Deadlier than pandemic

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SIKANDAR NOORANI

AS the pandemic turned harsher in Europe and the US, it exposed many fault lines in conventional concept of state security. Unimaginable catastrophic in developed European countries like Italy and France is enough to ring alarms in third world’ under developed countries especially the densely populated South Asian region. It is immensely alarming that countries with much stable and efficient healthcare system are falling crippledin fight against pandemic. If a strong countrylikethe USistrembling with fear ofCovid19 then no further elaboration is required to prove that traditional tools of strength are not at all effective against pandemics. Superior aircrafts, smart drones, high-tech war ships and space based assets provide zero defence against an invisible virus. Modern weaponry can take the life of hundreds and thousands from distant locations but can’t protect the life of a single person infected with virus. Impact of pandemic on nations is unimaginably wider and deep. Closure of routine life has now emerged as death of stronger economies of the world.While predicting two lac deaths in US President Trump was more worried about the economic disaster due to prolonged pause in routine trade activities. It is undeniable now that an invisible virus may prove much deadlier for a country than a missile attack. It can bring destruction to even those who remain uninfected. This is precisely happening across the globe in all pandemic hit countries. Most effective protective measure, other than enhanced personal hygiene, is social distancing which has been imposed at collective level in the form of lockdown. Pandemic has affected rich and poor alike! Daily wagers and labourers are worried about earning bread and butter whereas factory owners or big investors are concerned about resumption of normal production and uninterrupted availability of requisite working hands. Pakistan is no exception to this newly emerged global threat to national security. It was rightly pointed out by Pak PM that a prolonged closure might not be affordable for majority of daily wagers or labour class.At the same time, any exponential speedy spread will also be dangerously beyond the best available potential. Quick transmission capability has made this virus a nerve breaking element. It is obvious that existing rusty medical infrastructure lacks requisite strength to appropriately deal with any extraordinary outbreak. Alarmingly, our surrounding countries radiate unfavourable signals on account of pandemic crisis. Despite being a trustworthy friend of China, borders had to be closed to keep the virus away from Pak territory. Another important neighbour Iran has seen the worst side of pandemic due to massive pilgrims influx at holy sites. One can never feel satisfied about Afghanistan with such weak governance and almost non-existent governmental health care system.75% of detected cases in Pakistan were got infected due to local transmission, whereas, remaining had a travel history. It is time to ponder that how a pandemic should be fought to protect the nation from vast scaled devastating impact. Effective measures are not possible without heavy spending on public health care system. A country like Pakistan will have to deal with a complex dilemma while prioritizing the big expenditures for national security out of smaller kitty. Ruling out a defence oriented expenditure, for public welfare or health, will always be a difficult decision. A neighbour like India, obsessed with violence and coercion, will never let the regional arena to be peaceful. Aggressive posturing of India has always compelled Pakistan to focus more on defence than public welfare. Well- being of deprived poor masses has been badly ignored in India itself for more than seven decades. Stockholm Research Institute recently pointed out India as the second among top ten buyers of military equipment in the world. Recent arms deal of three billion dollars during President Trump’s visit is just a point in case. Such heavy spending in ultra high-tech deadly weapon systems are always made at the cost of most essential public needs. While accelerating arms race in South Asian region, statesmen in New Delhi have never thought of those oppressed quarters of the society who are deprived of basic facilities like shelter, food, medicine and education. Millions homeless Indians seek shelter of a roof in rainy nights and scorching sunny days! Those millions who have some kind of roof, they are not familiar with the luxury of a toilet. Hunger, illiteracy and diseases are not considered a threat for humanity in states like India. There is no room for empathy in ideology of Hindutva as the Kashmir will continue to face a brutal curfew and communication blackout even in the middle of a deadly pandemic. Call for a global ceasefire from UN Secretary General could not find any ears in India. India office ofAmnesty International has very rightly classified Modi Sarkar as bigger threat to humanity than global pandemic. Impact of Indian venomous policies is visible in whole South Asian region in the form of arms race, violence, human rights violations, terrorism and least focus on human welfare . Undoubtedly, fascist Modi regime is much deadlier than a pandemic! —The writer is a free lancer who often contributes in national newspapers.