Nisar A. Memon
11-May- 2020 – Pakistan Observer
Today, the whole world is talking about various aspects of a common enemy Covid-19. Whatever the reasons, rationale or conspiracy theories on the subject which are in abundance, the fact remains we are obsessed by this monster. The fear is monumental because there is no medicine and vaccine, but the positive aspect is availability of preventive shield which is simply to stay out of its possible contact by taking suggested precautions and isolation to insulate its entry into human body. So simple but yet not practiced, causing unprecedented halt!
It is ironic, that while internationally every one accepts it is a common war but yet the countries, states and cities are battling each other. China and USA, the two major economic powers though bruised by pandemic, do not see eye to eye on its origin. New York Governor has taken a course independent of Washington to fight pandemic. Citizens in many countries are either defying government instructions like in most of our cities, or are in streets protesting against continued lockdown like in Berlin. The scientists of different countries are researching in different directions, and world bodies offering differing programs.
In this backdrop, let’s see how we are faring. Pakistan federal government with its civil and military administration in Islamabad is on one page, if voices of some cabinet members were to be ignored. Parliament is still under lockdown but the parliamentarians are contesting each other vehemently in media. Judiciary has scores of questions from executive to allow it to be counted on same page. Unfortunately, a divisive debate rages whether to save lives from Covid-19 or from Hunger.
Federal and provincial governments, including the ruling party’s own governments in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, can be seen by all whether they are on one page or not. The business, trade and industry despite financial pressures have shown remarkable resilience to be on one page with provincial governments. Finally, the Ulemas came in to defy the government perceived to be weak is not a silver lining but ‘call to attention’ notice. At world stage, the pre-pandemic battles have generally witnessed a lull but in order for them not to be ‘lull before the storm’ the world leadership and world bodies must take immediate cognizance of gross human rights violation of Kashmiri’s by Hindutva Indian government and of Palestinians by Zionist Israel. Besides saving people against Covid-19, genuine collective efforts have to be made to save people from epidemics, poverty, and climate change challenges.
The intensity of Covid-19 sooner or later will recede but the world would have lost opportunity to be on one page in preparing itself for a peaceful and just world order with respect to Mother Earth and its children – the humans. In post-Coronavirus, people expect a new world order which is different from the one that emerged after World War I and II. The economic powers must concede their domineering role and neocolonialism; while developing economies must move away from aid, loan and support and ‘break the begging bowl’ if they wish to be sovereign.
But if the world emerges out of Covid-19 without learning the lessons of history, a disaster of unimaginable magnitude compared to pandemic may emerge and therefore all efforts must be made to avoid it. Let the world reboot and move on to live with new economies with different means of production, trade, communication; and new human relationship with dependable health and education systems.
Pakistan should shun deceit and petty politics and truly bring all on one page. It is time for introspection and be faithful to the oath of office and prepare country in letting it out of Covid-19 and safely sail through to post-Covid19 shores.
Government must remember it cannot avoid accountability, therefore all funds received from domestic and foreign sources in the name of pandemic are spent on it and highest transparency visible not in worlds but in deeds. Leadership cannot escape its responsibility by putting blame on humble souls in the team, particularly when every single word is in public eye and recorded. Difficult times require difficult decisions therefore the leadership should set an example for openly accepting the mistakes or even blunders. The maturity must return to government spokespersons and be true to oath not to use offices for personal gains. People have no appetite for Goebbelsian and shall not allow it in our body politics.
Parliament, the custodian of people’s mandate must assume its rightful role and increase its oversight on how each rupee is spent and on the concessions made through amendments in laws for virus on the urging of interest groups. People also expect parliament to debate and approve post-Covid-19 plans of recovery in the budget with new businesses, vocations with education and research to leap into knowledge age. Let there be a fierce battle in assemblies and senate, but not in the media, to bring all on one page towards nation building for sovereignty.
The entire leadership is on the spot. It is expected to unite to march forward to serve people; but in any eventuality the citizens can forge unity in their rank and file and save the situation with their inner moral strength, faith and determination to be on one page to avail of the post Covid-19 opportunities.
The writer is former: federal minister and senator