The Pakistani expatriate community residing in the United Kingdom has rejected Prime Minister Imran Khan’s appeal for funds to fight coronavirus infection, telling the world that the government is “stealing from the poor by cutting their salaries and benefiting the rich”. Giving the example of Railway Minister Sheikh Rashid, activists said, “The minister gives a check of Rupees 5 crores for COVID-19 relief by deducting salaries of poor railway employees. He has not contributed a single penny from his funds.”
This is the way Pakistani leaders are exploiting the situation, the activists lamented further. Palwasha Khan, a Pakistani politician, also criticized Imran Khan’s government, especially the governor of Sindh Imran Ismail, who insulted the poor people while distributing Rs. 12,000 as COVID relief fund under the Ehsas Programme.
She said, “Sindh governor’s video is going viral in which he is asking a poor woman to count Rs. 12,000. I want to ask the governor, you are sitting at a place where Mohd. Ali Jinnah used to sit. You are a metric pass governor and you better tell – will you be able to write ‘governor Sindh’ in English? I challenge you to write it in Urdu.”
“This money belongs to the people of the country,” she added.
The expatriate Pakistanis, including those in the medical profession, also criticized Khan’s government for its failure to convince the public to maintain social distancing during the holy month of Ramzan.
While speaking to someone in Karachi, a Pakistani doctor working on the frontline in New York narrated the horrific stories of the US and asked people in Pakistan to follow social distancing and lockdown guidelines.
He said, “We are getting the majority of patients who are not following lockdown guidelines. We doctors are taking all precautions while treating the patients. If we are taking all precautions, why are not you able to do so? What is it necessary to go to a mosque and offer Namaz there? If one person is affecting with the virus, it will spread to all those available at the mosque.”
Many people in Pakistan were expecting that Khan’s government would impose a strict ban on mass prayers – including the special Ramzan prayers in mosques – to slow the spread of COVID-19. But Khan decided against shutting down the mosques.
Doctors also warned that congregational prayers will be disastrous for the country. However, implementing the lockdown is proving to be a challenge for the government as several clerics in the country have urged people to ignore anti-COVID measures amid the Islamic holy month of fasting.
In the last 24 hours, the number of cases in the country reached 13,318 with Punjab leading the tally with 5,446 cases, which is the highest among all provinces.