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PM’s ‘Self Belief’ Statement Reveals His Cluelessness About Coronavirus Pandemic

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Farhatullah Babar writes about PM Imran Khan’s criticism of the Sindh government over its decision to impose lockdown to contain coronavirus outbreak and that ‘self belief’ is enough to fight coronavirus.

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement that ‘self belief’ is enough to fight coronavirus is medieval nonsense at public expense. It only shows that Imran Khan has not grasped the magnitude of the pandemic challenge.

While he should be heeding the advice of health professionals including his own Special Assistant on Health within the country and the World Health Organisation (WHO), he is pandering to the clergy and yielding to their demands.

WHO has warned that there could be over 200,000 corona cases by mid July that will double the number of people living in poverty if effective measures were not adopted. But just when WHO was sounding this warning the PM was advocating ‘self belief’ and sharing platform with Moulana Tariq Jameel on the Telethon seemingly endorsing the remarks of the Moulana that the pandemic was caused by women who dress themselves ‘immodestly’.

Worse still, when the Sindh government, on the advice of health professionals, restricted Friday congregational prayers and the taraveeh prayers the Prime Minister dismissed it as ‘panic response’. By such thoughtless and irresponsible statements the PM unfortunately has gravely undermined the national effort to contain the pandemic.

Taking a cue from the Prime Minister, other state functionaries have also been speaking in a way as if to persuade people to ignore Sindh government policy decisions. The example of Dubai is flaunted which has ended lockdown and opened mosques for prayers and the Sindh government’s decisions questioned.

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Those flaunting Dubai’s example do not tell the people that Dubai screened one out of ten of its citizens before taking the decision. They do not tell the people that testing facilities in Pakistan are abysmal.

In a population of 220 million we have tested only about 100,000. It means just one has been tested out of every 2200 persons. Who know how many potential carriers and transmitters of the virus are in Pakistan?

Building a case on half truths is outrageous; building it against lockdown for political motivations to oppose a non PTI provincial government is criminal.

As a matter of fact the PM is clueless and takes random decisions without a thought. At a time when there was need to reach out to the poor and cater to the daily wagers the government announced package to the benefit of the land developers, big builders and construction tycoons. Tax exemptions seem perfectly designed to benefit Pakistan’s largest real estate enterprise, the DHAs, hardly the poor.

The PM has announced to use the tracing and tacking system of ISI ostensibly to track down the carriers of virus avoiding quarantine. ISI is supposed to track down militants. Involving it in the pandemic is unwise and thoughtless. It risks patients being viewed as criminals and dangerously extend the footprint of ISI in civilian matters.

And of course it also runs counter to the PM prescription of ‘self belief’ in fighting corona, howsoever illogical that prescription may be.

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