There seems to be a difference of opinion between the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and some of its allies regarding quarantine and when this option should be exercised. Questions in particular, have been raised over whether the ruling party should have put members of the Tableeghi Jamaat under quarantine, even after some members tested positive for the coronavirus.

The government taking the preachers and keeping them in quarantine centres by no means constitutes an act of arbitrary arrest. Placing them in isolation wards was the only option given that some members of Tableeghi Jamaat contracted the virus and were in close proximity within a large group; there is a high chance of additional cases.

Nowhere has the government given any impression that members of the Tableegi Jamaat are under arrest or in custody. Their safety and the safety of those around them is what guides the government’s move. Containing the spread of the infection must take the utmost priority currently, which requires that both suspected and confirmed cases be separated and put into quarantine for a brief period.

It obviously goes without saying that those under quarantine must be protected and provide all amenities to be comfortable. The government understands this better than anyone, given the lengths it has gone to set up additional isolation wards and field hospitals. That much said, the state must carry on with all such actions it deems necessary for containing the spread of the virus. Uniting behind the government is the only way we will all pull through this.