BY ALI NAQVI –
Everyone was waiting to hear PM Imran Khan speak on the current Coronavirus emergency. He is revered and rightly so for being the most educated and highly intellectual politician among the current lot, thanks to his Oxford education and good communication skills. Since the appearance of Coronavirus in the country a few weeks back, all we have heard from politicians, journalists and government officials is to evade the crowds, wash hands and avoid physical contact particularly the handshake.
When the news came out that PM Imran Khan will be addressing the nation formally, everyone thought that he would enlighten the people about what the federal government has done to deal with the COVID-19 so far. And how, being the head of the government, he is engaging the world at large to help Pakistan cope with the situation by garnering medical and humanitarian assistance.
We were also expecting the PM to tell the people how the government machinery is fully active in utilizing all resources to help the people in all parts of the country. He could have explained in detail why the borders and airports were not properly monitored and screened. He ought to have used this opportunity to set aside all political differences by asking all political parties to work together and in unison to facilitate the people as much as possible.
PM Imran Khan was supposed to give the people confidence by telling them that the government is doing whatever it could to prevent the menace from spreading and also by informing what the government has already done so far, but what he said was shocking. He said that government cannot do anything to stop this and that no government in the world has been able to do much. He shocked us again when he said that don’t rush to hospitals if you have symptoms unless your condition is critical. He is not even aware of those public awareness campaigns that are encouraging the people with symptoms to call emergency numbers to get proper medical attention.
PM Imran Khan wasted the valuable time of the nation by telling them what they already knew. The address to the nation stressed on the importance of washing hands and avoiding crowded places. Is it possible that the PM was not briefed about the emergency health policy devised for the current situation or was there any? His speech was not even prepared properly with content not suited to the office of the Prime Minister.
The inception of the office of the Prime Minister takes us a few centuries back in English history. When the authority of the English monarch weakened and his ministers demanded more power and autonomy, the monarch appointed from among his ministers a Prime Minister which was called the first among equals. Is our Prime Minster really the first among equals while his ministers are a bunch of corrupt, incompetent, opportunist and flattering politicians assembled from every party which he himself considers undemocratic to the extent of treachery?