The world is struggling to halt the spread of COVID 19, which has rapidly become a global phenomenon. The infectious virus initially originated from Wuhan, China has spread swiftly throughout the globe. It has so far infected 7.15million people around the world, out of which 408,025 have lost their lives till today. Pakistan is also affected by corona virus, where, total 119,536 cases have been reported so far with 2,356 registered deaths..
The first case of KP and Pakistan was reported on 10 March 20 from Manga, District Madan, where an entire family was infected by an individual with travel history to abroad. Despite various counter measures including temporary lockdown and reduced market timings, the number has steadily increased to 15,206 cases with 619 expiries. Federal and provincial government are constantly working together to overcome the pandemic, however, authorities have been overstretched due to lack of resources and facilities. In order to lessen the burden and utilize the youth workforce, government has initiated the Tiger Force Programme.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, during an address to the nation, announced the initiative of PM Tiger Force, with a purpose to engage the youth to defeat Covid 19. Furthermore, he also transferred the power to provincial governments to implement and involve youth effectively. The committees have been formed where at tehsil level, committee in-charge is Assistant Commissioner while at district level, committee in-charge is District Commissioner. The total registered volunteers so far are 10,05,592 in which 1,44,988 are from KP.
Assistant commissioner Talha Zubair informed Voice of KP, “registration of volunteers in Nowshera was about 12,500 males and 700 females. The active arrivals among the total were around 1000 while active participants were 500. District Administration main tasks includes quality management, isolation centers management, price control information, maintain social distancing and ensure implementation of SOP’s. These duties are given to youth according to their qualification, location and availability.”
At a societal level, many young people across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province are putting their communities ahead of themselves. They are not only helping to prevent and reduce the risk of transmission but also assisting those who are in dire need. In the same context, members of KP youth assembly are also very actively working on frontline to overcome the pandemic and lessen government burden.
While talking to KP Youth Assembly Chairman Daniyal Ahmad Paracha, he expressed that “as the world grapples with unprecedented challenges posed by the Covid 19 pandemic, we as a youth demonstrate our continued leadership in respective communities and play a role as researchers, activists, innovators, communicators, health workers and decision makers.”
Ghalib Kamal Durrani, MPA KP youth assembly said that I raise funds by posting on social media sites and even asking few donners personally to send donations. I have collected so far Rs.1,50,000 which have been used for those affected by coronavirus in different ways”.
Government has currently enforced partial lockdown and has restricted movement of public to ensure that corona do not spread rapidly. Tauseef Ali, member of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa youth assembly while sharing his views said “we live in the same world you do and face the same challenges. However, we dare to come out only to save the vulnerable, and marginalized members of our society. We the youth have a responsibility, and we know our duty.”
Pandemic has hit hardest the daily wagers and lower class who mainly depends on day today economy to earn their livelihood. The situation has been further made difficult by hoarders who have created artificial inflation of different items. Food availability has become a challenge for lower class and are compelled to starve at times. Imad Uddin Yousufzai, active volunteer at Swabi and youth MPA told us, “We distributed 1,250 to 1,320 food packages in Swabi among targeted daily wagers. Each of the food packages consists of 3-kg of rice and sugar each, 2.5-kg ghee and 20-kg sack of flour, tea, Dettol soap and rooh afza juice. One food package costs 2,500 which is enough for 3 to 5 family members up to 20 days.”
Corona pandemic is a global phenomenon which has over stretched global medical system, donor agencies such as WHO assistance packages and governance of the host countries. Situation in developing countries is further challenging due to lack of proper governance and shortage of funds. In such scenario, the role and participation of youth in relief activities and response mechanism is of paramount. Though Pakistan has taken the right steps so far, government still needs to streamline and focus more on utilizing this workforce.