Now that the total number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan has almost reached 70,000 and about one-and-a-half-thousand people have already died, perhaps the government should spend some time finding out just why the graph has risen so steeply over the last few weeks and share whatever conclusion it reaches with the public. Transparency is one of its hallmarks, after all, or so it likes to believe. Most likely whoever looks into these things will find two major reasons for most if not all of these problems. One, of course, is that people do not respect nor observe social distancing protocols so it’s only natural that more of them catch the virus at the end of the day. If only they had behaved more responsibly when social interaction restarted, there’s no doubt that things would not have been so bad and such an investigation would not even have to be called for.
Yet what most pundits do not say much about especially in the press, perhaps rightly so much considering just how the high and mighty of the present administration dislike any kind of criticism, is just what role the federal government played in this whole mess. No doubt it mobilised with admirable speed to divert resources towards the economy – to keep markets from drying and employers from laying off workers, of course – but what it said and how it acted about the most important factor didn’t just leave a lot to be desired, but also played a big part in worsening the whole situation as well. For Prime Minsiter Imran Khan was dead against social distancing, especially the lockdown, since the beginning. And even with Sindh went ahead with the lockdown first, the able and respected prime minister did not stop hitting political jabs at the PPP government down south over the matter.
Even more strangely, even PTI’s own provincial governments and allies in other provinces also decided to shut things down – because that is what the moment demanded – the prime minister called it a conspiracy on part of the affluent upper class. Even that was not all, he kept his line even though the much of the world agreed that the number-one reason that some countries were able to bring down cases – flatten the curve as it were – was precisely because of timely and effectively social distancing. Then the Supreme Court intervened as well, in a manner that no other court in the world did, but the less said about that matter in such spaces the better. Pakistan’s latest numbers about new cases and even deaths are shocking indeed, but a close and cold look will show just who is chiefly responsible. The honour to command comes with the burden of command, after all.
A new low for India