- The call for unity to fight coronavirus
PML(N) President Shahbaz Sharif has returned to Pakistan at a time when the nation faces the coronavirus challenge and there is a need to jointly put up a fight against the pandemic. The PTI government, which is supposed to bring the nation together, is however unwilling to part with its partisan attitude. Even when forced by circumstance to follow the course adopted by the PPP’s Sindh government, the Prime Minister continued to indulge in a hairsplitting exercise differentiating between lockdown and shutdown, even when the PTI’s Punjab government was taking steps identical with those of the Sindh government, including calling in the Army in support of the provincial administration
Mr Shahbaz Sharif has called upon politicians to join hands ignoring political and personal agendas to collectively fight the coronavirus challenge. Having been twice a CM he knows the ministries and departments from where funds can be transferred to deal with emergencies. He has given the government a number of suggestions to overcome the hurdles the PTI leadership had mentioned in the way of providing relief to the common man. He also pleaded the case of the medical workers including doctors and the nursing staff who are fighting the virus on the front lines.
The arrival of Mr Sharif can on the one hand raise the morale of the PML(N), while on the other act as a catalytic agent to bring the opposition together so that it can play its role at this crucial juncture. The joint opposition, which had become moribund after the JUI(F)’s Azadi March in December, is displaying signs of animation now. Heads of the opposition parties, including PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, would soon be holding a video conference to exchange views over how to deal with coronavirus in the country and keep an eye on the government’s performance. The joint opposition can draw the government’s attention to shortcomings that sycophants around the PM often try to cover up.
Mr Shahbaz Sharif’s arrival is also likely to speed up the formation of a joint parliamentary panel that will help government and opposition evolve consensus over policies to overcome the menace of the pandemic