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Analysis: Pakistanis consider ‘smart’ lockdown no lockdown at all

Analysts question government's role in implementing SOPs during Ramazan

SAMAA | - Posted: Apr 27, 2020 | Last Updated: 1 year ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Apr 27, 2020 | Last Updated: 1 year ago

Anchor Ehtisham, Irshad Bhatti, Ali Muhammad Khan, Saeed Qazi (left to right). Photo: SAMAA Digital

On Friday, a day before Ramazan began, the Pakistan government extended its ‘smart’ lockdown till May 9.

Under this smart lockdown, businesses that are least at risk to the novel coronavirus will be resumed so that daily wagers can earn money.

The public has adopted the smart lockdown in a rather strange way, as streets that were empty during the regular lockdown are now brimming with people.

Analysts Irshad Bhatti and Saeed Qazi discussed the situation on SAMAA TV’s programme News Beat on Sunday.

They believe the government is making a grave mistake by not regulating the implementation of SOPs during its ‘smart’ lockdown.

The analysts say people gathering across the country during Ramazan may have grave repercussions and if so, it is the federal government that will be scrutinised.

“Which country apart from Pakistan has included suggestions of Islamic clerics for deciding on congregations in mosques?” asked a disgruntled Bhatti. “If Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries can suspend [congregations] then what sort of Islamic flag are we hoisting?”

Bhatti was angry over the fact that most mosques were continuing to hold gatherings, which he said could infect a great portion of the population.

“We will have a pre and post-coronavirus world just like the world after 9/11,” he added.

PTI MNA Ali Muhammad Khan agreed with the analyst’s claim. He said ulema were cooperating with the government on the matter, but more help is needed to ensure people follow SOPs to stem the spread of COVID-19.

“President Arif Alvi himself visited four to five mosques to see the proceedings but there are hundreds of thousands of mosques in the country,” Khan said.

Is Pakistan hostage to small groups?

Religious scholars and a government delegation led by President Alvi had agreed on a 20-point agenda to stem the spread of COVID-19.

It was agreed that congregational taraweeh prayers would take place with a gap of at least two people between worshipers.

Analyst Qazi was furious with the agreement. He said whether it is a pandemic or any other catastrophe, our State becomes hostage to small groups that live in the television’s limelight.

“Why do we have this weakness? Where’s the State’ writ?” asked Qazi. “Don’t make pandemics a reason for your personal marketing.”

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