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Combating Covid-19: Pakistan announces troop deployment, shuts down borders

The deployment was approved by Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on March 23 on the request of the Interior Ministry. The government had asked for deployment of troops in all four provinces of the country, including Islamabad, Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2020, 12.02 PM IST
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RAWALPINDI: Pakistan Army has announced completion of deployment of troops across the country for assisting civilian authorities in containing the spread of Covid-19.

"Pakistan Army troops deployed across the country in aid of civil power under Article 245," spokesperson of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the military's public affairs wing, Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar, said in a press conference here on Saturday.

The deployment was approved by Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on March 23 on the request of the Interior Ministry. The government had asked for deployment of troops in all four provinces of the country, including Islamabad, Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir under Article 245 (functions of the armed forces) of the Constitution and Section 131(A) (power to use military force for public security and maintenance of law and order) of the CrPC, Dawn reported.

Iftikhar, however, did not mention in his address the number of troops deployed for the anti-coronavirus operation. He said that "available troops" and all medical resources would be deployed as per requirement.

While committing troops for the anti-Covid-19 effort, the spokesperson noted that ISPR had also taken into account the situation at the Line of Control and boundaries with other countries. It said that all points of entries were being manned and monitored, joint check posts have been established and joint patrolling was being undertaken along with other law enforcement agencies.

The army also urged citizens be at home and not to move out without necessary reasons. All means of public transport have been called off across the country until further notice, ensuring some of the stringent measures in effect as the tally of COVID-19 related cases reached 1500 on Saturday.

The ISPR spokesperson also announced suspension of international flights till April 4.

"Cooperation is the best defence at this time than isolation to fight coronavirus," Iftikhar stressed in his address.

Divulging further upon the health screening measures, the spokesperson stated that people will be screened at every entry point in the country. At least a million screenings have been ensured, while over 12,000 people have already been screened in the past 24 hours.

The Pakistan army has donated its income for the cause.

Army helicopters flew special sorties through Khunjrab pass for transporting and distribution of medical equipment received from China including five ventilators, 2000 testing kits, 2000 medical suits, 2000 N-95 masks and 0.2 million face masks on Friday.
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