How Not To Fight Corona: Tiger Force Is Waste Of Time, Money

How Not To Fight Corona: Tiger Force Is Waste Of Time, Money
Talha Javed analyses PM Imran Khan's decision to form a 'Corona Tiger Force' to fight the fallout of coronavirus. Such political stunts in times of a crisis are unfortunate and reveal how clueless the government is about the pandemic.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced the formation of a 'Corona Relief Tiger Force' to fight coronavirus. Youngsters have been asked to register for the program so they can fight the virus alongside government. The question is whether Pakistan has the time for such an exercise amid the prevailing situation. The volunteers who register for the force will be untrained individuals with no experience with rescue and relief activities. Moreover, how will it be ensured that those who are chosen as volunteers for this important task do have the capacity to carry out the activities required of them? In times of a pandemic which has claimed several lives around the globe and in Pakistan, the government is seeking to build a 'force' from scratch instead of utilising the manpower of the existing relief and rescue groups.

The decision has clearly not been thought through. Groups such as Pakistan Red Crescent and other organisations that are already on ground working towards provision of basic necessities to the needy should have been brought on board by the government. But it seems that the government is more interested in political stunts rather than doing something that will actually help contain the situation and provide relief to those affected by the lockdown.

Instead of this absurd step, the government should have engaged with NGOs and those individuals who have been on the ground during times of natural disasters and calamities and are well aware of how to reach out to people. 

Given how non-serious PM Imran Khan is about the pandemic, I fear that this 'Tiger Force' will do more harm than good. Because the inexperienced volunteers who are brought on board for the purpose of relief activities may be potential carriers of the coronavirus. The government has not announced any strategy on how the individuals who are included in the Tiger Force will be trained or educated about the virus. The PM's narrative that the virus is dangerous for old people only is also a problem here. Will the youngsters be told that they are not susceptible to the virus so they don't need to take any precautionary measures? The whole idea of this tiger force makes little sense.

This is not how you fight a pandemic!

The writer is a Lahore-based journalist.