June 21, 2020

It is essential that every stakeholder in the new normal shouls voice their concerns about the control and handling of the pandemic

In the past almost three months, The News on Sunday has made an attempt to report and highlight not just the challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought with it and the ways in which it has impacted lives, but also to sift through the many voices offering alternative perspectives and solutions to Pakistan’s unique dynamic. In this effort, we have hoped to offer a reality check not just to those in power but also to the people, who hold as much if not more stake in mitigating this crisis.

The challenges here are many, and some have already been highlighted exhaustively. Our motivation in stating what some might call the obvious is and has been to call for action or stronger action. There would clearly be no point to stating the obvious to validate inaction.

If leaders were to be voted into power to inform the public just how helpless they were or how poor the country was or how a pandemic would inevitably decimate the population, without an ounce of visible intellectual effort to alter that fate, there would be enough reasons to justify the sheer laziness and inaction that has been on display here. However, that is not why leaders are voted into power. While they are not expected to be super humans or heroes they are definitely expected to be mindful, empathetic and proactive. They are picked to refuse to let the magnitude of challenges shape the destiny of their people.

In this Special Report, we feature pieces by public health and infectious disease experts, among others, to help identify just where and how Pakistan’s Covid-19 strategy is struggling – from conceptualising and formulating strategies, resource allocation, testing and tracing to shaping public perception. A little introspection never hurts, especially when being smug risks lives, livelihoods and the general well-being of a lot of people. The manner in which the government chooses to control this pandemic will determine the quality of lives of its citizens in the post-Covid world – the new normal. Until a vaccine becomes part of the picture, that new normal will affect every single aspect of life, society, economy and politics of the entire world. It is essential that every stakeholder in the new normal should voice their concerns about the control and handling of the pandemic. This week, we bring forth some of those voices.