Now that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that Pakistan has met virtually no pre-requisites for easing restrictions, and the numbers of both new cases and deaths are just too high, perhaps the government and the people will finally begin to take the situation a little more seriously. Most countries went for the relaxation once their graphs measuring new cases began to flatten, which makes perfect sense, but Pakistan lifted the lockdown when cases here were rising very steeply. And, to add to the government’s bad timing and indeed poor judgment, the people burst out on to the streets in complete disregard of all official advice and even common sense social distancing protocols considering the deadly nature of the virus. The result is that a lot more people are now dead and dying or suffering than would have been the case if both the government and the people had acted a little more responsibly.
Now the government truly faces a dilemma. One the one hand WHO has recommended a strict two-week lockdown, at least, yet on the other it has made such a strong case about the necessity of reopening that going back now will seriously hurt its reputation and standing. Already there is much discontent about the narrative of the federal government. Even the Supreme Court made so much known to the ruling party, pointing out that it had not initiated any legislation on the matter, besides handling a major crisis through press conference without putting in enough work on the ground. Then there are the sometimes difficult to understand positions of the prime minister himself; sometimes he calls it just a virus which is not dangerous at all and at other times he chides people for calling it just a virus which is not too dangerous.
Whether or not the government is right about the matter, it is abundantly clear that things just cannot go on in the manner that they are. And while the government can sometimes be forgiven for having too many concerns to deal with at any point in time, the behaviour of a large number of people is also dumbfounding. The only countries that have made any progress worth mentioning in the fight against the coronavirus are ones where people have led it by going the extra mile to make sure everybody followed social safety rules. Until the government and the people start acting more responsibly, we will only dig ourselves deeper into this hole.
India is going too far