COVID-19 Threat: What the West Can Learn from Pakistan?

Pakistan is handling the COVID-19 or commonly called Corona Virus threat very well. This is not only the government’s glory to bask in, it is also the people of Pakistan that are reacting very wisely to the situation.

As a nation, we have come out stronger than frankly anyone could’ve imagined.

Now there is an obvious bias in the media and a huge knack for self-loathing for people of a particular mindset. You might be reading this and thinking you have been hearing nothing but complaining. But closer observation of the fact will you otherwise.

Not panicking

The West is struggling to deal with the fact that the virus has disrupted their daily lives – we, not so much. There is a strange sense of calmness amongst Pakistani people. Yes, we are practicing caution. Yes, we are doing social distancing but we are not seeing this scenario as a doomsday equivalent.

Pakistani people are not panic buying stuff. We are not hoarding stuff. We are concerned about shortage of some supplies, but it is nothing serious.

To the credit of Pakistani people, this is a huge achievement. To be able to keep your head when the world around you is panicking is a serious victory.

Rationing and managing everyday products

All the provincials and federal governments have done a remarkable job of rationing necessary items. It has been months since COVID-19 hit Pakistan with its full force, and there hasn’t been a shortage of anything for a single day.

This deserves applause to the government that rationed everything so well and ensured that the supply chain is working in both Utility and private stores. But the people deserve more credit for this since they didn’t stock items or did panic buying like the West. We kept our senses in check, thought about other people and didn’t get scared or greedy.

Appointing competent people

PTI government should be credited for appointing good people in good places. Dr. Zafar Mirza, PM’s advisor on health affairs has done a terrific job in devising medical strategies, handling researches and the information flow to and from the public.

Another hero in crises is Dr. Sania Nishtar, the head of Ehsaas Cash Relief Program. Dr. Nishtar has successfully and flawlessly run a campaign that gave cash relief to more than 25 million families. The process setup by Tania Ardus and her team, the messaging system and the Ehsaas portal is easy to use. Millions of underprivileged people have benefited from them.

Amongst others are two people whose contributions cannot be forgotten; CM Punjab Usman Buzdar and Special Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra of KPK. Both Buzdar and Jhagra have overseen constructions of testing facilities and hospitals in an astonishing amount of time.

That is the reason why Corona deaths are lower in Pakistan than other countries in the region; good hospital care and apt medical facilities.

Dr. Yasmin Rashid, Health Minister of Punjab has also done an amazing job in running these health facilities. She has overseen functioning of all the Corona related treatments across the province, including a special 1000 bed hospital setup in Johar Town Lahore.


Carefully planned lockdowns

Both PTI and PPP governments have planned lockdowns well. Pakistan started off with a strict lockdown for the first month Corona hit. During Ramzan, lockdown restrictions were eased and businesses were allowed to operate in a limited capacity. This allowed the country to function without coming to a standstill.

As Eid grew closer, both Federal and provinces came out with an elaborate plan. Lockdown was relaxed. A set of SOPs were put in place to enforce social distances and other safety protocols.

The people in some areas of Pakistan are not following SOPs and this is something the government has to look into. But as people, it is also our responsibility to share the burden with the government and follow SOPs.

Setting up of hospitals and healthcare facilities

Pakistan has setup COVID-19 treatment capabilities in 215 hospitals with isolation wards all across the country. These are well-known medical establishments that are now providing free COVID-19 care and treatment to anyone with symptoms.

Moreover, PTI government has designated 35 hospitals for COVID-19 care and isolation.

There are 63 quarantine and isolation facilities and 60 testing facilities across Pakistan.

These are just the free facilities that are owned by government. There are private facilities available for citizens as well.

Introducing timely relief packages

Ehsaas program and Punjab’s Ramzan package ensure that every underprivileged family will get Rs. 12,000 and Rs. 3,000 monthly. It is bare minimum. But for the government who is deeply indebted and is in the middle of a global pandemic, this is quite an achievement – and it is not just in paper, it has been carried out too.

People in West should see how we deal with pandemic. How we take care of the poor and how we do not completely lose our heads when disaster strikes.

Similar Articles



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Most Popular