New Delhi: The ‘zakat’, a traditional tax levied on the financially sound Muslims as a form of almsgiving to the poor, is helping Pakistan fight against the spread of coronavirus in the country. Zakat is 2.5 per cent of a family’s yearly savings in the form of cash, gold or silver.
Several people in Pakistan are offering to donate their zakat — considered one of the five pillars of Islam — to the poor and needy who are especially vulnerable to the novel coronavirus. Charitable organisations, hospitals, and even Pakistan’s top religious authority, the Council of Islamic Ideology, have called upon the Pakistan’s rich to donate their zakat early.
The zakat is usually given around Ramzan and is obligatory for financially sound Muslims.
Several organisations are using the donations to feed the hungry and provide medical assistance to those who need it. Pakistan has over 4,500 positive cases of Covid-19, and has reported 66 deaths.
Also read: ‘Degree of seriousness gauged by behaviour’: India after Pakistan commits aid to SAARC fund
Private hospitals tell Sindh govt ‘not to infect’ them with Covid-19 patients
A notice by the Sindh government directs all private hospitals in Karachi to keep aside 20 per cent of its beds for coronavirus patients. But the private hospitals are pushing back, and telling the government “not to infect” all private hospitals.
According to government officials, the hospitals are reluctant because “this could not only endanger the lives of their staff but would also ward off their normal patients”.
Instead, they want the three hospitals in the city — private ones that agreed to aid the government — to continue hosting coronavirus patients, while the rest be left to deal with general patients. Sindh has Pakistan’s second highest number of coronavirus cases.
Fans await Taher Shah’s newest song with excitement
Taher Shah, a singer who became internet famous for his song “Eye to Eye”, is set to release a new song and fans can’t wait for a ready distraction from the gloom of coronavirus.
Reminder: Taher Shah is dropping a new song today. The world will never be the same again.
— zen (@zensc07) April 10, 2020
Can't wait 😻 https://t.co/6Q5h5kwrkE
— Naila Inayat नायला इनायत (@nailainayat) April 9, 2020
Shah was meant to release the song on 3 April but postponed its release to 10 April without stating any reason, leaving his fans heartbroken. He released something of an explanation on 6 April, saying “trust that one creative art will be right on time because right things are on time”.
Doctors face assault for protesting lack of PPE
Doctors in Pakistan have two battles to fight — one against coronavirus, and another against a negligent state government.
Doctors from Quetta in Balochistan had staged a protest on 6 April demanding the government give them adequate safety gear so they could protect themselves and the patients they were treating. Instead, they were met with a rain of blows from the police.
“We were dragged through the street and thrown into trucks,” said a doctor from Balochistan, recalling how he was beaten up by the police for protesting. They were held overnight before being released from the police station.
Also read: Pakistani doctors need PPE to fight Covid-19, PM Imran Khan puts paper tigers on the job