Indian Media needs to grow up

Coronavirus has hit the world hard. The developed countries are reeling under its potent onslaught. Desperate cries of shortage of ventilators, hospital beds and testing equipment is reverberating through the corridors of the economic powers in America and Europe. They are losing doctors and nurses, their first line of defense against this unforgiving and indiscriminating disease. The fight for survival of human race has entered a critical phase.

Yesterday, I go through a news story published in one of the prominent newspaper of India blaming Imran Khan for moving COVID-19 positive cases to Azad Kashmir and Gilgit. I was not much surprised, as it is not for the first time that, Indian Media has played game of blaming and naming.  From Balakot air strike to COVID-19, India Media has never missed a single chance to misguide the nation. It is pertinent to mention here that due to tightened precautionary measures; only two cases of coronavirus has been reported in the AJK so far.

India’s real face has been revealed to the world many times from revoking Article 370 and 35-A to Citizenship Amendment Bill, which has usurped the constitutional rights of Kashmiris. Let me remind you, the extremist and bias government led by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi exposed worldwide as the British journal ‘The Economist’ made headline “Intolerant India”. In a review of the BJP government’s policies in the wake of the Citizenship Amendment Act, The Economist – article stated that Modi is apparently trying to transform India from a tolerant, multi-religious place into a chauvinist Hindu state. The article termed the Citizenship Amendment Act as NDA government’s most ambitious step yet in a decades-long project of incitement. It added that the government’s policies may have helped the Narendra Modi to win elections but the same have proven to be political poison for the country. The review further mentioned that the Indian government wanted to divert the attention of people from worse economic situation and other matters through these steps. The British journal made a headline that Narendra Modi stokes divisions in the world’s biggest democracy.

No matter what the Indians do they cannot hide their oppression on the people of Kashmir which the Indian troops have let loose since 1989 and has reached the ultimate limits in the backdrop of the siege that has been laid since 5th August when the Indian government through a decree ended the special status of IOK. The episodes of atrocities and blatant violations of human rights have all along been documented by the international human rights entities like Amnesty International and of late by a group of the British parliamentarians, UN human Rights commission and the international media which has been continuously exposing the Indian oppression with graphic depictions in spite of the blockade of all means of communication and denial of access to the international media to the valley. In this age of media revolution made possible by the technological advancements it has become impossible for anybody to conceal the facts from the outside world. It is another matter that the international community particularly the big powers remain criminally indifferent to the plight of the people of Kashmir blinded by their commercial and strategic interests rather than showing their commitment to the much claimed humanitarian credentials and respect for the right of self-determination of the oppressed people.

The mysterious microbe originating from Wuhan, a city in mainland China, has now spread across all the continents of the world (barring Antarctica). COVID-19, a virus belonging to the family of coronaviruses, poses a threat to humanity, as a whole.  At the time of writing, 1495 cases confirmed across the country. All over the world, scientists and health professionals are struggling to develop a vaccine, to protect the people from the horrifying effects of this extremely contagious virus. Amidst these challenging times, it has become an absolute necessity to keep our hopes firmly intact. We already have borders closing, stock markets crashing, and a global recession in the making; hope remains our last bet to overcome this crisis.

Since the breakout, precautions and safety measures have been a priority across the country. The threat came from where we expected least. A wave of pilgrims from the Taftan border, Balochistan, entered and spread in the country taking the virus with them all over Pakistan. But surprisingly, government is fending off well against the virus. Sure, there are several cases and the recovery rate is low but then there are countries with conditions one shudders to think about. Government in Pakistan has imposed lockdown to contain the spread on Covid-19 till the mid of April 2020. This necessitates the need for a robust response plan to contain the current outbreak and prevent its escalation due to further transmission. The government has not only taken adequate steps to tackle the spread of the coronavirus but has also unleashed a sustained awareness campaign for the masses in regards to the precautionary measures that they need to take to avoid the possibility of contracting the disease. The WHO representative is right on money in advising the people to follow the instructions given by the government. Tackling the coronavirus surely requires collective efforts by the government and society. As there is a saying ‘Prevention is better than cure’. One can hardly take an issue with the precautionary measures announced by the government and the need for the masses is to fully comply with them.

Moreover, the government is readying emergency response systems; increasing capacity to detect and care for patients; ensuring hospitals have space. On the other hand, The Indian government has defended its handling of the coronavirus outbreak after a strict lockdown – introduced with little warning – left millions stranded and without food. India’s population of 1.3 billion was given less than four hours’ notice of the three-week lockdown on Tuesday. Officially about 900 people have coronavirus in India. However, experts worry that the real number of infections could be far higher. India has one of the lowest testing rates in the world, although efforts are under way to ramp up capacity. There are fears that an outbreak in the country – one of the world’s most densely populated – could result in a catastrophe. So far 20 people are reported to have died. People are banned from leaving their homes under the “total lockdown” measures. All non-essential businesses have been closed and almost all public gatherings are banned. But there have been reports of long queues and panic buying as people struggle to get supplies. After the lockdown was announced, people in Delhi and the financial capital, Mumbai, quickly thronged shops and pharmacies amid fears of shortages.

It prompted Prime Minister Narendra Modi to warn that panic buying would only spread the disease. He said the government would ensure there were sufficient supplies. Meanwhile, millions have been left jobless and without money as a result of the shutdown. It has sparked an exodus from major cities such as Delhi, where thousands of migrant workers are setting out on long journeys back to their home villages after transport was stopped. According to a news agency, One worker died on Saturday after he attempted to walk a 168 mile (270km) journey back home. Why Indian Media is not highlighting the miseries of their own people? Indian Media needs to grow up and should focus on the miseries of the affectees of this pandemic. People of Azad Kashmir, and Pakistan trust on Imran Khan, and definitely we will win the fight against COVID-19 in the sincere leadership of Imran Khan.

As for the Coronavirus, the human race will survive but at a cost. Once the appetite of this ravenous pandemic subsides we will see new power centers being created. Unfair economic tilt will be readjusted. Monarchies may turn into democracies and democracies may be redefined. We will have a new world order. This time, however, the world will have no part in it.

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