It is a fact that Pakistan was late in formulating response measures for the looming crisis of Coronavirus even after the pandemic had reached Iran and killed hundreds. But political leadership still reacted wisely and has put in concerted efforts to control the outbreak of the Covid-19 in the country.
Besides providing facilities to the masses and health departments, the political leadership and government is asking the nation to come together and defeat the coronavirus epidemic.
Government has gone an extra mile to create awareness among the masses through mainstream and social media. Prime Minister also chaired a parliamentary meeting of all the parties in a bid to unite the political leadership and convey a message of unity to the rest of the world.
Amidst all these efforts, an alarming trend is emerging within public regarding who ‘brought the disease to the country’. This trend seems to be taking a sectarian colour, creating friction among different sects and religious groups. Such development needs to be tackle urgently before it threatens national unity.
In the most recent development, many so called religious scholars are accusing Special Assistant to the PM for Overseas Pakistanis Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari for the spread of disease in Pakistan. They accused that he used his influence to allow certain individuals returning from Iran to skip the mandatory 14-day quarantine. Number of prominent personalities including some politicians and TV show hosts have also blamed Zulfi Bukhari for ‘importing’ coronavirus to Pakistan.
In another development, Tablighi Jamaats have also become victim of this blame game. They are being targeted by a coordinated social media campaign, where they are blamed for the spread of virus. It is important to mention that the deadly coronavirus does not discriminate. It will attack anyone, regardless of socio-economic background, nationality or religion. Blaming any particular sect or religious group for spreading the virus is mere point scoring and an effort to politicise the pandemic. It does not matter if a potential victim prays in a mosque, church or another sacred place, all are vulnerable.
It is also important to mention that government initiative such as national volunteer force ‘Corona Relief Tigers’ can only be successful if we put aside our ethnic and political differences and fully participate in these initiatives. The sooner we realise this, the better it will be for all of us.
The virus, first detected in China late last year, has spread around the world faster than many expected. Doctors, scientists and research specialists have been trying to establish a pattern and come up with treatment. However, so far, no such vaccine has been prepared yet. Precautionary measures are the only reliable treatment which is a lengthy process and require full public support and unity. Any discord at this point will pull us down making the recovery process more painful and costly.