The year 2020 began and nobody knew that we would be witnessing, potentially the most hazardous pandemic of the century.
COVID-19 (NOVEL-CORONAVIRUS), a deadly disease started from Wuhan, China, when few pneumonia patients started dying. This highly contagious disease rapidly spread in the surroundings of Wuhan and in few weeks, it had grappled the globe in its deadly claws.
Since there was no specific medicine or vaccine to prevent and cure this Pandemic, it left the world with only one choice…. To be secured by social distancing (as in the case of this virus, it is strictly advised). So, countries began imposing partial/complete lockdown as well as following specific SOPs, to secure its people.
Pakistan had its first registered case of COVID-19, a bit late in comparison to other countries, but it entered…. and started spreading slowly.
The Government of Pakistan took immediate action. Necessary measures were taken to control the spread of COVID-19. Partial lockdown was imposed in different parts of Pakistan and strict orders were given to impose all SOP’s. As a result of this the lower chunk of the working class of the country suffered profusely. To help them get through this period, various relief programs were introduced under the Ehsaas Relief Program to provide basic necessities.
As always, Overseas Pakistani’s were rallied by the philanthropic Prime Minister of Pakistan to help in this continuous and ongoing endeavor, by giving remittances to fund this initiative.
Not only this, but side by side these Overseas Pakistani’s, in a community-driven initiative supported by the country’s diplomatic mission, were also helping those unfortunate labour/working class Pakistani’s living in foreign countries that were now struggling to make ends meet due to the lockdown. Owing to this situation all flights and means of travelling back home were suspended, essentially stranding them wherever they currently were.
A continuous supply of Ration Packages is being supplied to respective Pakistani Embassy offices, for Ramadan as well as their extended stay. These were of two types, family and individual. Both contain Flour, Oil, Rice, Pulses, Sugar, Milk, buiscuits and basic Masalas etc. which lasts two to three weeks.
This effort can be seen across the world in many countries. In Italy, right before Ramadan, Pakistani Consulate distributed Relief Packages to those who needed it. Same was the case in the UAE where Pakistani foreign office’s staff also assisted the Pakistanis there by distributing ration and other essentials. Similar steps are being taken in Qatar where Pakistanis especially the ones who lost their jobs were given ration bags by Pakistani Consulate.
Pakistani foreign missions around the world are doing a lot everywhere. They are assisting in medical aid, helping arrange flights to repatriate Pakistani citizens stuck in foreign countries and their greatest help so far has been their efforts to ensure that those of our fellow Pakistanis whom have lost their lives to this pandemic, are connected to their families and loved ones, so they may be taken back home.
The Pakistan foreign missions’ staff has totally outdone themselves during these testing times. They are also one of the biggest assets of Pakistan in our fight against COVID-19.
By: Humera Ali
Twitter handle: @humeraali7