Pakistan’s prime minister seeks to justify views on lockdown by pointing to global economic concerns during pandemic
Lockdowns imposed globally to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus have resulted in economic collapse, and a steep rise in poverty, claimed Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday, as he reiterated that his government’s “smart lockdown” was the only effective strategy possible.
In a series of tweets, the prime minister said that the public had to be sensitized to the importance of preventative standard operating procedures (SOPs). “On the one hand we have the masses who are not taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously and on the other hand, understandably, we have our frontline doctors and health professionals, who are at great risk, and some of our elite wanting a lockdown—the elite who have the privilege of spacious homes and income unaffected by fallout of lockdown,” he said.
The prime minister has repeatedly claimed lockdowns only benefit the so-called “elite”—a socioeconomic class he is very much a part of—seemingly ignoring that it is the same privileged who can protect themselves most easily by adopting preventative measures, while the impoverished for whom he has allegedly ended lockdowns are most at-risk of infection.
Khan said that Pakistan was among the pioneers of “smart lockdown” strategy, adding that coupled with strict adherence to SOPs against COVID-19, it could overcome the pandemic.
“We are amongst pioneers of this approach [smart lockdown]. I appeal to civil society, media, ulema and our Tiger Force to create awareness amongst the public of COVID-19’s severity and the need to strictly observe SOPs,” he added.
Pakistan currently has 103,671 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, and has reported 2,067 fatalities due to the disease. Nationwide, there have been 35,355 recoveries, leaving 67,249 active cases of the virus.