Here’s Why The Corona Tiger Force Will Be Ineffective In Fight Against COVID-19
Throughout the history of Pakistan, the politics of name calling and point scoring against during the times of crisis has been a common practice. So when Imran Khan announced the new volunteer team called the ‘Tiger Force’ to battle the quick spread of Coronavirus, it was nothing far from the culture of politicising a pandemic.
Around the world, for instance, in the UK and Australia, volunteer outfits are tasked with three major functions: delivering food and medicines, driving patients to appointments and phoning the isolated.
In Pakistan, however, the force will carry out multiple activities at quarantine centers, take care of patients, provide adequate information to the public, and collect data regarding suspected patients and unemployed people. It will also identify hoarders and price violators.
It comes out as a result of absent provincial and local body governments hence the panacea lies in creating new structures in times of an emergency because years of incompetence cannot be curbed in a month.
This however is a classical brew for a managerial overlap, unending conflicts and threatening lack of coordination among different tiers of administration.
A million dollar question arises: Is it feasible at this point to create parallel conflicting structures given the fact the state institutions already suffer from the lack of administrative capacities and a dearth of monetary resources. The answer is an emphatic no.
The silver lining lies in reactivating the local body governments in the provinces through an executive order for a period of time till the country is back to normalcy. Firstly, local representatives should be consulted for the information on local realities, social networks and cultural sensibilities.
Secondly, the experience that they have had over the years with managing a local administration shall assist them in coordinating with the most pressing issues, accordingly.
Their affiliation with political and religious infrastructure in their respective areas will ensure the ease in mobilization and will help carry out the given tasks efficiently.
The local government can utilize their respective machinery, infrastructure and logistics in a better way than the new force which is supposed to operate on experimental bases.
In the west, volunteers are recruited by charity outfits in collaboration with state and society. This results in a combination of a productive public and private partnership. This could be an effective model for our crisis too.
My fear of the Coronavirus Relief Tiger Force’s ineffectiveness is based on the inevitable outcome that it is not a mutually agreed upon initiative. This force, due to lack of proper training, infrastructure and disaster management skills, will not be able to deliver the desired outcome.
It will only function across partisan lines which will create political cracks during a pandemic. There is a lingering fear of lack of accountability and transparency too.