COVID-19 and PM Khan’s political future: What’s the connection?

What's the connection between a global pandemic and political aspirations for Pakistan's ruling PM?

Lahore, 9th April: Where the pandemic has badly influenced the countries worldwide, namely China from where it originated, the US and the UK following after, the countries are creating headlines with their tolls and the disasters it is wreaking.

According to the report mentioned in the Al Jazeera newspaper, Pakistan has yet not created any major headline in the world in regards to COVID-19. However, the first infected case was reported on the 26th of February in a populated country, the number of affected patients is going steady in Pakistan.

It is also predicted that in the weeks to come this number will not remain steady, but rather shoot to millions and the death rate will also witness a spike in numbers. This rapid is increase might put a major dent to the PM Pakistan’s name as the government will be blamed in not controlling the situation timely.

The mass outbreaks in China and Iran are witnessed by all, the late handling of the pandemic led to millions of affected patients and thousands of deaths and their governments are held accountable.

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The report worries that, sadly, the number of infections is likely to increase by millions in the coming weeks. And as the number of casualties is increasing, the failure of the government will come forward.

Imran Khan in his first televised speech on coronavirus on the 17th of March addressed the nation and told them that he had been monitoring the epidemic since January. If that was the case then why did the government took long to seriously take control of the crisis in advance, why did they wait for the first cluster of infection to identify on the 12th of March?

It is also revealed on the discovery of Sindh’s provincial government led by the opposition to the failure of federal authorities to properly screen and quarantine thousands of returning pilgrims from Iran.

If Chief Minister of Sindh Murad Ali Shah had not taken timely steps to start the checking the people returning from Iran after learning about the first infection in the provincial capital Karachi, then the metropolis city of 18 million population would have become another Wuhan and other provinces couldn’t have been alerted.

When Imran Khan addressed the issue, it was argued that the outbreak of the coronavirus was inevitable, but there was no need to panic as it would seem like mild flu for the majority. He rejected the nationwide lockdown to overcome the virus, saying that the poor population of Pakistan depend on daily income and would starve.

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The report added that under these circumstances, the federal government and the provincial authorities, even the government under the PTI party, each reacted differently.

Sindh permanently led to a shutdown, while others took controversial measures such as closing schools and shortening purchase times. There was no nationwide effort to provide hospitals and frontline healthcare providers with immediate access to facilities. Not even a clear, mass messaging campaign was launched by the authorities.

The Pakistan military not relying on the present system had to make its presence felt with the provincial authorities to get the situation under control. This was clear evidence that the establishment was losing patience with Khan’s refusal to provide responsible leadership when the country most needed it.

At this time of crisis Imran Khan needs to take a better grip of the situation and handle the pandemic intelligently, otherwise, the fatality of the coronavirus will affect not only the country but his future in politics too.

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