The members of the Senate Standing Committee on Defence will visit the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) set up in Rawalpindi for monitoring and handling the situation in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic on Aug 7.
During the visit, the members of the committee will receive a briefing by the director general of the NCOC “regarding the role of Pakistan Army in combating Covid-19 under the national strategy”, says the one-point agenda issued for the meeting by the Senate Secretariat.
The committee is headed by Waleed Iqbal of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and it comprises some political heavyweights from the opposition, including Mushahid Hussain Syed, Javed Abbasi and retired Lt Gen Abdul Qayyum of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), parliamentary leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in the Senate Sherry Rehman and Talha Mehmood of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F). Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak is the ex-officio member of the committee.
The NCOC, headed by Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar, has recently held its meetings in all the four provincial capitals to review the Covid-19 situation.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, during his visit to the NCOC along with Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on the 100th day of its establishment last month, had lauded its role in containing the spread of the novel coronavirus and directed it to take steps to prevent resurgence of the disease during Eidul Azha.
Noting that the government had managed to slow down the spread of the virus, PM Khan had directed the officials concerned to ensure strict implementation of the standard operating procedures (SOPs), undertake all required administrative actions for smart lockdowns and the awareness campaign to prevent any resurgence of the disease during the upcoming Eid.
The prime minister was also briefed on the pattern analysis of Covid-19 spread and was apprised on how the strategy of smart lockdown yielded results in balancing life and livelihood. It was highlighted that as per the IMF World Economic Outlook, Pakistan was among a group of 30 countries that reversed the projected downturn from -0.4 to 1.1.
Mr Khan lauded the efforts of the NCOC team in putting up a robust response to the pandemic and ensuring coordinated actions across the country. From daily monitoring of the situation to the capacity enhancement of the health system and from establishing a credible database to better resource management and formulation of appropriate SOPs, the NCOC led from the front in the fight against the pandemic, the prime minister said.
He had also appreciated the resilience and adaptability of the nation to adjust to the new normal by following the SOPs and face the challenge as one nation.