KARACHI: The lockdown process in Pakistan was greatly affected by insecure leadership and ambiguous decisions which created much obscurity regarding the enforcement of a complete, partial or smart lockdown across the country. Furthermore, in addition to the Supreme Court’s recent judgment on the unconstitutional nature of halting business activities, the federal government has taken a step further by allowing transport services to resume. Clerics have followed suit by defying the ban on congregational prayers while the federal government keeps reiterating that since Pakistan is already battling social and economic issues at multiple fronts, a continued lockdown could further lead to chaotic situations and protests across the country. One may shudder at the very fact as to what might happen in the next few weeks, as social distancing measures are being blatantly violated with marketplaces becoming increasingly congested and crowded.
Whatever the case, ground realities should not be ignored as Pakistan is among the top 20 most coronavirus-affected countries in the world. The official death toll has not been a cause for concern but the fact that 45,000 people have been infected to date is a glaring piece of evidence that the situation should not be taken lightly. With basic precautions being set aside and the pressure on an already fragile healthcare system increasing, the death and infection rate could very easily start rising exponentially. It is also disheartening to see that the plea from doctors to enforce regulations across the country have fallen on deaf ears.
It is obvious that the leadership is in a state of flux with no unified strategy in place. It seems that they have placed the needs of the economy above the health of the general public. At this point in time, the need of the hour is to try and strike a balance between the two to avoid any chaos from erupting on either front in the near future.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 22nd, 2020.