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Imran Khan Moves To Wind Down Pak's Covid Lockdown; Groans About Economy, Silent On Terror

Shutting down of shops, markets, shopping centres and offices except for emergency service has impacted the country's economy badly, reducing tax revenues

Pakistan

Despite the number of coronavirus cases continuing to rise in the country, Pakistan on Thursday announced a gradual exit from countrywide lockdown from March 9. According to a Pakistani Media, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has asserted that the lockdown has badly affected labourers, small businessmen, and ordinary people.

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"We have decided to do this in phases because many people are facing a lot of difficulties and we cannot continue with it," he said while speaking to the media after a meeting of the National Coordination Committee.

Speaking on the financial emergency that the country is in owing to the COVID-19 crisis, the Pakistani Prime Minister remarked, "We are a developing country and we can't afford to keep the country shut for much longer," he remarked.

"Our exports have fallen. We already had limited funds and we spent it on people's welfare. We can't help all of those affected by the lockdown."

The shutting down of the shops, markets, shopping centres and offices except for emergency service has impacted the country's economy to a large extent further decreasing the revenue collection in the form of taxes.

"Our tax revenue decreased by 35 percent while exports also downed due to the lockdown in the country," the premier explained.

However, schools and educational institutions across the country will stay closed until July 15.

"All board exams throughout the country have been cancelled. Students will be evaluated based on their previous performances in board exams," Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said.

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Although the lockdown in Pakistan was imposed in March owing to the increasing cases of coronavirus, the government had succumbed to the pressure by religious clerics and allowed congregational prayer in mosques during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Days ago, Pakistan's National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser had also tested positive of the novel coronavirus and with that, the risk of Imran Khan being infected had also risen. Asad Qaiser was said to be the third Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI ) leader to test positive for COVID-19 that has infected 24,954 people across Pakistan with the death toll mounting to 593.

This also comes at a time when Pakistan continues to proliferate terrorists across its borders and perpetually violating the ceasefire across the Line of Control.

(With ANI inputs)

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