Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan announced on Thursday that his government was using a system that was originally designed to track down terrorists from ISI spy agency to track down suspected coronavirus cases in the country, with the number of COVID-19 patients at 10,982 has risen.
"It (tracking system) was originally intended (for tracking) terrorists, but we use it to fight the corona," said Imran Khan during the Ehehas Telethon live to collect donations to help out from the pandemic to support worst affected people.
He said that "tracking and testing are the only way to reopen stores".
The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is Pakistan's spy agency. In 1950 it was officially given the task of protecting Pakistani interests and national security inside and outside the country.
Imran Khan also visited the spy agency's headquarters, where he said, "No effort is spared for Pakistan's security, integrity, and sovereignty."
"The Prime Minister received a comprehensive briefing that spanned the full range of internal and external challenges, including the impact of COVID-19," the PM office said.
During Imran Khan's Ehsaas telethon, the prime minister said that effectively tracking and screening coronavirus-infected people is the only way to reopen the country's closed shops.
Mr Khan replied to various questions that an indefinite ban was not an option and any decision to close it should be made for "all Pakistanis, not just the elite".
"The government is examining the possibility of an intelligent block to carefully relieve those seriously affected by the country's closure," he said.
He said that "even countries like the United States are thinking of loosening the restrictions on people," adding that each country is adapting to the local situation.
Imran Khan also warned people not to take the virus threat seriously and not to believe in misconceptions that some of them have strong immunity.
He said that his government gave money support without thinking about people's political affiliations and without any political interference. He said the majority of the people who benefited from the cash distribution were in the Sindh province, where "we have no government".
Mr Khan said that police and federal investigative officers (FIA) are being used to ensure transparency in the Ehsaas cash payment program.
"This will be the most transparent program in the country's history," he said, adding that 12,000 rupees went to 12 million families.
Regarding permission to allow prayers in mosques during Ramzans, Imran Khan said the government found a middle ground by instructing clergymen to ensure compliance with a 20-point agreement, making social detachment mandatory when offering prayers made.
People from Pakistan and abroad made direct calls to chat and donate money. Former cricketers Javed Miandad, Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram, and singer and actor Ali Zafar also called Imran Khan during the program.
Pakistan's most affected Punjab province reported 4,706 cases, Sindh 3,671, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 1,453, Baluchistan 607, Islamabad 204, and Pakistani-occupied Kashmir (including Gilgit-Baltistan) 341 patients.
Six other patients have been reported to have died in the past 24 hours, killing 230 people. So far, 2,337 people have recovered.
As the number continues to increase, the Punjab chapter of the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) has asked the government to reconsider the decision while allowing Ramzan mosques for community prayers.
"The government is the captain of this ship, it should review this decision. It is impractical to allow people to pray 6 feet away," said Ashraf Nizami, president of the PMA Punjab chapter.
The Pakistani government succumbed to clerical pressure last week and allowed conditional prayers from the community in mosques during Ramzan, which jeopardized the urge to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Pakistan's best doctors have warned of "significant chaos" and "fatal consequences" if the mosques remain open, and have asked the government to review their decision to allow prayers to the community during the Coronavirus outbreak during Ramzan.
Several countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Algeria, Jordan, Kuwait, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt, have ceased prayers in mosques.
In several Arab countries, the azaan (call to prayer) has been changed and is now asking people to pray in their homes.
Foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said more than 46,500 had registered on an official repatriation portal in an effort to return stranded Pakistanis.
He said efforts would be made to bring the Pakistanis stranded on the Gulf back at the earliest. He said that checks would be carried out at the airports and that quarantine facilities there would be expanded.
He said the opening of the remaining airports had increased the capacity to return 6,000 to 7,000 from abroad each week.
Regardless, President Arif Alvi said that online education is the best and easiest way to provide education to students.
After attending the TeleSchool project in Islamabad, Arif Alvi, the students would receive training from home in the current blackout situation.
TeleSchool is a television station that was recently launched by the government to broadcast 10 hours a day and provide education from grades 1-12.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)