Thank you PM for reading your script 6th time over
People at the grass-root level were expecting Prime Minister Imran Khan to come out with a complete new strategy to fight the menace of Covid-19 pandemic keeping in view the day-to-day worsening situation. Death toll is rising and so was the number of corona patients with massive load on the country’s limited health facilities.
But to everyone’s utter disappointment, Imran Khan ended up repeating his original script sixth time over denying the significance of strict lockdown and allowing further flow of people not only within the country but from outside in form of tourists as he announced the opening of tourism sector.
Conveniently, he forgot that Pakistan received this killing disease from those either coming from Iran via Taftan or those who came from abroad to attend the Raiwind religious congregation. This unchecked inflow of people from abroad led to spread of pandemic in many parts of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces. Those affected were hiding and it took massive efforts to trace them down for testing and subsequent treatment.
It appears from your oft-repeated statements Mr Prime Minister that the choice before you was to save people from hunger and let them die at the hands of the pandemic. Who are those Mr Prime Minister who put this choice before you despite the fact that the immediate requirement is to go for strict lockdown to identify the hotspots where there is a concentration of Covid-19 patients.
But contrary to this you were consistently in a denial mode to accept the very concept of coronavirus pandemic. Why was your opinion different from the rest of the world (200 plus countries) which opted for lockdown and later reaped the benefit of such a strict measure.
Mr Prime Minister, your cabinet colleagues, dozens of advisers and spokespersons consistently fooled people by projecting your mindset about lockdown which was based on God knows whose experience. They are still doing that. As a course they sang that the world leadership is following your vision and were softening the lockdown. They did not bother to consider that they were relaxing complete lockdown to smart one after having placed their respective countries for a prolonged lockdown for more than two months and that too when the corona cases started to recede in their respective countries.
Why this was not realised that Pakistan stands 5th in the world for charitable services and donations and never in the history have people died due to non-availability of food? Why this was not taken into consideration that lockdown is not an indefinite process. Experts say that primarily it is a 14-day process to monitor the growth of the virus and if needed could be extended for another two-week period.
In Sindh, initially some serious attempts were made to ensure imposing complete lockdown, closing business centres, schools, colleges, universities and offices which resulted in very limited number of Covid-19 patients and deaths.
Then Mr Prime Minister, you let loose you gang of ministers in Sindh who held press conferences and created an atmosphere against the provincial government’s measures. Your ministers including Ali Zaidi, Faisal Vawda, leader of the Opposition in Sindh Assembly instigated the small and big business organisations to forcibly open their shops and factories. They persuaded passengers and goods transporters to start plying their vehicles on the road. Later your team of ministers including Murad Saeed, Asad Umer, Sheikh Rashid in Islamabad engaged the ulema and allowed Taraveeh and prayers in mosques, madrassas and Imambargahs forcing Sindh ulema to follow suit.
The report submitted by the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department Punjab to the Chief Minister was not only ignored but was hushed up and finally rejected by ever-great CM Usman Buzdar leave alone taking or initiating any action on a horrible scenario not far away. The report said that there are likely to be over 670,000 Covid-19 patients in Lahore alone.
Mr Prime Minister, I do not subscribe to the Opposition’s criticism on your enjoying three-day Eid vocation in Nathiagali. But in the wake of such a killer Corona Virus taking its toll and the PIA plane crash that took the lives of 97 people, you should have taken time to visit Karachi to console the families of the victims whose bodies were not being identified besides reaching out to those poor people who you highly mention had been rendered jobless due to this pandemic and in your wisdom were dying due to food shortage.
One thing that is laudable is distribution of money to poor masses flawlessly mainly because the Army was supervising the process. You must have observed that initially there were reports of some malpractices but later the military personnel ensured that no one was cheated.
Otherwise, where is your Tiger Force that was assigned to reach out to needy people and help them by delivering rations and other necessities of life? They were bound to make people aware of the steps to be taken to escape this pandemic. You termed them volunteers while the Opposition branded them a political entity and they quoted your statement in which you said that Tiger Force’s activities would help us strengthen our constituencies and in winning the next general elections.
Mr Honourable Prime Minister, please face the ground realities that so far your strategy to counter the Covid-19 has flopped if not completely failed. Great people always learn from their mistakes and avoid being stubborn. Your team has let you down. Pick up a new team of experts and launch a hectic campaign to do that needs to be done in a prioritised manner before it is too late. Time is of essence and no one can afford the luxury of wasting it.
Let’s not cite Narendra Modi’s example instead let’s follow those models that have delivered. We must look for successful models like , Taiwan, Malaysia, Nepal, Maldives and many other countries who have limited resources like us and yet had achieved maximum positive results.
Mr Prime Minister, kindly stop your ministers, spokespersons and advisers to generate provincialism that could be fatal for the Federation. Similarly, avoid the poisonous propaganda against the 18th Amendment. Don’t we know the price of manipulating the Constitution for no matter what consideration? Have the patience to wait till next general elections. Win the two-thirds majority and then whatever you wish to do with this sacred document that is the only insurance for keeping the country united.