NEW DELHI: Pakistan, like the rest of the world, has been busy battling the Covid-19 pandemic with the numbers having spiked ever since the government lifted the lockdown on May 31.
By Saturday morning, according to the Pak government, the total number of Covid-19 positive cases had surged to 93,983, with 4,734 cases being reported in the previous 24 hours. There were also 97 Covid-19 related deaths reported in those 24-hours. Punjab leads with 35,308 Covid-19 positive cases. Sindh is a close second with 34,889 infected persons.
In PoJK (Pakistan occupied Jammu & Kashmir), the number of Covid-19 positive persons by early Saturday was 331 while in the Gilgit-Baltistan region that’s part of PoJK, the number of infections was 897.
Pak Prime Minister Imran Khan cited the huge economic losses and its impact on the country’s poor as reasons for the lifting of the lockdown. The pandemic and the subsequent lockdown has had a debilitating impact on the Pak economy with ‘The Dawn’ newspaper reporting that it has suffered losses of up to Rs 2.5 trillion.
Imran Khan has also been busy using Twitter to divert attention from his domestic troubles to attack India repeatedly on J&K. He has reason to: While J&K has 17 Covid-19 designated hospitals, PoJK has merely 7. While J&K has 20,000 isolation beds, PoJK has merely 436. Again, while J&K has 50,000 quarantine beds, PoJK has 1,502 beds. The samples tested per a million of population in J&K have been 10,000 while in the PoJK it’s 3,500. The number of beds per a million population is 3,160 while in PoJK it is 264.
Some of these gaps can be traced to the deficiencies of the Pakistani state, but in a country where Punjab province is seen as the “core” of the country, PoJK may matter little.