Nisar A. Memon
22-June- 2020 – Pakistan Observer
COVID-19 has infected aver 8.7 million worldwide, with nearly half a million fatalities. Beijing has reported fresh outbreak and their leadership putting ‘wartime’ measures to contain the spread by enforcing strict lockdown and testing once again. Europe is opening up after huge loss of life and prolonged lockdown.
Pakistan takes 14th position in worldometers with over 165,000 infections and 3,229 deaths. The Government has put up alarms heralding the significant spread in coming weeks, and Islamabad is caught choosing between virus deaths versus poverty.
Citizens of the world are looking at results of 135 vaccines in development to fight against the coronavirus, but the citizens of Pakistan are left to varying focuses in different regions.
Citizens pray that the leadership seek guidance from Quran to handle the affairs of Islamic Republic of Pakistan and turn away from old beaten political path of vengeance against the political adversaries, foreign begging bowls to provide oxygen to ailing economy, growing social conflicts, unrelenting discrimination against women, people defiance of the government, habitual washing of dirty linen in public, and undermining the parliament. The list is long with its long shadows on our future.
Whoever is perpetuating this is unacceptable and all those who are party to this are condemnable in strongest words. No justification stands to reason. What is going on is simply unacceptable. The key current national issues remain to be addressed are: uniform policy for handling pandemic; insufficient public health, education and services; foreign dependence for national budget, continued corruption and inefficiencies.
Last week’s visit of Prime Minister to Sindh without showing necessary sympathy to kith and kin of medical and paramedics who succumbed to virus during supreme service; apathy to Karachi PIA crash; and non interaction with provincial Chief Executive has not helped create congenial environment to govern this sovereign nation.
All this negates the nature’s gifts, institutional build up of over these 70 years by some good men and women, youthful population, strategic geopolitical advantage, strong standing army to defend frontiers and strategic weapons at the cost of social sectors.
If the past governments had not given us the mobile telecommunication and internet network, it would have been rather hard for citizens to connect in lockdown due to pandemics. We are poised to move to next stage where Information Technology infrastructure connects all the people and systems within the federation for needed services and businesses.
Institutions must protect themselves to fight disasters like COVID-19, locust swarms, food security, upcoming dengue spread, and any possible adventure on our frontiers and on line of control. All this can be addressed by protecting the Constitution and not playing with it anymore. Let’s not open the settled issues. Power must be retained by good governance and conflict management and not by conflict creation and crisis development and polluting the political landscape. Judiciary, parliament, and civil services like armed forces must do self accountability and if current laws are inadequate they should request parliament for new laws to make them strong to defend Pakistan. We have all kinds of TV channels: news, entertainment, religion, sport but none for parliament. We talk a lot about China, let’s learn the lesson from them where President comes from the grass root before presiding over the destiny of millions.
Citizens can pray, appeal to those in power, and urge all institutions to strengthen themselves to save the federation and its Constitution.
The writer is former, federal minister and senator
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