Diseases, Disasters & Corruption in Pakistan

Muhammad Nadeem Bhatti

PAKISTAN is a disaster-prone country prone to floods, polio, and dengue. The state has suffered several economic, educational, ethnic, and financial challenges. The recent inflation has worsened the situation as people live hand-to-mouth lives in the country.

One has to suffer a lot because the prices of daily products, including fuel, electricity, sugar, oil, rice, flour, gas, and tea, have been sky-high and made it difficult to survive.

Whether rich or poor, a businessman or a salaried individual, everybody is worried, and nobody knows where the situation will go. Meanwhile, diseases and disasters are not sparing the lives of the country’s inhabitants.

Also, recent foods have caused billions of rupees as half of the country submerges in the water. But, by the grace of Allah Almighty, the situation is under control now, and every citizen is willingly donating for the betterment of the flood victims. For quite a few months, Pakistan has been suffering from one of the most dangerous diseases (dengue).

Specifically, the province of Punjab is the most affected among all others. During the last 24 hours, more than 450 people have tested positive for the virus, taking the total number of such cases reported this year to 5,413.

And according to the official statistics, most claims surfaced in Gujranwala, Rawalpindi, and Lahore. Due to recent rains, and floods in south Punjab, the officials have warned that dengue poses a severe threat to citizens of all age groups.

Moreover, it has been seen that the health department and authorities are merely taking action or launching anti-dengue activities.

The situation is getting worse with every passing day as more and more people are getting prey to the dangerous virus. We unwillingly have to see more people on their deathbeds if actions are not taken.

When the virus outbroke a decade ago, the health department did a great job by holding 40 consecutive high-level sessions to eradicate this disease.

But unfortunately, the authorities and concerned departments are not so serious this time which is why no serious actions have been taken yet. And the public is waiting for somebody to be their Messiah and do something for their betterment and fast recovery.

In a session with a retired health official, I came to know that when the dengue outbroke some years ago, thousands of members of the health team visited the rooftops of houses, official residences, commercial buildings, markets, and educational institutions to destroy the larva. In addition, hundreds of thousands of cases were lodged across the province under anti-dengue regulations.

The sad part of the story is such practices have largely been abandoned now, and people are more vulnerable to the dengue mosquito in the wake of the massive rains and floods across the country.

If precautionary measures are not taken immediately, the outbreak may go beyond the control of the government. Currently, 192 new cases have been reported in Lahore, 22 in Gujranwala, and 101 in Rawalpindi.

The cases also surfaced in cities including Gujrat, Multan, Sialkot, Hafizabad, Bahawalpur, DG Khan, Bhakkar, Jhang, and Layyah.

And the district has also reported a total of 8 deaths caused by the fever during the same period. But the most alarming situation is being faced in Lahore, where 186 cases were confirmed, followed by 32 in the Gujranwala division.

This is the misfortune of Pakistan that it has merely got leaders and officials that worked for its growth and prosperity. And most of the time, the people who got high-ranked posts were not loyal to their jobs as well as to the fate of the country.

The present CHO, Dr. Faisal, DDH Ajeebullah, Amir Shahzad, Atiq, and Wasim Ayaz, have adopted an ethical approach to earning money. These individuals have wasted the Covid-19 vaccine and earned around 15 core rupees from this corruption, according to the sources. A complaint number ACE-LR-A-(C-768)-2022) has been filed against all these names in the Anti-corruption office.

Moreover, Dr. Faisal is also accused of stealing his own staff’s daily wages. Instead of paying 70,000 PKR, he only pays 45,000 to his employees. This is a really serious allegation, and strict action should be taken against it.

In addition, on the order of DDOH health (Sobia Muneer), the environmental inspector (Junaid) and their corrupt staff used to enter the houses. They Filed FIRs on people who had a bit of larva in their premises. In addition, the inspector put all those innocent people behind bars and harassed them.

Instead of providing vaccines to the needy, the respected department is playing a really dirty game to fill out their pockets and make more illegal money. This is not it; the police officials are taking heavy bribes to free the arrested individuals.

The thing is, Pakistan is a poor developing country that is struggling with several crises. To combat the issues and improve situations, people vote for their desired candidates (politicians). And when these individuals came to power, they forgot about all of the promises they made to the innocent public of the country.

The biggest concern for any politician or government officer should be the prosperity of the residents. Unfortunately, these days, officials and leaders focus on filling their pockets and satisfying their egos.

And if the situation continues, Pakistan will not be able to grow in any domain. If we want to make our country progress, we have to keep in mind that we all have to put in collective effort and hard work.

I request the Prime Minister (Mr. Shahbaz Sharif), the honorable Chief Justice of Punjab (Justice Ameer Hussain Bhatti), the CM of Punjab, the Minister of health, and the Secretary of Health to take strict action against all the corrupt officials of the health department and police involved in this corruption.

Every such official should be investigated and asked about their belongings (house, cars, property) as they have bought all these luxuries from the hard earn money of poor citizens.

—The writer is a Senior Social & Health Analyst. Can be found at [email protected]


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