Lessons learnt during COVID-19 Pandemic

(Ershad Mahmud)

The lethal spread of Coronavirus has slowed down and hence the normal business is about to resume. But hold on for a minute! Let’s take a look at what we have gained or learned in the last few months of pandemic and lockdowns.  

In these few months, the world has seen the gods of modern technology bow their heads to this natural epidemic. The great powers like the United States, China and Europe keep banging their heads on the wall but do not get to the root of the problem, which made us believe that the world needs to be a peaceful place more than ever.

Instead of monopolizing the financial and natural resources of a few countries or families, they should be allocated for the welfare of the world’s inhabitants. The need to reduce the gap between rich and poor has become apparent once again, as in this type of pandemic the needs of the poor can ruin many things for those who are rich and have everything they want.

In the last five months, most of the benefactors have played a vital role in helping the oppressed sections of society. Welfare and social organizations served the people to the fullest. Many of the leaders of these organizations fell victim to COVID-19 and lost their lives, but the spirit of service and dedication of the volunteers did not diminish. A large number of doctors and medical staff also took care of the citizens beyond their means.

It is the beauty of our society that people hold each other’s hands in times of trouble. Sharing food is considered a reward. They also share their resources with the needy. The federal government helped the needy under the Ehsaas Support program without any recommendation or politics. Ms Sania Nishtar worked day and night to deliver financial aid to the needy.

Along with the positive aspects, there was a strong realization that people do not care about the authority of the state. The government and the WHO shouted for caution. Many listened to the word of caution but a lot of them ignored it.

The whole nation suffered the consequences of the carelessness on Eid-ul-Fitr. During Eid-ul-Adha, I had the opportunity to visit Rawalpindi, Muzaffarabad, and Haripur. Little did they realize that the Corona epidemic had ever passed.

During the war on terror, the government wanted to fight terrorists, but public opinion was unwilling to recognize them as terrorists or anti-Pakistan. Attack on Peshawar Army Public School changed public opinion otherwise Pakistan would have lost this war because governments working against the will of public opinion becomes ineffective

The bitter reality has also become apparent in the last few months that the capacity of the administration to take citizens along is very low. It happens. Besides, citizens have an objection to the administration that instead of standing with the common people, it often becomes a pocket watch and a stick in the hands of the powerful classes.

Once again, a calamity or natural disaster exposed the lack of capacity of the government. Our state has ample financial resources but little human resources. Hospitals are understaffed. Medical devices do not have the skills required to use them. There is not a single major national challenge that the civil administration has faced without the help of the military.

The fact is that Karachi was submerged due to rains. The army had to be called in to open the rain gutters. If there was a problem of law and order, the army would have been called. Sometimes the army is needed to fight the bandits. The government spends billions of rupees every year on the civilian bureaucracy. If the army is the nectar of every problem, then what is the use of these expenses!

Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry shook hands with the scientific institutes and started making small medical devices. The situation is that Pakistan is one of the least technologically advanced countries in the world in agriculture and industry.

However, no country can advance without the use of modern technology. There are no efforts for innovation, scientific research and development in the public or private sector. Universities are awarding degrees in bulk but inventions are scarce. No attention is paid to enhancing the professional and managerial capacity of the employees. 80% of the female population is not part of the productive system.

Thanks to Corona, the teaching department had to go online. Lack of good internet service and unfamiliarity of teachers with modern teaching methods created ridiculous problems for students. Gradually, it became clear that online teaching was a reality. This is what will happen in the future.

This is a topic that cannot be summed up in one column. A few key points are covered in this article. Readers, especially young writers, are encouraged to share their experiences and observations on these topics.

The writer is Islamabad/Rawalakot based analyst. He can be reached at Ershad.mahmud@gmail.com

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