covid-19 on eco-
nomic growth in the South
Asian region and a strategy
for collective action for de-
velopment financing in the
wake of pandemic.
Addressing the meet-
ing Planning Minister Asad
Umer briefed the Member
States about Pakistan’s na-
tional SDGs policy and said
the political ownership for
SDGs is manifested at the
highest level as Pakistan was
one of the first countries to
adopt SDGs as National De-

velopment Agenda through
a unanimous parliamentary
He also highlighted Paki-
stan’s success in devising a
co-ordinated approach taken
by Government of Pakistan
towards its social protection
and environment conserva-
tion initiatives such as the 10
Billion Tree Tsunami.
He noted that Pakistan con-
tinues to extend its uncondi-
tional support to strength-
ening co-ordination and
co-operation to all the Saarc
Member States for the greater
benefi ts of vulnerable groups
within the region.
He expressed hope that
this initiative by Pakistan,
and the meeting report
adopted by all member states
with consensus, will go a
long way in devising a co-
ordinated strategy towards
achieving SDGs in the region,
especially in the post-Covid
The Saarc Planning Min-
isters and Secretaries virtual
meetings were a reaffi rmation
of Pakistan’s commitment to
the Saarc process and its ef-
forts to forge closer co-oper-
ation among member states.

Pakistan and Denmark yesterday agreed to explore new avenues
of cooperation in green technologies by establishing “Green
Partnership”. This was agreed during the second session of
bilateral political consultations between Pakistan and Denmark,
according to a statement of the Foreign Off ice.
Pakistan was led by Special Secretary (Europe), Dr Aman Rashid
while Under Secretary for Foreign Aff airs at the Ministry of
Foreign Aff airs of Denmark Christina Markus Lassen led the
Danish side.
“The two sides took stock of the whole range of bilateral
relations, including political economic, trade, investment,
renewable energy, green technology and education,” it stated,
adding the two sides discussed bilateral trade and investment
relations and agreed to explore new avenues of cooperation in
green technologies by establishing “Green Partnership”.
In the context of EU, it added that Pakistan side thanked Denmark
for its support in securing renewal of GSP Plus status for Pakistan
with the European Union.

Agreement signed with Denmark

for ‘Green Partnership’

Forging ahead with its growth
streak in world and regional
rankings, the National
University of Sciences and
Technology (NUST) has been
ranked at No 76 among Asian
universities, in the Quacquarelli
Symonds (QS) Asia University
Rankings 2021 announced
the other day, taking a leap
of 7 positions from its last
year’s ranking of No 83. The
new ranking has placed NUST
amongst the top 12% Asian
universities for the year 2021.
With this meritorious
achievement, NUST has not only
maintained its upward trajectory
in Asia by improving 36
positions in the last 5 years but
also retained its No. 1 position
among Pakistani universities
for the 4th consecutive year.
This is the second time in a row
that NUST has stood as the only
Pakistani university in Top 100
Asian universities..

NUST ranked

76th amongst

Asian varsities

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