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March 23, 2020

Lockdown orders fail to keep people indoors

Lahore

March 23, 2020

LAHORE:Ignoring the soft pleas of the Punjab government, a large number of citizens continued to visit public places, playgrounds, markets and other venues here Sunday while City District Government Lahore has failed to enforce the ban on opening of businesses in the provincial metropolis.

Though the City District government has stepped up its awareness drive, advising citizens to frequently wash hands, cover their faces while sneezing and coughing and avoid large gatherings, majority of citizens are living just as they did before the pandemic struck the country.

A visit to various city areas revealed that majority markets in residential localities were open and rush of people was witnessed there. Barber shops, motorcycle and car mechanics, service stations, hardware and sanitary stores, juice corners, small restaurants, LPG filling shops, mobile shops, book shops, sports goods shops and etc were found open and citizens were visiting them in routine.

Besides this, roadside stalls of garments, glasses, fruits and vegetables, other edibles were also open and attracting people. Similarly tuck shops situated on petrol pumps were also operative without any fear of the district administration.

Open playgrounds in various city localities were the most crowded places as hundreds of thousands of youths went to play cricket and other games in the morning. However, following public complaints several grounds were forcibly vacated by district administration and police.

On the other hand, a large number of citizens were seen travelling on the roads and it didn’t seem they were afraid of Coronavirus. Bashir Ahmed, a resident of Faisal Town, riding a bike along with his two small children and wife, was intercepted by the scribe and asked where he was going on which he replied that he was going to meet his brother who live in the Mughalpura area. On a question that why he is putting himself and his family at risk by not staying home, he said if his death is written due to Coronavirus then no one can change that.

Majority of people who were travelling on the city roads had a casual attitude about Coronavirus and it must be changed; otherwise, the number of patients will continue to increase. The scribe has also seen people coming to various city parks and Lahore Zoo, which were closed to public.

Kallu, a teenage rickshaw driver who lives in Green Town, said that he has to feed his ailing parents and two sisters so he is out on the roads. He said he can’t stay indoor as he has no savings or any other options to earn money for daily expenditures.

Nadeem Ahmed, a tailor sitting in a small shop which was half open and half closed in the Ichhra area said that he can’t stop working or can’t work from home.

“I am using hand sanitizer and washing hands in routine and wearing a face mask while at work,” he said adding if he didn’t work who will provide meal to him and his family. Zareena Bibi, a house maid, said her house owner asked her to come to work or be ready for daily deductions.

“How can I stay at home,” she said adding if she will not work she can’t eat and get food and other essentials for her family. “I know I am inviting death by coming out but my fate is similar in case I stay back at home,” she said with dripping eyes and walk away.

There are hundreds of thousands of similar people who live in small houses and have no other earning options. Many of them demanded the government provide them ration in case it wanted them to stay indoor.

On the other hand, many philanthropists/organisations have floated their contact numbers on social media offering provision of food and meal for the poor and daily wagers but ironically most of the poor and daily wagers have no access to social media platforms so this effort might not get desired results.

Citizens demanded the government arrange food and meals for such people with the help of philanthropists and other organisations in an organised manner so that all deserving people could get their share.