Depending on enemy’s drugs in war-like situation

Published: 05:53 PM, 12 May, 2020
Depending on enemy’s drugs in war-like situation
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How can Pakistan’s ties with India be categorized? Is India an enemy? If so, is it really being treated like one? Is import of medicines from an enemy country justifiable?

These questions have arisen following some disturbing media reports that Pakistan is importing over “450 medicines” from India. The newspaper that came up with report has based the story on a document of the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS).

The import continues despite the fact that the federal government, after India annexed Kashmir on Aug 5 last year, had suspended all kinds of trade with its eastern neighbor.

The report says that initially the pharmaceutical industry had appealed to the government to relax the ban decision for clearance of those goods already imported from India that had reached the country’s airport/seaport. In the wake of the appeal it was decided by the government to relax the rules and goods were cleared.

However, as a large number of medicines and its raw material used to be imported from India, the pharmaceutical industry started demanding that the ban should be lifted on Indian medicines and the raw material because otherwise within a few weeks, the country might face a severe shortage of medicines especially life-saving drugs.

The government succumbed to the pressure.

Later it emerged that all kinds of medicines are being imported in the name of life-saving drugs.

The document of the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS), presented before the federal cabinet on May 5 states that the prime minister in his capacity as Minister In-charge for NHS has sought a list of drugs being imported from India.

The document, signed by MHS Secretary Dr Tanveer Ahmed Qureshi, shows that a number of vaccines, including BCG, Polio and Anti Tetanus Vaccine, have been imported. Moreover, a number of vitamins, including B1, B2, B6, B12, D3, Zinc Sulphate Monohydrate, are also being imported from India.

An official of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan, requesting not to be quoted, said that initially it was claimed that cancer patients would suffer if import of medicines and their raw material from India were stopped. However, later on all kinds of medicines were imported from India.

This is something very serious.

In the subcontinent if someone murders somebody’s close relative or friend for whatever reasons, the murderer, his relatives and friends are treated like enemies. Since Islam also permits life for life, eye for eye kind of revenge, relations between the two sides remain tense unless at least the score is settled or some reconciliation mechanism is worked out. There is no concept of normalization of ties before that.  

Now compare this situation to India occupying since decades what is the jugular vein of Pakistan. Then it annexed occupied Kashmir, a step that further ignited tensions between the two neighboring countries.

The enslaved Kashmiris have pinned all hopes on Pakistan. They take Pakistan as their counsel to present their case at the international level.  They are enduring India barbarism, hoping that one day their sacrifices will bear fruit and they will get an opportunity to accede to Pakistan.

Reports of import of Indian medicines in these circumstances will certainly shatter their dreams. Some of them may even portray the move as a stab in their back, which from point of view may be absolutely justified.

They want India treated like an enemy, and there is no concept of trade with the enemy in any situation. Perhaps, there is little justification even for diplomatic ties with the enemy. They should have been severed after August 5, 2019.

It is a matter of great shame for the PTI government that it is importing hundreds of medicines from India. Still more shameful is the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association’s demand that the import should continue.

These people are more interested in their monetary gains than their obligations towards national interests. They are devoid of national honour and dignity, to say the least.

The PTI government should have the matter thoroughly probed and all those who allowed the import of medicines from the enemy country should be awarded exemplary punishment.

It should also be a matter of great concern for the military leadership which is supposed to be watchful of the even minutest details of dealings with an enemy. If the import of drugs has been going on with their consent, then God save the Islamic republic.

Categories : Opinion
Ashraf Mumtaz

The writer is the Deputy Editor of 24 Digital.