In the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani held a telephonic conversation with Pakistan's Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa on Thursday. In the phone conversation that excluded Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan, Ghani and Bajwa discussed the extant health crisis, yet again bringing to focus the military's role in Pakistan's governance.
In the conversation reported by TOLO news, the Afghan President and Pakistan's Army chief decided to form a peace negotiation team against Coronavirus, trade, and transit. Both countries agreed to take the necessary steps to aid transfer of goods in Afghanistan.
Imran Khan's absence in crucial foreign policy decision-making during a health crisis revived the theory that it is, in fact, Qamar Bajwa's Army pulling the strings within Pakistan and puppeteering the Pakistani premier. Pakistan has currently blocked its border crossings with neighbouring Iran and Afghanistan on March 16 and is now extended until April 9. Imran Khan on Monday announced the formation of 'Corona Relief Tiger Force' to battle the Coronavirus along with the Pakistani government and Qamar Bajwa-led Army. The Force will be responsible for delivering essential goods, food, engage in the awareness campaign, quarantine management and so on.
Pakistan's Army on March 29 announced the completion of deployment of troops across the country, for assisting the civil authorities to contain the spread of Coronavirus. The deployment was approved by Bajwa on March 23, on request of the Interior Ministry of Pakistan. The Pakistani Army has urged its citizens to be indoors and avoid unnecessary travel.
This comes as Pakistan confirmed 2,419 positive Coronavirus cases on Friday morning with--761 cases in Sindh province, 311 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 920 in Punjab, 169 in Balochistan, 9 in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and 187 in Gilgit. Out of which, 34 have died while 107 have recovered. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on March 22 ruled out complete lockdown in the country, saying it will create chaos and urged people to self-quarantine to curb the spread of the coronavirus.