Voice of the People

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Articles and letters may be edited for the purposes of clarity and space. They are published in good faith with a view to enlightening all the stakeholders. However, the contents of these writings may not necessarily match the views of the newspaper.

How to protect against Omicron?

The most important thing you can do is reduce your risk of exposure to the virus. To protect yourself and your loved ones, make sure to: Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth. Make sure that your hands are clean when you put on and remove your mask.

Keep a physical distance of at least 1 metre from others. Avoid poorly ventilated or crowded spaces. Open windows to improve ventilation indoors. Wash your hands regularly. When it’s your turn, get vaccinated. WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. Read mask tips for families.

How can I talk to my child about the Omicron and other COVID-19 variants? News about COVID-19 and now the Omicron variant is flooding our daily lives and it is only natural that curious young children will have questions – lots of them. Here are some pointers to keep in mind tips for helping to explain what can be a complicated topic in simple and reassuring terms.

Children have a right to know what is going on, but it should be explained to them in an age-appropriate way. Invite your child to share what they have heard and listen to their responses. It is important to be fully engaged and take any fears they have seriously. Be patient, the pandemic and misinformation has caused a lot of worry and uncertainty for everyone.

Make sure that you are up to date on the latest information yourself. Websites of international organizations like UNICEF and the World Health Organization are great sources of information about the pandemic. If you don’t know the answer, don’t guess. Use it as an opportunity to explore the answers together. Remember that kids take their emotional cues from adults, so even if you are worried for your little one knowing that they might be uncomfortable, try not to over share your fears with your child.

FAZAL ELAHI

Islamabad

Year 2021

in a review

The year 2021 could easily be marked as one of the most tumultuous years in the history of Pakistan. There was a series of events that occurred in 2021 including protests and strikes, the fear of latest Omicron Virus, rise in rape cases, hike in petrol prices, murder of Sri Lankan national over alleged blasphemy case and what not, the nation has surely gone through a lot in this year. One unfortunate reality that has not been changed over the years is the rampant cases of rape and sexual abuses in the country. In Pakistan, at least 11 rape cases are reported daily. Instead of drop in the number of cases, there has been a sharp rise comparing to the last year statics.

22,000 cases were reported to the Police in the last six years and only 77 of those accused have been convicted which comprises 0.3% of the total figure. Pakistan has been plagued by episodes of rape and abuse over the years that it has now become common to the extent that people have started normalizing such acts. The question that arises is that why is Pakistan facing this rape epidemic when the country proudly claims itself to be an Islamic Republic.

One of the major reasons could be victim blaming mindset of the society. Every time the media reports a rape case, society starts questioning the victim about their whereabouts, their choice of clothes, who they were with, whether they were alone or not, what time it was and the list goes on.

Sadly, the rape culture was still predominant in the year 2021. Instead of negligence, the higher authorities need to stand united and look up for a productive solution to this crucial matter so the women could progress in the country without any fear.

SUMAIYA KHALID WAQAS

Karachi

Digital Pakistan

This is apropos a news report ‘Online Fraud: Scammers earning their dough through the internet’ published on December 27, 2021. The article detailed how online crimes have surged vis-à-vis the increasing uptake of e-commerce services. Unfortunately, unscrupulous elements would misuse useful commodities such as the Internet to swindle people out of their hard-earned money or to access their private information.

Overtime, scammers have got better at defrauding internet users and people; gullible and cautious, all fall for their ploys. Thus, there is a pressing need to raise awareness regarding cybercrimes. It is heartening to see that a lot of good people are using online platforms to raise awareness in this regard. Recently, I came across a Safe Internet Campaign on some Facebook groups – ‘Pakistan Startups’, ‘Foodies ‘R Us’ and ‘Tech Geeks Pakistan’ – that have collaborated with Meta (Former Facebook) for this initiative. I believe that this is a brilliant opportunity to prioritize and sensitize people regarding online safety. It would be great to see other tech companies follow suit for a secure digital future in Pakistan.

SAHAR KAZMI

Islamabad

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