ISLAMABAD - The sudden rise of Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the country has triggered a blame-game among the provinces about taking improper measures to avoid spread of disease in the country.

The number of COVID-19 patients reportedly in Pakistan has reached 237 with maximum number of cases in Sidh province. The PTI’s government last Friday sprung into action by immediately closing all schools and universities, public and private, vocational institutions and madaris [religious seminaries] in the country.

The Sindh and Balochistan governments had already taken this important measure to avoid outbreak of virus a couple of days before. Yesterday, the Sindh government had also decided to close government official from Thursday.

The blame game was first seen in the last sitting of national assembly, when PPP-P’s senior members blamed federal government for its non-serious attitude to tackle the important matter.

BNP-Mengal, the allied partners of PTI’s government, in the same session, criticized Balochistan government for improper arrangements in Quetta for large number of devotees returning from Iran to deal with Coronavirus. 

Although the federal government abruptly prorogued the last session to avoid outbreak of Coronavirus but the blame game is visible in the press conferences and social media. In another big decision, the federal government had decided not to call joint sitting of parliament to discuss strategy against Coronavirus in the country.

Political gurus viewed that it was not the time to blame each other but to work as one unit to fight with virus in the country. The great nations in crisis time work jointly to fight against calamities, catastrophic situations, disasters and other difficult situations.

To open the floodgates of criticism and panic, Interior Minister of Balochistan Zia Lango had yesterday surprised and panicked many with his statement that ‘pilgrims arriving from Taftan border were sent to other provinces only after preliminary tests [without properly quarantined]’. Except KPK, the criticism of three two provinces governments [Sindh and Balochistan] and federal capital is visible on each other.

In some of the examples, Barrister Murtaza Wahab, the spokesperson for Sindh government, had tweeted that the number of cases in the province had increased to 146, with detection of pilgrims, who returned from Iran via the Taftan border. It was open criticism on Balochistan government for improper measures.

On the other hand, Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal had blamed federal government for not providing insufficient kits [only 300 virus testing kits] to check thousands of people.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, almost on daily basis, blaming federal government for leaving Balochistan government alone to deal with the COVID-19 returning from Iran. Whereas, Dr Zafar Mirza, special assistant to the prime minister on health had remarked that the people should look at the increasing numbers in a “rational” way instead of getting panicked.

Talking to The Nation, Minister for Inter-Provincial coordination Dr.Fehmida Mirza said that the provinces should avoid blame game and work under one umbrella to deal with this situation.

“Blame-game would not serve purpose against Coronavirus, only coordination among the provinces to control the outbreak of virus would help the nation,” she said. In the current situation, the role of all the provinces is important which is possible only with unity.