Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Babar Iftikhar has said that “in these pressing times, the army will do everything in its power to protect the people’s lives.”

General Babar said at a news conference in Rawalpindi called the people’s confidence in the armed forces an “asset” for the forces and urged the people to follow coronavirus safety SOPs to ensure their lives and the lives of others remained safe during the pandemic.

He said army has been deployed across Pakistan to assist the civil administration as the third wave of the coronavirus intensifies across the country.

Army has been called in under Article 245 of the Constitution to assist civil administration and law enforcement agencies to prevent spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The DG said that the positivity ratio had risen over five percent in 91 cities of Pakistan. The healthcare infrastructure is under “immense pressure” due to rise in number of patients who need emergency treatment.

He said an officer of the rank of brigadier will head the army troops at divisional level, while a Lt Colonel will serve at district level. “Army will not claim any kind of internal security allowance for its services in containing the contagion,” he added.

General Babar expressed the fear that oxygen situation might become critical if the current situation persisted.

He said 75 percent oxygen has been reserved for the health sector and if situation aggravates the oxygen for industrial sector will be provided to hospitals.

The DG said the army has deployed extra troops in Islamabad, Peshawar, Mardan, Nowshera, Charsadda, Swabi, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Bahawalpur, Gujrat, Karachi, Hyderabad, Quetta and Muzaffarabad as positivity rate is higher than 16 percent.

He said there are about 90,000 active Covid-19 cases in Pakistan, while positivity ratio of these cases is higher than five percent in 51 cities.

The DG said ventilator occupancy has reached 90 percent in some of the cities and 4,300 coronavirus patients are on critical care at the moment.

General Babar said the decision to deploy army was taken in consultation with all stakeholders.

General Babar said the army would provide support to other institutions as “emergency responders”. 

The army was mobilised to strictly enforce coronavirus SOPs in the federal capital and Peshawar on Saturday after Prime Minister Imran Khan sought its help in arresting the spread of the virus in the country.


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