By Senator Rehman Malik
Since its outbreak in Pakistan, I have been observing our national approach against coronavirus very closely and I feel that right from day one, as a nation, we are confused in our day-to-day actions. Corona is given a free hand in Pakistan to make its entry from any direction as by now, the mighty virus has found that our policy is hardly putting up any resistance to stop its spread. Even our national slogan is, “Corona sey darna nahee”, hence we are not afraid of corona. One must have seen no such slogan anywhere in the world where people are asked to not be afraid of this deadly pandemic which is rapidly multiplying. There is an open field for corona to bat in Pakistan as the virus is the captain itself and also has a built-in 11-member team and is playing without match-fixing and ball-tampering.
Most recently, corona’s grand entry was seen in the kitchen of PM House and the Parliament building and it made successful attacks on the speaker of our National Assembly and many parliamentarians, whereas Chairman Senate had a narrow escape. Coronavirus successfully attacked the JUI leadership followed by the PPP leadership including entry into Bilawal House, however Shehbaz Sharif does not want to give a chance to corona and he is avoiding contact with it.
While sparing none, coronavirus has also made successful attacks on police and so far, it has preyed many of our doctors, paramedics, and other officials from different departments. We know our PIA is its hot favourite place, and corona travelled as a complimentary guest and its entry was not blocked at airports properly but was allowed to freely enter and roam across the country. Corona was welcomed with 7500 brave Pakistanis who transported it to Pakistan from Iran without any hindrance at the border and many others from the rest of the world. Rather than be countered and stopped, coronavirus was welcomed at the airports, borders, and all entry points with full protocol and yes, corona faced no difficulty while traveling across the country.
Corona must have realised we are a hospitable nation and also foolishly brave and see we are welcoming it without masks and following no SOPs that can keep it away from us; we are actually not afraid of it. We especially go to the markets to spread and multiply its guests, we carry corona within ourselves and pass it on to our neighbours, guests, and loved ones through handshaking and embracing each other saying, “We are not afraid of corona”. Corona travelled all over the world and nobody welcomed it and some countries locked it down and kicked it out of their countries but in Pakistan, we host corona and take care of it as our guest. Our authorities are dancing on the tunes of corona and our leaders discussed corona with world leaders and talk negatively about corona whereas as a matter of fact, we are allowing corona to flourish without resistance. If we are afraid of corona is our national slogan, our brave nation with its brave leadership is finding with great courage giving no hindrance by not enforcing the notified SOPs to kill corona. Say thanks to our leadership who even does not know about this devil with a mighty stature within the viruses.
Corona is gradually leading us to be the bravest nation on this earth and be least bothered by this deadly image of the mighty killer and for this unmatched bravery, the UNSC and WHO will soon consider to declare us the most hot-favourite nation of COVID 19. Soon there will be an assembly of UNSC considering the highest award to the top leadership of Pakistan and the Pakistani nation for being so hospitable for coronavirus and for not being afraid of corona. Corona, after taking a world tour where it was dealt with seriously, must be surprised due to no resistance in Pakistan.
The Prime Minister was gracious not to lock corona down in the streets, restaurants, malls and public places; everywhere corona received a warm welcome by its victims and provided a good medium for its local transmission so that more than 80 percent of cases have been caused by local transmission. Thus, we welcomed corona out of being non-serious in our actions.
In the beginning days of its entry, it was resisted by the anti-lobby but this anti-lobby was outnumbered. Thanks to our government which provided corona the opportunities, the virus has now registered hosts to the tune of more than 80 thousand and there are many who have been rolled in the registers and corona is growing quickly and efficiently.
One of corona’s anti-hosts is the Secretary Health Punjab who already announced 700000 infections in Lahore. The corona lobby is following the ‘Darna nahee, ghabrana nahee, bus hum ney marna hai’ mantra. Corona is going to have its way at the cost of many lives in Pakistan. One of its anti-lobbyist in Pakistan is Rehman Malik and his committee members who were the first to oppose its entry at its early arrival at airports and all entry points but all his efforts have failed to get a lockdown and stop corona from its entry Pakistan.
It was February 29, when corona was killing the people in our neighbouring countries China and Iran; we assessed its potential attack and spread and so formulated a 37-point anti-coronavirus national action plan to stop it before it reaches our border and starts killing our people, but all in vain. I commend you, coronavirus, as you really proved to be powerful and won. The anti-corona lobbyists and many renowned doctors and intellectuals have lost their voice against it and today, corona has conquered Pakistan successfully. If the 37-point national action plan, formulated by the Senate Standing Committee on Interior, was implemented, I bet it could not have made its big entry in Pakistan and would have not killed more than 2000 of us and infected more than 80000 fellow Pakistanis to date.
History is very cruel and one day this foolish welcome will become accountable. Even though corona may not be here but corona’s genetic creator will not be able to stop the unfolding of this national incompetence. This piece of writing is based on my continued observation and I hope the government and public will take my observation seriously and not in a light way though I have purposefully written in a lighter tone to attract the attention of the public to follow SOPs and start fighting coronavirus in full letter and spirit. Let’s save our own and the lives of our fellow Pakistanis and our beloved ones by strictly following all the measures against coronavirus before it reaches every home. This is not an attack on any particular authority, but is a suggestion of the way to be followed by everyone, whoever has some role in policymaking. Please mark my words as there is no other way except to enforce SOPs through force of law.
Note: Opinions expressed are solely my own and not necessarily to reflect the views or opinions of my party.
(The writer is a PPP Senator, former Interior Minister of Pakistan and Chairman of think tank “Global Eye” and Senate Standing Committee on Interior. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter @Senrehmanmalik)