Polarization between Pakistan’s Federal and Sindh Governments on COVID-19

COVID-19 is a pandemic disease which has wrapped the whole world in its trap resultantly thousands of people throughout the world are dying because of this virus. Moreover, the world’s most developed countries are very serious and suffering from multiple problems because of the fast spread of Coronavirus. Global financial and social structures have been experiencing the worst times of the 21st Century. Most of the countries throughout the world are focusing on and investing a huge amount of money to fight against COVID-19. The nations which have high literacy rate, understanding of circumstances, sophisticated systems, sense of responsibility, care for saving the lives of their people, care for humanity, and emotions for their people that states have been using their money, skills, expertise, and abilities to overcome the fatal disease. Whereas in this time of crises, Federal and Sindh Governments of Pakistan are busy in fighting with each other instead of Fighting with COVID-19. Furthermore, Federal and Provincial governments are blaming each other through raising the questions and fingers on the authenticity of their policies and actions against COVID-19. These inefficient, incompetent, unproductive, and disorganized government officials are wasting their energies over blaming each other just for point-scoring. Such nations are considered the dead nations which have never used their minds even in the time of crises. Unfortunately, it looks from their tug of war that they don’t have a mind to use and think rationally over things. They are trash and dumb people who are considered mentally ill and dead and their minds have stopped working since very long.

Looking over the blame game between federal and Sindh governments, many PTI persons and ministers such as Faisal Vawda, Ali Zaidi, Firdous Ashiq Awan, FidousShamim Naqvi, Haleem Adil Shaikh, Murad Saeed and Malik Shehzad Awan are criticizing and blaming Sindh government for its failure to curb coronavirus. There are various assumptions that the Federal government is doing all this since they want to put the cover on their inefficiencies, incompetence, and failure against curbing COVID-19. Besides, the Federal Minister Faisal Vawda lashes out at the Sindh government’s decision to seal 12 UCs of Karachi and blames that it has failed to counter the Coronavirus situation. He further explained that “lockdown of the province is not a solution to curb coronavirus”. Likewise, he blamed Sindh government over corruption in funds which have been utilized for eliminating the virus. In this regard, another PTI worker and very close to PM Imran Khan DrShahzad Gill blamed Sindh government on its policies that according to him are useless and without proper planning. In which he blamed Sindh government over other issues such as mentioning its name over Ahsaas program, torture on political workers, and daily conducting 500 tests not more than this.

On the other side, Sindh government spokesperson MurtazaWahab also criticized the Centre for sending faulty coronavirus testing kits that showed the negligence of Centre including defaming Sindh government since it is working efficiently against COVID-19. Also, Federal government wants to open some industries and hopes people to follow SOP while it is unable to properly distribute money of Ahsaas program to the people that seems thousands of people gathered to collect money without following the guidelines provided by the government. Sindh Information Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah said that if the Federal government had taken timely preventive measures the situation would have been different. Further, he told that when Sindh government decided to impose a lockdown the PM response was not positive. He explained that the federal government did not show seriousness to fight against coronavirus that’s why the Sindh government’s measures were also misreported by the federal government. As a result of the fight between both Centre and provinces, masses are the real victims and suffering from multiple difficulties because of the tug of war between both the governments. The basic and major difference of opinion between both the governments is on the issue of lockdown and policies to combat COVID-19. Sindh government wants complete lockdown as the only viable option to slow the spread of coronavirus. While the Federal government wants partial lockdown and directs the provinces to choose their paths instead of leading and giving them direction.

Since the statement of DG ISPR looks mature and sensible concerning fight against COVID-19 in which he said that “cooperation is more important than isolation in the fight against COVID-19”. Besides, the Supreme Court of Pakistan took a suo-motu notice regarding the measures taken by the federal government to curb the spread of coronavirus. Justice Gulzar Ahmed (Chief Justice of Pakistan) showed his resentment on the performance of the federal government to handle the deadly COVID-19. He further explained that “there is an army of ministers and advisors in place but there is no working being done”. He further explained that corrupt people have been kept as advisors in the government. Chief Justice also raised the questions over the credential of the Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza. One of the biggest lacks observed in the leadership of big political parties of the country is lack of vision, commitment and will power to face and resist against difficulties, proper planning and strategy for any policy and action. This is all because of the lack of proper education and understanding of circumstances. Furthermore, the ruling elite of Pakistan never bothers to think out of national premises rather its thinking is limited. The ruling elite’s topmost priority remains on controlling the national affairs, point scoring as well as dominancy over others within the country. They never bother to consider the regional as well as global changes that severely affect the national and internal affairs because of the globalized world. Pakistan is living in the society of nations which are depending and connected where actions and policies of one state leave impacts over another one even beyond the region. In this regard, the Federal government needs not only the cooperation and coordination of provincial governments but also other states and international regimes to fight against Coronavirus. Therefore it has to make decisions rationally via looking over the existing circumstances rather than taking decisions which become the source of resentment between the Federal and provincial governments as well as the global entities.

Irfan Mahar
Irfan Mahar
The writer is working as a Research Associate at the Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), a non-partisan think-tank based out of Islamabad, and Ph.D. scholar in the Department of Defense and Strategic Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad,Pakistan.