Of privilege and entitlement

So much for ‘one Pakistan’ talk

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This should not be the subject of a discussion, given the crisis we are in but then this is related to the existential crisis we are faced with and hence it is important to talk about it.

Lahore police this week acting on a complaint and/or intelligence that a certain individual in Lahore’s posh  locality has dispatched his domestic help to his home town in Vehari despite knowing that he had tested positive for coronavirus, arrested the owner of the house. Not only that he was sent by a public transport. Neither was the case reported to the authority concerned.  As a result of this irresponsible act of an individual, hundreds of people, those who were onboard that bus and those in the village, were exposed to the harmful virus. Reportedly the whole of the village where the infected individual hailed from has been put under quarantine.

That was not the end of it. In the promised ‘one Pakistan’ the person responsible would have been dealt with according to the law of the land, he would have been given the access to legal representation, a case would have been instituted and after due process court would have handed the verdict. Media must have reported it responsibly for others to have their lesson. Not least the police and health officials would have been appreciated for spotting the illegal activity and acting in a timely fashion.

But apparently none of this has happened. If anything exactly the opposite of it is being reported. As it happened, the arrestee was the husband of a designer who uploaded a video where she appeared deeply offended over the act. Her contention was that the police came armed with guns at an odd hour and were rude and took away her husband without letting them have access to their lawyer. She conveniently ignored the charge part of it.

Later she posted another video with her husband by her side thanking the top most office and the military for intervening. Police, she thought, she did not have any hope from. The accused too parrying the charge called the whole arrest saga as panic on the part of the police.

The Lahore police through its spokesperson dismissed the criticism and said that they had taken “timely action and sent a message to other violators”. They called the criticism by the accused family as unfortunate.

This whole episode has not sent the right signal to the nation as well as the government officials who are striving hard to cope with an emergency situation. Government though reluctantly was also contemplating stricter lockdown bordering on curfew. In Sindh and Punjab we saw pictures of poor people being humiliated for roaming around on roads. This practically means that the rich can get away with anything in the country. And the prime minister who never tires of talking of poor people should offer a clarification as to why did he side with a accused who contributed to thwarting the collective efforts by the government and the nation by driving out an employee of his without caring for others’ lives. The man in question should face the law or police and others who are doing everything they can under trying times would be discouraged.