THE way the PTI Government, led by Prime Minister Imran Khan, handled the situation arising out of Covid-19 continues to receive appreciation by experts and public opinion leaders around the world. The latest acknowledgement comes from Lawrence H Summers, a senior US Treasury Department official throughout President Bill Clinton’s tenure and Director of the National Economic Council for President Barack Obama, who remarked “America’s failure on Covid-19 is almost unimaginable. Heck, if the US had handled the pandemic as well as Pakistan, we would have saved in neighbourhood of $10 trillion.”
Covid-19 threw challenges to almost all countries of the world, that were clueless as to how best to deal with the threat because of the novel nature of the virus and how it affected every aspect of life. World’s most resourceful countries having high quality manpower and technology are still finding it difficult to restore normal life but Pakistan with its limited resources successfully managed the situation because of clarity of thought of the Prime Minister, who did not budge an inch despite mounting pressure from different segments of society especially medical experts and sociologists who called for continuation of country-wide lockdown for an unspecified period. The experts had their own apprehensions about safety and health of the citizens in case of rush towards normalization of daily activities but the Prime Minister was also concerned about economic fallout of the crisis both for the country and its citizens. His government not only chalked out a comprehensive programme for urgent distribution of much-needed financial assistance to affected families but also opted for gradual and phase-wise return to normalcy. This was the best approach as the country could not afford diversion of almost all resources to fight against Covid-19 for an indefinite period. The country and its people are reaping benefits of the far-sighted policy of the government but every citizen has to realize that the threat is not over as is evident from recent surge in virus cases. According to Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar there are “unmistakable signs” of resurgence in coronavirus infection, pointing out that Covid-19 positivity rate stood at 2.37% on Thursday – the highest recorded in 50 days. The positive rate is particularly high in Muzaffarabad, Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. Under these circumstances, there is a need for wearing masks in mosques and bazaars, washing hands and following social distancing rules so the country can be free from the pandemic at the earliest.