The top brass of the Pakistan Army is displeased with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis and confronted the Pak government’s failure in dealing with the pandemic - as if it is not in the unofficial custodian of the latter's decision making.
According to Wajid Shamsul Hasan, a former Pakistani diplomat and journalist, the total failure of Imran Khan government's anti-COVID-19 policies justifies that Generals should take control of the situation in Pakistan. However, there is no official declaration of martial law in the country.
"Until last induction of officers up to the rank of Lt. Generals in the civilian cadre, there are now more than a dozen former and current military officials in prominent government posts such as running the state-owned PIA, the power regulator and the National Institute of Health, which is leading the country's pandemic response. Three of those appointments happened in the last two months," ANI quoted Hasan as saying.
He believes that Imran Khan has failed to decide what is best for combating Coronavirus, as the government did not feel the need to impose a complete lockdown even as positive cases multiplied. With COVID-19 deaths nearing 3000 mark, the Prime Minister has now introduced a ‘smart lockdown’ in places where the surge is more severe.
Seeing that the situation in Pakistan has become more threatening, the World Health Organization warned the country of dire consequences. In its latest directive, WHO has asked Pakistan to implement "intermittent" lockdowns to counter the surge in coronavirus cases.
Ever since the first case of Covid-19 was reported in Pakistan, PM Imran Khan has been emphasising against lockdown measures arguing the impoverished country could not afford massive unemployment due to it. Four provinces have ordered a patchwork of closures, and last week Khan said most of these restrictions too, would be lifted.
"As of today, Pakistan does not meet any of the pre-requisite conditions for opening the lockdown", the WHO said in a letter to Punjab's provincial health minister Dr Yasmin Rashid, recommending an intermittent lockdown cycle of two weeks on and two weeks off.
WHO believes that 25 percent of tests in Pakistan have resulted positive for COVID-19, indicating high levels of infection in the general population. Several hospitals across the country say they have reached the capacity, and some are turning Coronavirus patients away.
Pakistan has reported 132,405 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, including 2,551 deaths since its first case emerged on February 26.
(With ANI inputs)