Wednesday (March 18th): “Don’t Panic my countrymen” -Pakistani PM

Imran Khan

Name? Imran Khan

Westphalian identity? Pakistani

Age? 67

Why is he in the news? The Pakistani Prime Minister has called upon his country “not to panic” as it witnesses a spike in coronavirus cases. He warned that a spread of Covid19 was inevitable and that Pakistan could not financially or socially afford the cost of shutting down its cities.

Why do we care? Pakistan currently has the highest number of confirmed cases in South Asia; more than it’s not-so-friendly neighbour, India, but significantly less than it’s slightly more friendly neighbour, Iran. Thus, what Pakistan decides to do, or not to do, will directly impact the stability and security of the region. 

Why should you care? The actions of all world leaders are of relevance to you as they help to decide how long and how devastating the spread of Covid19 will be. If your country closes its borders and largely closes up shop within those borders, but other countries do not, it is highly likely that when your country opens its borders again, Covid19 still exists and persists in other regions of the world. 

Who else cares? Mostly, Pakistan’s neighbours: Iran, Afghanistan, India and China. As most Pakistan cases of corona have been from those travelling from Iran, Pakistan and its neighbours may start to consider preventative measures against Iran such as closing borders to only allow “necessary travel” or minimizing business.

Any further comments? As we’ve said before and will no doubt say again, it is extremely important that heads of state and government around the world cooperate and coordinate their efforts in containing Covid19 in order for the consequences of its spread to be effectively minimized. Moreover, as many others have reported, social distancing and self-quarantining are especially important to combat the rapid spread of the virus. If heads of state such as Imran Khan do not endorse and encourage such measures, their citizens will see no point to implement them–once again resulting in a rapid expansion of the virus into new and more vulnerable communities.

Sarah McFadden

General Coordinator