All over the world there is panic. Covid-19, commonly known as Coronavirus, is talk of the day.
Every country, rich or poor, developed or undeveloped is trying to cope up with the pandemic. Reported deaths across the world crossed 13000 by March 22nd.
In UK, the government had shut down the bars, pubs, clubs, restaurants and schools. Exams scheduled for May and June have been postponed, as per decision announced by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on 18th March.
There was panic buying by the general public. ASDA Store in London was almost ransacked. Stores went out of stock specially for sanitizer, toilet rolls, etc. That included stores like M&S, Boots, etc. Even bread was off the shelf. Now the rationing of items is being enforced. However, one thing good is the online orders and home deliveries. Daily wages people are badly hurt.
Boris Johnson on Sunday gave most explicit warning yet that the UK might face an Italian-style lock-down to curb coronavirus amid mounting criticism of a mixed message from government.
USA is not far behind. Almost the same situation persists there as mentioned above. Government has announced one trillion dollar support program. Panic among the masses is pronounced.
Now, let’s talk of Pakistan. All sorts of blame game continues to go on one way or the other. It is time to come out and share the burden of responsibility towards the nation.
Where are the philanthropists like Malik Riaz? Where are Dawoods, Lakhanies, Manshas, Aamir Mahmoods, Hashwanis and a number of other extremely affluent people? Are they hibernating?
It is commonly believed that the government is poor but the wealthy are wealthiest. Are they waiting for some sort of an ugly situation? Let me tell them, if that sort of situation ever occurs, God forbid, they will not find solace anywhere.
There has been a lot of point scoring on the facilities at Taftan border with Iran. I am sure most of the people have no idea about the difficulties in that area.
Drinking water is supplied through train from over 640 kms. Only hospital nearest is in Sandak which is 20 miles away from the main road. Then some sort of medical facility is in Dalbandin, then Noshki, then Quetta. I, as Commandant Kharan Rifles, established a small medical facility in Noukundi, where medical officer of Kharan Rifles was made responsible to treat the minor ailments.
Medical officers are there at Taftan, Mashkel and Sainduk. Any serious ailment has to be sent to Quetta CMH. My wife got sick, it took us 18 hrs on ambulance to reach Quetta, where she was rushed to the operation theater and came out after about 5 hrs.
When I was hit in Iran, Iranians brought me on helicopter to Taftan, where I stayed one night at my FC post. I was on a charpoy for about 6 hrs before my officers got a hospital bed from Sainduk.
Next day helicopter picked me up. But had to be refueled at Dalbandin. Reached Quetta in about 7 hrs. You can well imagine the hardships in that part of the country. These people, discussing Taftan, do not have a slightest of an idea about it. It is a pity. It is simply not possible to provide any semblance of good medical facility there.
All the border with Iran is completely un-fenced. Apart from Taftan, there are a number of places from where people keep moving in and out. At a number of places, half house is in Pakistan and other half in Iran. People have relationships on both sides.
On the other hand Iranians are much more organized and comfortable. It is primarily due to the close proximity of their side of Taftan to the major city of Zahidan. It is only about hour and a half driving distance away. Therefore, Iranians can easily support any sort of logistical help needed.
I am not at all saying that government is not to be blamed. There was knee jerk approach in response to pandemic.
I appeal that all those who can contribute in any capacity must come forward and help the government in overcoming the crisis. This is the time to unite and show steadfastness.