The nation celebrated Pakistan Day yesterday with simplicity amidst an outbreak of the novel coronavirus and with the pledge to fight the Covid-19 disease caused by the virus as it sweeps across the country, Radio Pakistan reported.
All kinds of public gatherings, including the showpiece military parade, have been postponed as part of precautionary measures.
However, Radio Pakistan and Pakistan Television aired special programmes, while newspapers published special issues on the occasion.
Pakistan Day is observed to commemorate the passage of the Lahore Resolution on March 23, 1940, under which Muslims of the sub-continent set the agenda of achieving a separate homeland.
President Dr Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan have said in their Pakistan Day messages that the nation should demonstrate unity, discipline and passion in fighting the coronavirus pandemic that has engulfed the whole world.
The president and premier also paid homage to the founding leaders of Pakistan, and expressed unshakable support for the people of Kashmir.
“I assure the people of Jammu and Kashmir that Pakistan will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them, and will continue its moral, political and diplomatic support for their legitimate right of self-determination,” Alvi said in his message.
The president said that March 23 was an important landmark in the history of the nation, as on this day in 1940, the historic Lahore Resolution was passed, uniting Muslims of the sub-continent for a greater objective.
“The Muslims of the subcontinent, through their collective will, expressed unwavering resolve to carve out a separate homeland for themselves wherein they could lead their lives in accordance with their own religion, traditions, values and culture,” he said.
Alvi also paid homage to Quaid-e-Azam Mohamed Ali Jinnah, Dr Allama Mohamed Iqbal, and all the other great leaders of the freedom movement who paved the way for the creation of Pakistan.
“Let us express our firm resolve to continue the legacy and heritage bequeathed to us by our founding fathers and by following in their footsteps to make our country a cradle of peace, progress and stability,” a press release quoted the president as saying.
He further observed that the world was facing a severe outbreak of the coronavirus, and that Pakistanis needed to stand united to fight this pandemic.
“It is the responsibility of all segments of society, including the ulema, the media, and political leaders, to play their due role in educating the masses about the preventive measures against the virus,” he added.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Khan, while lauding the resilience of the Pakistani nation against ordeals in the past, urged the citizenry to show utmost unity, discipline and passion in fighting the coronavirus pandemic that had engulfed the world.
“I am proud to say that the Pakistani nation has the capability to face any ordeal. While celebrating the Pakistan Day this year, we need unity, discipline and passion to face the catastrophe that has engulfed the whole world,” the prime minister said in message to nation on Pakistan Day.
He asked the people to take precautions without panicking, as he was personally monitoring the government’s measures against the pandemic.
“God willing, we will stand victorious in this test,” Khan remarked.
The prime minister said the Kashmir dispute is an incomplete agenda of the division of the subcontinent, and reiterated Pakistan’s resolve to continue extending moral, political and diplomatic support for their right to self-determination.
On Sunday the death toll from the Covid-19 disease in Pakistan rose to six, after the country reported its first death from Baluchistan.
Baluchistan government spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani confirmed the province’s first death from the disease in a tweet.
The deceased was a 65-year-old man under treatment at the Fatima Jinnah Chest Hospital, according to Shahwani.
Earlier, a doctor from Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) was reported as the country’s fifth death (see report on this page).
On Sunday morning, Adviser to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister on Information Ajmal Wazir announced the country’s fourth death from the virus, while speaking to the media.
Wazir said that the test results of a woman who had arrived from Taftan and shifted to Dera Ismail Khan had come as positive today, making it the province’s third coronavirus-related death.
On Friday, Pakistan had recorded its third death from the virus.
Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho had confirmed the death of a 77-year-old Covid-19 patient in the province.
Last week, two patients from KP who tested positive for the disease had died, officials said.
However, both had a travel history in countries that have been hit by the outbreak.
The patient from Sindh who passed away on Friday was the first death from the local transmission of the virus.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Pakistan rose to 803 yesterday, after new cases were reported throughout the country.
Sindh remains the worst-affected, with a total of 352 cases.
In Karachi alone, the numbers of cases are 130, with the majority said to be cases of “local transmission”.
In Punjab, according to Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, there are 225 Covid-19 cases so far.
According to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health department, the number of cases in the province stands at 31 after four new patients were reported, while the number of reported cases in Gilgit-Baltistan is 71.
In Baluchistan, the number of cases are 108, while one case has been reported from Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
In Islamabad, 15 patients have been confirmed to have contracted the disease.
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