Pakistan Decides to Develop its Own Vaccine for Coronavirus

On Thursday, the National Assembly of Pakistan was informed of recent developments on the coronavirus side. The government has been making efforts to procure raw materials to battle the pandemic and so, Pakistan will be developing its own vaccine against the novel coronavirus. 

The house gathered for a meeting, which was chaired by Qasim Suri, the Deputy Speaker. The formation of a parliamentary committee for the purpose of electoral reforms was deferred by the house, to first consult the opposition parties about the matter. 

While the session was ongoing, a lawmaker occupying a minorities’ seat, Shunila Ruth, belonging to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), requested the chair to declare a holiday on Good Friday, as well as Easter Sunday. The Chair also agreed that religious days for the minorities should count as holidays. 

As the Question Hour progressed, Dr. Noshin Hamid, the Parliamentary Secretary for Health, stated that around 70 million people in Pakistan will be given vaccinations against the coronavirus. These citizens and residents will be inoculated as part of the campaign to create ‘herd immunity’ to fight the disease. 

On the same note, she added that raw materials, which will help in battling the infection, are being procured in substantial quantities. According to her, it will help the country in developing its own formula for the vaccine. 

The National Assembly was further told that the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, had decided to withdraw the notifications sent out to limit the powers of those secretaries who belong to 15 departments, assigned to the South Punjab Secretariat. 

The issue was also discussed in the lower house of the parliament. It was first brought up by Ahmed Hussain Dehar, a treasury member from the city of Multan. He highlighted that the South Punjab Secretariat had been established by the ruling party, PTI, however, the authorities awarded to the officers posted there had been limited. 

Moreover, MNA Malik Amir Dogar informed the house that additional secretaries working in 15 provincial departments had been assigned responsibilities in Multan but, they were reluctant to be subordinates to secretaries sitting in Lahore. In his words, the fact that the South Punjab Secretariat has been deprived of fully empowered secretaries is nothing less than a conspiracy. 

Ali Muhammad Khan, the Minister of State of Parliamentary Affairs, also revealed that the notifications that were deemed controversial have suddenly been withdrawn. It was speculated that the Prime Minister must have taken notice of the issue as well and decided to provide the deserved authorities to the secretaries in South Punjab. 

At the gathering, the State Minister went on to move for a motion and called for the formation of a joint parliamentary committee, in charge of electoral reforms. The opposition members expressed their objections, saying that their approval should also be taken into consideration before any such committee could be established. 

Shazia Marri, a lawmaker belonging to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), added that the party was in full support of electoral reforms. However, she took a jab at the NA-75 polls, which were conducted in February, and said that no reforms should include the disappearance of 20 presiding officers.