Tenants try to survive in virus-hit economy

Socioeconomic repercussions of lockdown leave citizens vulnerable

Muhammad Shahzad May 24, 2020
A Reuters file image.

LAHORE: After the coronavirus disease was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the country entered a lockdown which curbed economic activities across the country.

A lack of appropriate measures to counter socio-economic repercussions in wake of the lockdown to counter Covid-19 resulted in gaps not mitigated by the government, leaving a negative impact on different stratas of society.

In Pakistan, the poor have been severely impacted by the lockdown situation.

Noor Elahi, among such victims, rode a motorcycle for an private online taxi service as his only means of livelihood. Since the lockdown was imposed, Punjab government banned pillion riding, leaving Noor’s only source of income blocked.

Noor hails from a village and had migrated to the city in search of livelihood. In order to survive in the big city, he rented a house near Bhatta Chowk.

He had cleared the dues of his landlord. However, after the lockdown he was among many working class people who were affected massively and failed to make payments including rent and other dues.

When he failed to pay the dues, the landlord started pressuring him otherwise. In frustration, he was left with no other option but to approach the police.

Noor recorded his complaint with Superintendent of Police, Cantonment office, where he stated that he had lost his employment due to the lockdown and the landlord had asked him to vacate the house. He was suffering from serious stress issues, he added.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, he said that when he initially approached the police station, the police officials there asked him to beg to the landlord for relaxation but the landlord was not ready to listen to him.

During the process, a lawyer met him and asked for Rs6,000 to settle the issue through court. Noor remarked that he told the lawyer that if he had this much money, he would have paid the landlord.

At the police office, the staff first asked him to get an application written.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2020.


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