Now, It’s payback time

By: Hunaid Lakhani

The world is at a crossroads, we are facing an unprecedented pandemic COVID-19 that has affected 198 countries with more than 500,000 cases with around 25,000 deaths worldwide. Our country Pakistan has also been a victim of COVID-19 pandemic with more than 1000 cases up till now. Federal government alongside provincial governments have imposed lock-downs in order to curtail the outspread of the pandemic which is somehow resulting into depletion in the new cases.

The whole country is in a state of lockdown to this extent that for the first time ever the government has imposed a ban and limited congregational prayers including Jumma prayers after consulting clerics and doctors in order to stop the spread of the disease.

In this state of lockdown, food supply chain and its related services, medical professionals, doctors, paramedic staff, journalists, law enforcing agencies staff, sanitary workers, cable operators etc., majority of them belonging to lower or middle class, are performing their duties in order to ensure that people like us stay indoor in self-isolation with all of our living facilities remain unhindered.

The safety of these unsung heroes of our society is of paramount significance and our responsibility. Among these, those who don’t belong to medical profession, are needed to be fully equipped with adequate awareness and protection which should be the responsibility of us, belonging from the privileged class.

Prime Minister Imran Khan emerged to be one of the vocal supporters of the working class of the country by firstly opposing the lockdown with the aim to protect the financial vulnerability of these people and recently announced a 1.2 trillion Rupees relief package in which he okayed Rs. 3000 each to 7 million daily wage workers of the country. Despite financial constraints, the federal government is leaving no stone unturned to provide relief to these lower class and middle class working class but this would be injustice if the privileged class doesn’t contribute in this cause.

We need to ensure that these front line soldiers receive proper awareness and ensure adequate protective measures. Undoubtedly, the federal and provincial governments are doing their best to cope with the situation but we also need to urge them and join hands with them.

The government should ensure that all these essential services organizations including food stores ensure full fledge protective measures for their workers. Provision of protective equipment including face masks, gloves and plastic dresses should be ensured. We should provide social and financial security to the families whose bread earners are suffering from Coronavirus. Teams of volunteers must be formed on Union Council and street level for ration distribution in order to ensure that no family faces starvation.

We are facing an unprecedented situation, but we are determined that we will come out of it victorious, Pakistan has faced many national calamities but every time we have come out of it, the only thing we need is societal unity. We must break the class barriers and strive for those who have strived for us from years and now it’s our time to payback. Rather than sitting in our comfortable rooms in self-isolation and criticizing our government, we need to join hands and fight this war together. We must pay back to the society from where we have earned this much.

I hope that Pakistani nation will emerge as victorious from this crisis too. Pakistan Zindabad!