The PTI-led government in KPK and Punjab are finally getting serious in implementation of SOPs after the Covid-19 cases increase rapidly during month of May 2020. On Friday June 5, police in Faisalabad took unique actions to penalize people who are openly violating SOPs despite repetitive requests from the government. The traffic police along with volunteers deflated tires of vehicles like motorcycles, chingchis and rickshaws who were either not wearing masks or carrying loads of people without suggested social distancing.
The actions of police are though untraditional yet most needed in times when general masses refuse to consider coronavirus as a serious pandemic. While it is easy to fine people travelling on cars, there are less options for people on cycles, motorbikes and rikshaws and thus, the innovative strategies of Punjab police needs to be supported.
Similarly, in Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi and Gujrat, strict operation has been started to shut down markets and shops that are not following SOPs. Severe warning along with fine of Rs. 30,000 will be imposed on shopkeepers breaking the law. In Bannu district of KPK, all 114 shops were closed for non-conformity to SOPs.
The decision to crackdown on markets and general masses came on Thursday June 4, in a meeting of Punjab Cabinet Committee on Corona chaired by Senior Minister Abdul Aleem Khan. After meeting, both Punjab government and KPK government declared all out operation against violators who have contributed to taking Covid-19 cases toll in Pakistan to new level of 86,000.
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Prime Minister Imran Khan has been widely criticized for this inability to lead from the front against the virus as he allowed opening of markets, offices, mosques and other areas to save the country from economic crisis. The government took these decisions in light of economic health of Pakistan which could not sustain a lockdown where already developed world is facing the heat.
Read More: Pakistan’s Economic Outlook in Era of Covid-19
However, the world witnessed an extremely irresponsible behavior on part of Pakistanis when they ridiculed the SOPs issues by respective provincial governments and flooded the roads and markets without masks, gloves or social distancing. The results are now haunting the healthcare sector and government with shortage of facilities and continuous rise in number of cases and deaths.
The actions now being taken should have been the plan of action of all provincial governments since the Federal government decided that Pakistan will no longer see strict lockdown. With WHO declaring coronavirus as a virus that will stay, there is no option left but to implement strict SOPs with involvement of law enforcement agencies.
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