Altruism: Pakistan’s response to COVID-19

Ubaid Ahmed

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic all the nations across the globe are engulfed in a war like situation. The pandemic has at large shaken the global geopolitical and the socio economic fabric of the world. Countries and the global leaders are levelling their best to overcome the pandemic outcomes however no big successes have been accredited to any nation’s claims so far.

The diseases associated with the new coronavirus are also spreading in Pakistan but at a low pace. Considering the fact that nation share borders with two global epicenters of the pandemic Iran and China the situation could have been worse. In Pakistan, according to the most recent data provided by the official website launched by the government of Pakistan there are less than 8418 confirmed cases and no more than 160 deaths linked to it. As of now the countries across the globe have found lockdown an effective tool to fight the spread of the virus alongside social distancing but this has also left many people out of their jobs and daily wagers at the behest of mercy or generosity only.

Following the global suit Pakistan too followed the guidelines to prevent the spread of this novel corona virus and imposed lockdown which came with certain side effects mainly in terms of economic recession. But Pakistanis as always are bonding together to assist the less fortunate and all those unable to leave their homes to earn bread for their families in a unique and inspiring way. Specifically, many are offering zakat, the traditional Muslim charity tax, for daily wage earners who have no paid leave, health insurance or financial safety net. The altruism displayed by the nation yet again in these testing times speak volumes about nation’s strong resolve to upheld fraternity and brotherhood irrespective of faith, caste or creed.

The unprecedented strength and valor of the paramedic staff who are the real frontline soldiers in this war has indubitably bolstered the volunteerism of the whole nation. The Armed Forces of Pakistan also stepped forward in this moment of emergency and provided the government with every possible support they could. Pakistan Navy in this regard is extending its support to affected families by donating food/ commodities while reaching out to needy families in Coastal and Creeks areas of Sindh and Balochistan. Besides carrying relief operations in the coastal areas Pakistan Navy also continued relief drive and thousands of ration bags including food/ kitchen commodities and cash amounts were distributed to deserving families at Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Bahawalpur, Faisalabad, Kasur, Lahore, Muzaffar Garh, Rahim Yar Khan, Multan, Kharian and Sialkot. Pakistan Navy keeping its tradition of Humanitarian Assistance alive is also distributing PPEs and other necessary equipment required to battle the prevalent precarious situation in the far flung areas in Balochistan. Medical and personal protection equipment including masks, gloves, goggles and protective dresses were also provided to authorities and hospitals in various remote villages/ towns and cities.  As per Pakistan Navy’s released press releases, Pakistan Navy has been able to distribute by around 70000 Ton of Ration and approximately 50000 PPEs and Medical equipment.

Not only the Armed forces but volunteers from almost every walk of life have contributed in this national relief drive to help the less fortunate not lose hope. As of now, Pakistan has not seen the surge in the cases as many nations have witnessed in Europe or America, yet the nation requires to follow the guidelines amid lockdown provided by the health experts, Government Officials, televangelists and clerics. Globally it has been seen that so far only those countries have been successful in fighting this pandemic who actually were successful in breaking the chain of the spread of the virus by observing complete lockdown and practicing social distancing. Scientists, Paramedics and researchers across the globe are working day and night to find the antidote to the virus and soon they will be successful.

To conclude let’s highlight and encourage sounding work done by all tenets of nation especially Pakistan Navy contribution with the help of philanthropists, donors and volunteers for reaching out to masses in entire country. Let’s make a resolve to turn this unity and national volunteer movement into a real national movement of resolve.