By: Jordyn Roskind
Along with the rest of the world, the nation of Pakistan has struggled with Coronavirus. The rate of case positivity in Pakistan remains at a shocking 7.7%, and the cases continue to rise everyday with only limited testing available. A second wave of the coronavirus has proven to be more deadly and Pakistani hospitals continuously find themselves maximum capacity.
The lack of government restrictions and the inability of the government to enforce rules has made it difficult for Pakistan to battle the coronavirus. The government has failed to enforce health guidelines such as mask wearing. In Karachi, a major city in Pakistan, people are without masks in crowded areas, like markets and full buses. The Prime Minister closed schools, but will not enforce a second lockdown due to fears of further damage to the economy. The police have made great efforts to prevent large gatherings; however, such attempts have led attacks on policemen. These attacks have even resulted in the hospitalization of policemen. One example of this being, worshippers from mosque gatherings who threw rocks at police. Meanwhile, many Pakistani people attend anti-government rallies to show that they do not agree with the way their government has handled the pandemic thus far.
There is a popular conspiracy theory that the Pakistani government is selling the virus in order to make money. A survey taken in October revealed that almost 55% of respondents in Pakistan doubted that the virus was real, and a shocking 46% believed it to be a conspiracy. Such doubts among the general public have made it extremely difficult for the government to impose mask wearing as well as other restrictions, and could ultimately lead to challenges with the distribution of the vaccine: “People are not following safety precautions and therefore the situation at the health facilities is getting more serious day by day,” said Dr. Ismail Memon, a senior official at Dr. Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital.” The pandemic is getting worse with each passing day in Pakistan as many of its people are refusing to follow the proper health and safety precautions.
The economy in Pakistan has been negatively impacted by the current pandemic as well. A Taxi Driver, Iqbal Shaheen, claimed he could only get his father into the hospital if he paid $625 a day which of course he could not afford, forcing him to take his father home to die. Even merchants in Pakistan have been affected; the government has imposed health restrictions aimed at small businesses. For example, fines will be given out if a particular business stays open too late, and if owners of this business allow their customers to be mask-less.
In addition to economic struggles, the pandemic has led to poor education in Pakistan as a result of the closing of so many Pakistani schools. While some students are able to attend school virtually, many do not have access to the internet, computers, or even electricity. Some parents have decided to send their children to madrasas or Islamic schools that refuse to close: ““We follow the directions of our top religious scholars,” said Mufti Shabbir Farooqi, a teacher at a Karachi madrasa whose enrollment has swelled to 1,400 students from 900, “not the government ministers or law enforcement officers for whether to open or close the madrasas.””
The inability of the government to properly enforce COVID-19 restrictions, conspiracy theories among the people, economic strife and lack of access to education, are all examples of the horrid effects the Pandemic has had on the nation of Pakistan.