Farkhanda Shahid Khan
AFTER combating the threats of a series of viruses like Avian Influenza, Ebola, Congo and Dengue, a new life threatening Coronavirus (Covid-19) landed in 185 countries including Pakistan. In a state like ours coming to blows with already dwindling economy and entangled in other state affairs had to take further measures in the form of lock-down by closing markets, educational institutes and public places to stop the viral transmission.
Everyone is asking the same, when situation will get normal, instead of coping with the situation to continue while adhering to the lock-down rules. The virus is natural or synthetic! why should we say this? when we know that hypothetical statements of American Scientists were surrounding the air that this pandemic is about to happen, and even later on, The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Redfield, told The Washington Post last week, ‘There’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through’ (Quoted).
Hypotheses are not built in air; rather they have some laboratory conditions. They show that some evil mind is manipulating the science and going beyond certain limits to show the other face of science, or covertly, I would say, the other face of humanity, with its first attack in Wuhan, China. It is ironical to be acquainted with the information for its being called ‘China- Virus’ as Trump called it. In this way, a condition of bio-war has been created, which is only done by setting some itineraries and agendas to achieve them.
We all need to be more careful by choosing life while abiding by the lockdown rules of maintaining social distance, staying spick and span, and staying at home. In this time of crises, our government has taken a rational step for civil control, with the collective efforts of army, Police and other law enforcement agencies along with health care providers. They are battling as front-line warriors to keep humanity safe, and people may be considered as home-front, as they have been isolated in houses, and it is honest to say that ‘we all are soldiers in this challenging time’.
They are facilitating the common populace in the present solitary confinement- what can be called cabin fever as well. But the alarming situation is more demanding to bring strict policies in lockdown, broader surveillance strategies, and clear social constraints to mitigate the danger.
Contrary to the fundamental efforts of all these departments, Mullah developed their own narrative declaring this pandemic as propaganda against Islam, which was outlawing people to gather for prayers and to shake hands. Government of Pakistan issued a special guideline for the month of Ramadan, but majority of the Mullahs violated these guidelines, deliberately intended to deceive people with disinformation, and again the support from army and police was taken by appointing them outside the mosques for the enactment of rules and given guidelines of maintaining distance and wearing masks etc.
However, Covid-19 has brought such fatalities and harms as are unconcluded. There is situation of uncertainty in this time-period of fear and terror. Societies have become stagnant. Health facilities are getting shorter. Medicines and ventilators are in decline. Unemployment and loss of jobs have increased, leading towards economic decline, where the chances of real recovery are unknown, and which may lead towards global depression. Minorities are doubly isolated in countries like India where ethnic cleansing is at the peak and which, though ‘secular’ by name, does not allow the minorities to ask for their rights. I am not hesitant while saying that situation is alike far and wide, but it is more dismal and ruthless in third world countries. It is a worldwide test of entire humanity, how kind they are to people of their own country and to other nations.
While seeing the positive aspects, though they are far less than the crises and losses, Covid-19 has brought a revolution in technology by converting all the systems online. It is a system where men and women are equally befitted. Moreover, people are less or no, on public places and on roads. Similarly vehicles have been reduced in number due to travel restrictions, which are eventually favorable for environment with the decrease of erosive forces in the form of air pollution, noise pollution, carbon monoxide emission, nitrous oxide, and gasoline fumes.
Further, it is seen that airlines’ services have been suspended, so there is decrease in transboundary pollution as well. Now, there is hope that situation may further lead towards decrease in global warming and ultimately towards sustainable development. I want to say, in the end, that hopefully, there would be news one day that there is no new Corona case observed, quarantine centers are closed, health care professionals are free to see their loved ones without any risk, children are joining schools with their friends, and dhabas’ glamour is revamped. For all this, let’s see what National Security Council decides in coming days.
—Farkhanda Shahid Khan is Lecturer in English Literature at GC University Faisalabad. Currently, she is PhD Scholar at FJWU Rawalpindi.