Murad Saeed
Murad Saeed says Imran Khan's lockdown strategy inspired New York state Image Credit: Twitter

In a May 11 viral video, Pakistan’s Communications Minister Murad Saeed claimed that the US state of New York is going to follow the 'smart lockdown' concept after being inspired by Imran Khan and Pakistan, fact checks have revealed otherwise. Meanwhile, netizens are sharing videos and picture of how the partial lockdown measures are failing in Pakistan.

The clip instantly gained popularity on social media and was reported by several Pakistani and international news outlets.

“If you look at the smart lockdown concept implemented by Prime Minister Imran Khan even the governor of New York has quoted Pakistan’s contact tracing and tracking concept and are following it now,” the federal minister is heard saying while speaking at the National Assembly.

Saeed also reportedly said that the cluster lockdown concept discussed by Khan is being taken forward by his counterpart Boris Johnson in the United Kingdom.

Now, several news outlets have “fact checked” the claim and concluded that the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, has never mentioned the Pakistani model to the media and that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader’s comments are misleading.

Twitter users were also quick to respond to Saeed’s claims.

Tweep @NazranaYusufzai wrote: “Murad Saeed is quoting New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, I watch his presser everyday and he has never mentioned Pakistan.”

What is Imran Khan’s ‘smart lockdown’?

On April 23, Khan said the Pakistani government was considering the option of imposing a smart lockdown in the country to wisely provide relief to the labour class, daily wagers and lower-middle strata of the society and protect the masses from the virus. According to the plan, the areas where the coronavirus cases were concentrated in, will be closed but certain economic activities will resume.

Hundreds on the streets amidst ‘smart lockdown’

However, the measures to curb the number of people in public places seemed to have been ineffective as per pictures and videos circulating on.

Markets across the country are reportedly brimming with people as the government began a phased lifting of the lockdown.

Social media users shared pictures of people flocking to public areas.

Tweep @AufRehman posted several images of commercial districts and wrote: “Smart lockdown? Seriously!”

Journalist Omar Quraishi, @omar_quraishi, shared pictures of traffic jams and wrote: “Very handsome lockdown.”

In Pakistan, public transport remains shut, but factories and offices have been allowed to resume operations nationwide. Restrictions on mosque attendance had already been lifted before last week’s announcement, reported The Express Tribune, a newspaper in Pakistan.