File photo of Pakistan PM Imran Khan | Photo: Facebook | ImranKhanOfficial
File photo of Pakistan PM Imran Khan | Photo: Facebook | ImranKhanOfficial
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The Imran Khan-led government of Pakistan has found a new scapegoat to blame for the rise in coronavirus infections and fatalities — the people of Pakistan.

We are the ones responsible for our own demise, for we are so non-serious and “jahil” or illiterate, according to Punjab health minister Yasmin Rashid, that we don’t realise the severity of the situation.

How many governments in the world have thrown their own people under the bus when it comes to taking responsibility for the late action in the fight against the Covid-19 crisis? I can think of just one right now.


Also read: Pakistan is understating coronavirus infections & deaths, top official says


Coronavirus just a ‘flu’

How did we reach here? It is clear that after blaming the opposition parties for too long, there had to be a new villain in the house. Enter the poor jahil people, who have so long heard their prime minister and his team trivialise the coronavirus.

We were told by PM Imran Khan that the coronavirus, at best, was just a flu, which would go away in no time. It was something that would die in our dry and scorching hot weather. Follow their lead and just ghabrana nahin.

Deaths, what deaths? Traffic accidents took many more lives, according to federal planning minister Asad Umar. Did anyone talk about banning cars? Deadly? Nope, it was just dangerous. Who said that? Ironically, Pakistan’s information minister Firdous Ashiq Awan.

Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) government in Sindh was only “exaggerating” Covid-19 figures: if you would visit the hospitals, you would find nothing at all. Oh this virus is just “type C” in Pakistan. We are winning it, we are killing it, even the New York governor is going to copy Imran Khan, according to communications minister Murad Saeed. It’s a different matter that governor Andrew Cuomo never mentioned Pakistan or Imran Khan. Look at us, we were the only Muslim country that didn’t even close the mosques.

Lockdown is just a fashion statement. Lockdown is for the elite, Imran Khan reminded us. No good will ever come from these lockdowns. People will die of hunger, the same people who will now be responsible for their own deaths. Why should Pakistan follow other countries where lockdowns were the only way to curb the virus that has no cure? Doctors pleading for lockdown were only politicians in doctors’ coats, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) knows that. New York went “bankrupt” due to the lockdown. Though the fake news of New York going bankrupt still hasn’t reached the US.


Also read: Do we need Covid lockdowns for a second wave? Pakistan may offer some lessons


A new low

But still, the people are “jahil”. Let’s blame the Pakistani citizens for the confused and haywire messaging of Imran Khan’s government from day one.

But it wasn’t just poor messaging. First, there was no lockdown, then the government lifted whatever it thought was a lockdown: all markets, bazaars, shopping malls, parks and other businesses were reopened. Public transport, domestic air travel and even international flights are set to resume from 20 June. With no stringent measures put in place for social distancing, wearing a mask, or any other SOP, everything was opened. The problem is that the PTI government never imposed a strict lockdown in Pakistan, and now, at the peak of the virus spread, finds itself with tail between its legs.

While one government representative says the country is understating virus infections and deaths, there is another minister who feels Pakistan is doing better than India. Time and again, Imran Khan and his team have asked people to not compare Pakistan with New Zealand, or even Vietnam for that matter. Yet, they compare themselves with India. So let’s compare. That Pakistan has highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths per million in the region, higher than India, is an indication of the lack of any decisive Covid-19 policy. The rhetorical road, with PM Khan offering to share his cash transfer programme with India and being responded with “our stimulus package is as large as the GDP of Pakistan,” shows the frivolity of this government.


Also read: It’s PM Imran Khan who’s ‘calling the shots’ in Pakistan with army support, minister says


And so, this mass confusion, which the government thinks is its Covid-19 response, has to be now dumped onto the people of Pakistan and they have to be accountable for their own life and death. It doesn’t augur well for a country that claims to become a welfare state like Medina.

To call the citizens of your own country “jahil” (illiterate) and “ajeeb makhlooq” (weird creatures), particularly the Lahoris, just because as a government you can’t take responsibility for your failures, is a low for any political leader. After all, these are the same people who you plead for votes in the name of promises. But then, it is not a new low — PM Imran Khan had called all those people welcoming Nawaz Sharif “donkeys”.

