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COVID-19: Pakistan Fighting Unemployment by Planting Trees

By Dispatch News Desk (Eqrar Haroon) May, 2020 - Islamabad, Pakistan: When the whole world went for “Complete Lockdown” to avoid COVID-19 spread, Pakistan decided its own rules for controlling pandemic and announced a strategy of following smart Lockdown.

What was smart Lockdown actually? It was a mix of lockdown for 15 days then making it softer for next 10 days and then again clamp strict Lockdown after observing results of spread of COVID-19. Only public transport and educational institutions were and are under Complete Lockdown while several industries including Construction Sector and Production Sector (factories etc) are operational and food, grain, fruit and vegetable markets are working and there is no ban on cargo transportation.

THE VIDEO Killing two birds with one stone: giving people employment as well planting trees. Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan faced criticism from opposition and from media for taking risk of lives of 220 million people but he was and is of the view that a country where over 50 percent population is living on daily wages system and is almost under poverty line cannot afford mass-hunger by locking people inside their homes when State is not in position to provide them food at their doors.

Pakistan on May 1, 2020 had 16,817 positive cases with 385 deaths but almost 30 percent shops are open including bakeries, grocery shops, auto workshops, banks, government offices and medical stores. Government has launched massive awareness campaign for “Social Distancing” which is actually not being followed by people in strict manners.

For avoiding mass-hunger situation, government of Pakistan disbursed around $500 million cash to 5.75 million families under “Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program” and Prime Minister Imran Khan kept working to provide opportunities of earning to daily wage labourers and now government has come up with an innovate project which is called Green Stimulus’ Scheme. This initiative has been lauded by World Economic Forum (WEF). In a statement, WEF has acknowledged Prime Minister Imran Khan’s “Green Stimulus” package which was approved on April 30 as part of the government’s efforts to extend green cover in the county and create job opportunities for the youth, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis. This project was already operational but only as a part of making Pakistan greener and at smaller scale but now philosophy of this project has been changed and it would now not only work for forest cover rather as a source of income to daily wagers and poor workers. According to available data, government will provide $5 to $8 per day to each labourer and labourers can setup their nurseries in State Forest lands, can plant saplings, and can work as forest protection guards or forest firefighters.



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