Polarising politics during the pandemic is detrimental to democracy

Nazeer Ahmed Arijo
Imagine a province besieged by the enemy toorps threatening to take lives and livilihoods thus demanding the government of the day to protect people and the protectors ie frontline soldiers .Exploding cornavirus accompanied by delta variant infections is posing an existential threat to the population and their sources of survival all over the country in general and the big cities like the Karachi and Hyderabad in particular given the rising number of delta variant patients. Then imagine the mindset opposing protective and preventive measures made by the provincial government in order to protect people from the pandemic by keeping cronavirus at bay. Intoxicated with fury, the federal government opposed the lockdown imposed on the heels of climbing wave of covid delta variant in the province. Karachi. According to initial research offered by the scientists,the covid delta varient spreads like a wild fire. Despite this, the PM and federal ministers dubbed these preventive mesures ‘curfew’, which would deprive the daily-wage workers their means of bread and butter. Lockdown restrictions undoubtedly bring certain troubles, especially those living hand-to-mouth. However, such restrictions are imposed as a last resort to contain the contagious disease in question. It is important to note that the Pakistan Medical Association president has endorsed Sind government’s preventive measures. Karachi and Hyerabad stand ut with high infection rate.Had the two cites been lockeddown, the muky mindset playing politics on the pandemic, would have touted it as’ anti-urban and anti-business.Notwithstanding a million dollars question that arises is that:But what exactly has the federal government done to pull out those from grinding poverty- let alone in fiscal budget recently passed? Or what pro-poor policies have been executed to accommodate those left on the margins? The deprived sections of the society are drowning in the tsunami of inflation. People are fast losing purchasing power amid backbreaking utility bills and debilitating decline of income resources. Feeding divisions, when the province is faced with ever increasing number of covid 19 delta variant patients is detrimental to democracy. This narrow- minded narrative forwarded by the federal government has further incited the business tycoons and traders who were already in a state of defiance .As if this wasn’t enough, MQM leader Khalid Maqbool siddiqi said “Karachi could be opened “ if allowed by PM ImranKhan. Siddiqi rejected the lockdown and termed it “anti-Karachi” saying it damages people’s lives and traders’ businesses.” The political party which used a sledgehammer to kill a fly, holding the commercial hub hostage to achieve poltical ends, is now opposing the corona prevention strategy presided over by the provincial chief .The potlical party that started death and destruction in the name of politics in the province in the past actually wants to regain its capacity for cruelty, disguising it as politics. Hence, the desperation for a strong shoulder to place their guns on, in order to to reinstate politics of terror. The Game for Thrones that our so called politicians have played do deal blow to democracy. Meanwhile, PTI is frustrated that Karachi is not as submissive as Lahore, and can’t be remote-controlled. The central government wishes to replicate arbitrary interference it enjoys in other provines, which has left them completely paralysed. After having swept polls in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, it is Sindh alone that is left to conquer for the PTI- hence, the recent induction of former CM Sindh Arbab Raheem as an advisor to the PM .M eanwhile, the gathering of opposition parties in the province is case of collecting political shperds without much flock. PTI is also mulling over replacing the Inspector General of Police and the chief Secretary of Sindh, with its blue -eyed boys thus controingl the province through federal beaurocracy. Some PTI parliamentarians have even called for governor rule .These undemocratic demands made by MPs is link of the same chain. They probably aren’t aware that the 18th Amendenment has insulated the provincial assemblies against such infringement .It boggles one’s mind how federal and Punjab ministers visting Karachi can’t help but mock the PPP government .The recently defrocked, Dr.Firdous Ashiq Awan spilled venom against the people of Sindh calling them “illiterate and backward “. Fawad Chaudhry uttered disparaging remarks against the Sindh Bar council’s demand of elevating the senior most judge of the Sindh high court to the superior judiciary. Let’s not forget this is the province that has produced Quaid-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto .Even so ,where polarizing politics is detrimental under ordinary circumstances, it is especially condemnable during a pandemic. And, seemingly, the Sindh government has knuckled under, with lockdown restrictions lifted prematuarely.Thus petty politics prevailed. Those at the helm of country’s affairs need to realise that in crises cool-headed conclusions are needed, not hawkish hullabaloo. Yes, the PPP led government has public service delivery issues to address urgently. However, there shuld be no second opinion about the the need for a strong federal system in the country.

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