By Irfan Mahar*
The Covid-19 pandemic has wrapped the whole world in its trap, with people in various societies are discussing it. In this regard, multiple points of view concerning Covid-19 have been floating within communities throughout the world, particularly Pakistan.
Discussions among people are happening that Coronavirus is not as such dangerous as Social Media portrays it. It is Media which has been trying to sensationalize the news regarding this pandemic. Many people consider that this virus is the creation of any entity which could be individual, interest group, organization, a multinational firm, state or pharmaceutical industrial complex and they are doing the business of terror/fear. Because it is the business of terror that has been practised or spread by interest groups to achieve their ends, in this regard, they are sensationalizing the news about Covid-19 as they could create fear among the people and waiting for the right time to disclose their plans. Such as preparation of “Vaccine” or any other medicine which could apply for curing this disease to get rid of it. And that medicine could be sold at high prices and everyone would be ready to buy it at any cost because it’s a matter of life and death while it is not confirmed yet from the available data that how the outbreak of this pandemic happen.
Moreover, it is believed by the vast majority of people within Pakistan that the Coronavirus itself is not too much dangerous as fear/terror is created within the minds of people. Many people throughout Pakistan have the view that the fear created through social Media has many psychological effects on them rather than the virus itself. In this regard, no country has complete knowledge of this virus. So, many questions are unanswered about this pandemic, such as from where did it come? How did the outbreak of virus happen? And how should it be tackled? There are multiple kinds of prescriptions and preventive measures issued by medical experts and the World Health Organization (WHO) to avoid the spread of Coronavirus. Yet there is no any country which has a complete mechanism to coup with this pandemic. There are thousands of people who don’t even come to know they are carrying the Coronavirus infection and after some time, they become disinfected without any proper treatment or medicine. It is the reason that has made this issue more complicated and convoluted.
Experts in the field of medical sciences say that Covid-19 leaves severe effects on people who are already keeping multiple diseases or who are aged. But it does not mean that young people are safe and the virus is not going to affect them. There is only the difference of intensity of attack that touches more on people already suffering from any disease. Furthermore, the people who are in hospitals because of Coronavirus infection have more death ratio than the infected people who quarantine themselves at homes. There could be a psychological effect behind this because the people at the hospital feel more vulnerable, take more pressure, and feel more fear. Because of such an environment, the results of the virus are more on them. While on the other hand, people who are in self-quarantine or quarantined home they take less pressure, less fear, and less vulnerable, so virus affects them less.
As for as Pakistan is concerned, there is a massive portion of the population, particularly un-educated class deny the existence of Coronavirus. They don’t even believe that there is anything like Coronavirus. They have the view that this is the plan or strategy of the West, and it wants to subdue and control the Muslims. When they face with the question that West is more effected than Muslims, they reply that it is the only drama of West that intentionally or according to plan shows the increase in cases or deaths nothing else. Though they are uneducated people and don’t have such understanding of global affairs and conducts but sometimes the predictions of these people prove right. The projections of such people do not base on facts and figures rather general understanding and historical record of West concerning Muslims. Besides, the dual policies and actions West has been following against Muslims since long, and it has remained involved in the massacre of Muslims throughout the world; therefore, a portion of Muslims consider it the conspiracy of the West.
At one hand, many people were raising the voice against the government about poverty and lack of money that how they were going to eat three times meal and survive in that situation of lockdown. At another hand, as soon as ease in lockdown was announced by the government people, who didn’t have money to eat a meal and survive, went for Eid shopping and invested a considerable amount of money in shopping. It is the condition of our nation where many people are out of mind. They only have a head without understanding, wisdom, and sense of responsibility. They carry empty heads without brain, rationality, and intellect. Here one cannot only blame the uneducated class of the country who deny the existence of COVID-19 and do not follow the SOPs. But the educated class of the country is more responsible for monitoring the SOPs provided by the government.
While as for as the so-called educated class of Pakistan is concerned, after the announcement of ease in lockdown, most of the big cities having the highest literacy rate such as Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and other multiple towns experience the massive crowd. Where so-called educated people are crushing the SOPs under their feet; in this regard, only uneducated people are victims of blames; rather educated people are more responsible for the spread of Coronavirus within the country. The educated-class of big cities is not going to follow the instructions, rules and SOPs than how they could expect from the most of the people of rural areas and uneducated class to follow SOPs and regulations instructed by the government. In this regard, the country experiences a massive increase in the number of cases concerning Covid-19 because of ease in lockdown and carelessness of people.
There is one most important thing which the government, as well as the people of Pakistan, must remember that is the second wave of the pandemic. Moreover, the second wave could prove the most deadly and dangerous as a century ago, the second wave of Spanish Flu proved fatal. At that time, a strict civilian lockdown was the best way to fight as well as control the spread of disease. But the government was not ready “to risk crippling the war efforts by keeping munitions factory workers and other civilians home. Besides, “the relentless needs of warfare justified incurring the risk of spreading infection and encouraged Britons to carry on during the pandemic simply.” In this regard, governments did not take seriously to quarantine the people properly, and that became the cause of the fast spread of disease. Therefore, the government of Pakistan also needs to think over the decision of easing the lockdown seriously by keeping in mind the increasing number of Coronavirus cases. Moreover, unserious and immature behaviour of people who are not even following the preventive measures, social distancing, and other instructions by the government and World Health Organization (WHO) to curb the fatal disease.
*The writer is PhD scholar in the Department of Defense and Strategic Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad, Pakistan.