Corona Exposes Sectarian Divisions in Pakistan

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Fear of outbreak prompts Punjab to put over 800 Taftan pilgrims in quarantine at Dera Ghazi Khan. A doctor has alleged the provisions are poor and inadequate. The pilgrims are confined to four rooms where suspects have kept like a herd …. reports Asian Lite News

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Tents arranged for stranded Pakistanis at border

The plight of Shia pilgrims stranded at the borders exposed the attitude of Sunni majority Punjabi-controlled establishment in Pakistan. Shia leaders cry fouls as hundreds of their community members running from pillars to post get help from the government.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Pakistan have increased to 468 after Balochistan, Punjab, Sindh, Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa announced an increase in their provincial tallies.

Fear of outbreak prompts Punjab to put over 800 Taftan pilgrims in quarantine at Dera Ghazi Khan. A doctor has alleged the provisions are poor and inadequate. The pilgrims are confined to four rooms where suspects have kept like a herd.

Advocate Muzaffar, President Muslim Conference Mirpur, alleged that PoK Govt is shifting corona victims to quarantine camps in Mirpur and New City from other districts. The locals are terrified because of the lack of proper arrangements for screening and quarantine.

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The food supplied to the stranded Pakistanis

Another report says one more case has been confirmed at PJK. The infected person belongs to Tararkhal and associated with Chinese workers at Azad Patan project. Tension rising in the area as villagers at Sudhnoti and Rawalakot turning against the Chinese workers. They want all the Chinese to be screened for Corona.

Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan confirmed 60 fresh cases of the contagious disease in the province, pushing the total tally to 76. Later, the provincial Health Ministry increased the number to 81, reports The Express Tribune.

Due to the increase, the Balochistan government has imposed a ban on the public transport and declared the health emergency across the province to contain the deadly epidemic.

Meanwhile, Punjab province has reported 78 cases, including 14 in Lahore. Sindh is the worst-hit province with a total of 245 cases, including 93 in Karachi.

Pakistan has also reported two deaths, both in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The two patients died within hours of each other.

Wagah Border Closed

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Pakistani soldiers on guard at borders

Meanwhile, Pakistan closed the Wagah Border in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. According to the notification issued by the interior ministry, the Wagah border will remain closed for 2 weeks. Wagah Border closure is in the interest of both Pakistan and India, the notification added.

Reports from Quetta says the situation remain grim. Shiite Pilgrims who were placed in quarantine at Quetta blames government for improper arrangements for them. A video widely circulated in the social media shows their breakfast, a glucose biscuit pack, and lunch – a poorly cooked rice along with an onion and few cucumber slices.

“Are we not Pakistanis,” the old man in the video asks. “What sin we committed to experience these sort of treatment,” he added. “We paid taxes on time and always respected the rules, and this is the gift the Pakistani government giving to us.”

Most of the victims stranded at Quetta are Shia pilgrims returning from Iran, a hot spot of Coronavirus in the region. The Sunni Punjabi dominated Pakistani army is ignoring the plight of pilgrims. They were first told to spend 7 days in quarantine and now the period extended to 14 days.

Scores of pilgrims who had been put in quarantine in Mian Ghundi, an area on the outskirts of Quetta, came out of the isolation centre in protest against the restriction on their movement and blocked the Quetta-Karachi highway, the Dawn reported. They were demanding that they should be allowed to go home.

The protesters tried to march towards Quetta, but security forces blocked their way. The protest continued for about three hours. According to sources, around 500 pilgrims are in quarantine in Mian Ghundi. They are residents of Quetta and other districts of Balochistan.

The local administration assured the protesters that after their screening for coronavirus they would be allowed to go home.

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