The people of Pakistan know who really is “jahil” more than ever now.

The author is a freelance journalist from Pakistan. Her Twitter handle is @nailainayat. Views are personal.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. Your Tea Boy has destroyed your nation. But i bet you can’t write a single word against your government. Mean while 80% of Covid Infections has recovered in Pakistan thus the credit goes to Khan & Jahil awaam of Pakistan.

    • The print is one of the biggest critic of Modi and BJP. You must have left your comment at Republic world they are the Godi Media.

    • The Print is one of the few newspaper which is non-biased and don’t run a propoganda if you look at their articles or videos they are criticizing BJP , Modi and RSS.

  2. You should be ashamed of yourself for writing such a misconstrued artice. Shame on your yellow journaism.

  3. What a waste of digital space. Corona can not be contained by government policy or dollars spent.
    The US spent $2.3 trillion yet it spread. If the people dont caution, the virus will spread and people are rightfully blamed because they are not following government sanctions.

  4. I giggle every time someone tries to discredit the incumbent government and praise, of all the parties, the PPP! I’m not sure where this “writer” gets her facts from, since she hasn’t provided any studies/articles etc to back up her claims as a good writer should when trying to present facts, but then again why bother when political bias is rampant. So lets get down to brass tacks:
    1) According to https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/?utm_campaign=homeAdvegas1? , Pakistans death per 1m pop is at 13, India is at 9. Now before you start pointing fingers and stating “see india is doing better”, consider this, India (supposedly) is a rising superpower with economic indicators 6-10 times better than Pakistan (mostly due to their massive population). This for you “Jaahil” writers means India should be doing extraordinarily better than pakistan yet it is not.
    2) The laughable statement that India’s bailout package is larger than Pakistan GDP has nothing to do with Imran Khans statement. His statement concerned the efficacy (efficiency for you jaahil readers and writers) of the manner in which funds were disbursed.
    3) I completely agree with the fact the Pakistan in full of Iaahil, (I also believe most of humanity is Jaahil). This includes the so called “elite”, the educated and the poor. The only difference is the poor dont know any better. One just has to see the driving on the roads, the utter lack of comprehension of the concept of social distancing and the lack of wearing of PPEs to come to this conclusion. This points also apply to India, and even the so called “civilized” west.
    4) Finally, retarded readers would assume Iam pro Imran. Though most will unlikely believe my next statement I’ll plod on anyways and state, I UTTERLY DESPISE every single political party down to its roots to my very core.

  5. At the start of the crisis the virus was considered as a flu in many countries. And indeed if people do not obey to preventive rules then they themselves are to blame . Also an economy like the one in Pakistan can not survive a strict lockdown. So all those wise men who afterwards know better should better think and help than pooring oil on the fire…..

  6. Hi niyala you are the smartest person the way you write this the whole Pakistani nation the government every one in this world is jahil but you are smart really smart. Thank you for a wonderful thoughts of yours

  7. When will the day come when they will put blame on Army. So that they can be taught a lesson by them. Shame on Pti.

  8. All these Pakistani authors who have zero viewership in their own country are being given refuge by PRINT. To get a more potent view of neighborhood, PRINT should publish views of those Pakistani analysts or writers who are at least known in Pakistan !!!

  9. Is the writer on payroll of the opposition political parties. Will anyone in Pakistan ever take the blame, situation is such, if u have a child in ur family, the blame goes on the government or the establishment.
    If u look at bazaars,people hurdle in small shops, without social distancing, majority avoid gloves, masks,frequently washing your hands.
    What can Pakistani government do,when ,the rich nations, who have financial resources to tackle this epidemic. Pakistan government, all it’s been doing is calming the public, with false hopes.
    Some Islamic scholars, have been playing the religious card,that it “will not effect us,were of faith”,as if,majority of Pakistan is any thing, but practicing muslims.
    For betterment of Pakistan, every one,should play there constructive part,not every thing is political. Wrong should be condemned. If Pakistan wants to reduce the devastation of the virus, another lockdown is required;with every financially able citizen, should feed 10 needy families from his area.Every citizen follow the order and stay in.We may be able to control it. People of Pakistan need to play their part. Unfortunately, that is something, that doesn’t happen in Pakistan.

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