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June 8, 2020

People are talking about —

Islamabad

 
June 8, 2020

— the debate on whether there should have been a stricter lockdown in the country before and during Eidul Fitr and how stricter measures should be taken so that the spread of the COVID-19 virus can be contained. People say any steps for restricting the gathering of persons while observing SOP’s is an exercise in futility as neither the general public wants to listen to/obey government directives, nor the government has the resources to make them do so.

— the government regulations and how there appears to be no will by the concerned ministries/authorities to see that they are implemented, no matter what situation arises from their lackadaisical attitude. People are questioning why there is a shortage of petroleum products in the country and how the regulatory body and minister in charge are maintaining a deafening silence instead of explaining the reason, thus allowing all kinds of rumours and speculations to do the rounds on social media.

— the shocking incident whereby an 8-year-old domestic worker was beaten to death by her employees for innocently setting free an expensive parrot. People say not only is the murder inexcusable but the fact that they were using an 8-year-old child for domestic chores is equally horrifying and the government needs to enforce/change labour laws so that such incidents do not occur, while parents should also be punished/fined for sending their young children to work.

— the news that the NA subcommittee rejected increasing tax on tobacco leaves because of concern for the small growers, but people are asking why are they resisting an increase in the duty on tobacco products. Many experts and others concerned about the harmful effects of tobacco have advocated an increase in taxes which will benefit the government to the tune of billions of rupees but authorities appear reluctant and the thinking public wants to know why.

— the ‘Tiger Force’- an effort by the government to leverage the country’s young population for COVID-19 relief efforts for which over 850,000 young people signed up to volunteer their services. People say while these young people have been helping in food distribution and other related tasks to aid virus patients, they have not managed to create awareness among the population about wearing masks and taking other precautions, which is, or should be, part of their agenda.

— the conflicting reports about ventilators, some of which say there are enough in the country and only a fraction are in the use of COVID patients, while others say there is a shortage. People say it is this kind of information, or disinformation, which creates panic among families which have a seriously ill patient, so the health minister should give a factual statement about the number of ventilators available in the country and whether they are enough to deal with the pandemic.

— the threat of another life threatening illness in the form of dengue fever which also takes a toll on lives albeit on a lesser scale. People say the spread of this fever can be controlled if action is taken in time by spraying localities; checking open water sources and generally controlling the breeding of the dengue mosquito. Sending teams to inspect houses is not a good idea in these troubled times when criminals are active and residents are afraid to let them in. — I.H.