Perhaps, never before had the world faced such a fearful dilemma as it is facing now in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Personnel of the Lahore police, deployed to enforce the lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, are facing problems due to inconsistent policies of the administration, which they keep changing nearly on a daily basis. This is adding to the worries of the police, who like other human beings, are also under immense psychological stress due to the lingering pandemic. The ever-changing policies of the administration are hindering the performance of the law enforcers. A few days ago, as the authorities decided to ease the lockdown two-thirds of the more than 170 police pickets set up in the city were removed. However, the next day the lockdown was tightened and the pickets reappeared. The same night most of the pickets vanished again. The vanishing and reappearing of pickets continued with frequent loosening and tightening of the lockdown.
Quoting a senior police officer, a report in this newspaper says the lack of consistency in policies on the lockdown is due to two opinions prevailing among the decision-makers. One group is in favour of enforcing a strict lockdown to prevent the spread of the deadly virus. This group deals with those who are on the frontline of the fight against the microbe like doctors, paramedics and the police. The other group supports a smart lockdown in view of the severe economic consequences of a complete lockdown. Besides, there are people who believe in ‘herd immunity model’. They are also for a partial lockdown. If this model has worked in other countries, it can be given a cautious try. When caught between two evils one has to choose the lesser evil.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 29th, 2020.
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