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COVID-19 & hope


Natural disasters, wars and other havocs test the endurance and strength of any nation. A nation which comes out successfully from these hard times becomes more powerful, sovereign and united. Apart from good leadership, one thing that is crucial for survival during tough times is, surely, the hope and confidence. It is hope which unites any nation and helps it to sail smoothly on the seas of misfortunes and troubles to reach the shores of fortune, success and prosperity.
Pakistan has a long history of disasters and its endurance. One of those disasters that everyone witnessed is 2005 Kashmir quake that took from us 73,000 lives, leaving 3.3 million homeless. The worst ever floods in 80 years that made Pakistan to sought international help in 2010 affected 20 million including migrant crisis, economic shocks and displacements. Above all, Pakistan as frontline warrior in global war on terror has proved its ability to fight with world notorious militants. Despite huge economic loss and international bash, it has survived.
Pakistan has survived from global isolation, Indian nefarious tactics and a long dent of terrorist nation. Sectarian violence, Peshawar Army public school attack and millions of such events have been part of our lives. Despite of all this, it has topped the happiness index report in 2019 among all South East Asian Nations.
Now, world stands still and each one of us is going through the testing times. There are tons of guidelines everywhere related to COVID-19 precautions and its spread. However, the little has been said about hope and courage.
The novel corona virus has mortality rate of up to 2 percent in Pakistan which means if there are 50,000 cases by the end of April as per the report submitted by government in the Supreme Court of Pakistan, 1000 would unfortunately be dead. On the brighter side, the recovery rate is 24 percent. And if we pledge to maintain social distancing this percentage can increase. There is a fear prevailing currently that people might die due to hunger and lack of earning amid lockdown. However, there is a ray of hope in it as well. According to global poverty estimates, 28 percent of Pakistan’s population is below the poverty line. Quarter of which would be catered by Ehsaas cash distribution scheme and private based charity organization, while few of them would be fed with Zakat and multilateral schemes such as Benazir Income Support.
The issue itself is not something that we cannot fight but the awe and anxiety spreading will take more lives around us. Depression and psychological issues are about to be the new normal for people of Pakistan already at border line. What we need right now is a glimmer of hope and for that our religion Islam and few lifestyle changes can be the guide. The Quran says in Surah An’aam “Not a leaf falls but that He knows it”. Then how come as Muslims, we can deny that the virus and its containment are beyond His reach and mercy. In another verse it is said, “Death will find you even if ye hide in fortresses built up strong and high”. But it does not imply that we should stop taking measures that can save us from death. It is similar to what a poor man does to save his family from starvation.
Not taking precautions or maintaining social distance would be suicidal for humanity. In current situation one of the saying of The Holy Prophet Fixes the last enigmatic thought on reliance on Allah for mercy “Tie your camel first, then put your trust in Allah”.
Life is a balance of taking actions and putting your faith on Allah. We should start believing that life would not be same after this pandemic; the following things will help us to adopt these changes: (1) Our spending must, for now onwards, be focused on saving side instead of wasting it on fancy restaurants, shopping malls or buying unnecessary things; (2) As we have analyzed the need of digital skills a lot than before, free online courses i.e. Harvard University, British Council can add up to our portfolio for changed world; (3) Parents who are resistant to technology must realize that it has become their survival; (4) Children need to be engaged in technology-based activities that keeps their creative side intact; (5) Since there is dearth of physical activity, clean eating along with a home-based workout should be part of our routine; (6) This pandemic has changed traditional gender roles in terms of men helping in house chores, by this means women should start looking for work from home opportunities to help their male counterparts; (7) We have got plenty of time to rejuvenate our spiritual connection with God that was previously lost in hustle and bustle of life; (8) We should start helping the less privileged who are about to cross the threshold of below the poverty line; (9) Switching off television and filtering unnecessary information on WhatsApp groups will make our journey peaceful; (10) Spending time with family is what can help us to cope with this unprecedented crisis.
COVID-19 came a century after the Spanish flu while nobody was prepared or expected it. This compelled the world to press a reset button. But as the Gail Lynne Goodwin has said, Live while you’re alive. We as a nation cannot put ourselves in despair. Hope is what can keep us alive, it can satisfy our inner self as a wave of change in our lives. Pakistan is known for its resilience and together we can win this battle as previous ones.