After terrorising the people of Sindh, HIV/Aids virus is being reported at an alarming rate in some districts of Punjab. According to a finding, Punjab AIDS Control Program (PACP) has registered more than 2800 patients from five districts – Faisalabad, Chiniot, Sahiwal, Jhang and Nankana – so far. The figures can go up in the days to come.

Had the provincial government and concerned department been vigilant against the life-taking disease, the figures could have been controlled. The authorities cannot exonerate themselves from the criminal negligence that they have shown so far.

What is shocking and disgusting is the behaviour of the provincial authorities that tried to sweep the issue under the carpet instead of organising screening camps to probe the reasons for the surge in the numbers of the HIV patients. Before anything else, the Punjab government should initiate an investigation against officials who issued strict warnings to the PACP staff against bringing any information out in public.

Also, the Chief Minister (CM) should immediately fire those who tried to conceal the issue. If the Punjab government does not take action against the responsible ones, then it is difficult to ignore that the provincial government was also in collaboration with the concerned authorities to avoid earning a bad name for itself.

Those who do not learn from the mistakes of others tend to repeat such mistakes. Instead of learning from the mistakes of Sindh the Health authorities in Punjab chose to remain idle against the menace of quackery that according to the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) is the leading cause of HIV/AIDS spread. Even in the largest province of Naya Pakistan, departments are not fulfilling their duties, as the members of PMA accuse the Punjab Healthcare Commission (PHC) of ignoring the quackery.

Although Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) had made tall claims to revolutionise the health sector of the country, the provincial minister for health, Dr Yasmin Rashid, did not make herself available to comment on the spread of HIV. What is clear from the recent surge in cases of HIV/ AIDS cases is the fact that authorities here do not value preventive approach against any menace. Officials only come into action when a mishap happens.

Yet the increase in the cases of HIV/AIDS cannot be termed as an epidemic; nevertheless, the surge in the number of HIV/AIDS patients at an alarming level is an issue of real concern. The provincial government should take all the necessary actions to save others from falling victims to HIV/AIDS.