Around the world, the governments are trying to safeguard their citizens as they scramble to contain the deadly Wuhan virus. Pakistan on the other hand has entirely different priorities as its Prime Minister Imran Khan is even failing to shut down mosques. The Pakistan government refuses to take the Wuhan virus seriously and according to the local political activists, there is a possibility that the Pakistan government is deliberately spreading coronavirus to receive international aid and the latest action of Imran Khan give substance to such allegations.
Pakistan has now more than 1,200 cases of coronavirus with the suspected cases being 7,736. So far the country has reported 9 fatalities of the virus. The government has not been able to control the virus as it willingly succumbs to religious fanaticism and seems like Pakistan is not able to cope up with the pandemic.
However, on a closer look it seems that the country is upto something nefarious. Recently, Pakistan army forced the coronavirus positive patients to move from the Punjab province to PoK and Gilgit. PoK and Gilgit are two of the most oppressed and marginalised under Pakistan’s occupation. There are hardly any medical facilities to tackle the pandemic and the decision to force the patients to PoK and Gilgit where just one positive case has been reported raised eyebrows.
The province of Punjab is strategically important as it consists of army facilities and housing and under the ambit of ‘cleansing’ Punjab, the positive cases have been forcibly shifted leading to widespread protests.
The indigenous Kashmiri locals have staged protests as the region lacks infrastructure and trained medical staff to tackle the pandemic. There is genuine fear that the region will be under the grip of the Wuhan virus in not time. This has led to the belief that the Pakistan government is deliberately spreading the Wuhan virus so as to secure international aid.
Nasar Aziz Khan, the spokesperson of United Kashmir People’ National Party was quoted, “As soon as coronavirus started spreading across Pakistan, they did not take it seriously. In Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), there was only one positive case. Positive cases of coronavirus from Punjab province are being shifted to Mirpur city of PoK. Here, there are no basic health facilities and they used to take their patients to other parts of Pakistan for treatment. Some patients die while transporting them to hospitals due to poor road infrastructure”.
Aziz further added that let alone having trained doctors and testing kits to test for the coronavirus, the region doesn’t even have the basic infrastructure to conduct blood an urine tests. When locals protested against the plan of shifting hundreds of patients of the virus into the region, they were harassed.
While completely turning a blind eye to the lack of preparedness to tackle the pandemic, Imran Khan has yet again sought international aid for Pakistan to fight the pandemic as he claimed that Pakistan would run out of money if the situation is not brought under control at the earliest.
Earlier this month, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank committed to provide $588 million to Pakistan to help the country fight the Wuhan virus.
Recently, the country has sought US $3 billion loan from three multilateral creditors under the garb of the impending economic crisis due to the pandemic. Finance Adviser to Imran Khan, Abdul Hafeez Shaikh addressing a news conference said that apart from the US $1.4 billion loan the nation secured from the IMF, Pakistan will also be receive loans from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank as they will extend loans of US $1 billion and US $1.25 billion respectively.
This comes in the backdrop of the IMF led bailout of Pakistan last year as the country secured a $6 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund. However, Imran Khan’s true aim is to secure international aid in addition to the loans. Prime Minister Imran Khan recently urged the world to deliberate on ‘debt write-offs’ to help Pakistan cope with the pandemic.
“The world community has to think of some sort of a debt write-off for countries like us, which are very vulnerable, at least that will help us in coping with (the coronavirus),” said Imran Khan. He further warned that if the pandemic hits Pakistan, any hopes of lifting the country’s ailing economy would be permanently vanquished as exports would fall off, unemployment would soar and an onerous national debt would become an impossible burden.
On Pakistan’s request, the USA has designated Pakistan as ‘a priority country’ and has decided to extend aid worth $1 million to fight the pandemic.
There is no doubt that the poor countries should be helped with aid to fight the pandemic as it is in the bets interests of the human civilisation. However, the Pakistan government has made no attempts to fight the pandemic and appears to be utterly confused. They haven’t even been able to stop religious congregation despite the looming threat of the Wuhan virus.
At such a precarious time, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan led by the pretty-faced Imran Khan is absolutely relaxed and is taking no preventive measures as the Imran Khan government is living in denial as the radical Islamists in Pakistan’s ruling party has left the battle against the Wuhan virus in the hands of Allah.
The US government’s recent decision to cut defence aid to Pakistan from $1 billion to $150 million has severely hampered the country’s military and political class as they don’t have enough money to keep the pockets warm and continue to fund its terrorist operations against India.
Such is the panic and the nature of the virus that even a lethargy of one nation can put the world on the brink with case in point being China. Pakistan is far worse off than China when it comes to medical infrastructure and a panicked world is merely likely to grant aids to Pakistan so as to contain the Wuhan virus pandemic.
The current scenario and the lack go any action to contain the virus has increasingly given substance to the allegation that the Pakistan government is milking the virus to secure international aid which doesn’t bode well for its citizens.