Bitter truth

Published: May 21, 2020

KARACHI: There have been many ongoing debates regarding the decision to end the lockdown in the country. Even though businessmen and retailers across the country have taken a huge sigh of relief at the announcement, a vast majority of people have argued against it. While citizens continue to argue on social media platforms over the effectiveness of the decision, there are a number of things that need to be taken into consideration.

Being a Third World country under much financial pressure, Pakistan’s economy does not have the capability to bear the brunt of a complete shutdown of all economic activities. This is the bitter truth. While one may believe that the economy should not be a cause for concern during such an unprecedented crisis in which thousands of people are dying from the outbreak of a deadly virus, it is important to face ground realities. The fact of the matter is that the rest of the world, including the West, is also struggling to keep up with their failing economic systems. For this purpose, the opening up of essential businesses and marketplaces in order to keep the country functional appears an understandable step. However, the decision is also met with huge drawbacks in densely-populated cities like Karachi where people ignorantly flock to their nearest bazaars to shop for Eid while blatantly violating Covid-19 SOPs and protocols.

It is understandable for citizens to connote a certain sentiment towards the Eid holidays by shopping enthusiastically. However, we cannot forget the peculiar circumstances that the nation is currently facing. It is literally a matter of life and death. By all means, we need a sense of normalcy, but while relishing the normal please do not put yourself and others at risk. The last thing we want is to burden our frontline workers with a mass influx of cases.

Shahram Ali

Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2020.

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