Conspiracy theories are paving the way for coronavirus in Pakistan, the virus has begun spreading in the country faster than in any other country known all because of unauthentic information and conspiracy theories regarding the virus.
Consipiracy theories are paving the way for coronavirus in Pakistan, the virus has begun spreading in the country faster than in any other country known all because of unauthentic information and conspiracy theories regarding the virus.
The current figure of COVID-19 cases in Pakistan 125,933. Infections have increased 500% over the last week. Despite of such miserable indications, the government has brought ease in lockdowns and is intending to reopen the tourism industry.
Remarks of Human Rights Watch on the ease in lockdown and reopening tourism is that people’s health is compromised. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that Pakistan should impose strict two weeks to control the spread.
But the government minstries havve yet not cooperated to act on the WHO recommendations. Zafar Mirza, special assistant to the prime minister for health, said the recommendations are not mandatory and that the government must take economic as well as health considerations into account.
Some experts believe the government inaction is driven by the large slice of the population that does not take the coronavirus seriously due to conspiracy theories rampant on social media.
There has been seen different judgement over the pandemic for example, in April,Tariq Jameel, Pakistan’s most famous televised Islamic scholar, claimed the coronavirus is a sign of God’s wrath over such sins as women dancing and dressing immodestly.
Another conspiracy was that the coronavirus is part of China’s master plan for world dominance. Because Pakistan is China’s ally.
Another interesting guess is that Bill Gates, Microsoft’s founder, is accused of spreading the virus so he can make a fortune selling vaccines.
Malik Siraj Akbar, a South Asia analyst based in Washington, says conspiracy theories have always been widespread in Pakistan. “Some people are agitated over these theories now only because of the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic”.
According to Akbar PM Imran Khan appears to convey fiction and religion than science. In a televised address in March, Khan said: “Ninety percent of coronavirus cases are normal flu, and clear up without any treatment.”
Khan’s seriousness to the disease is very subjective, and based on his personal prejudices.
Surprisingly, well educated people such as doctors spread conspiracies. As a result, laypeople are easily taken in because they have been shared by “experts.”
Recently, multiple doctors suggested that senna leaves, a local herb, can treat the virus. As result, people have started using them in huge numbers, but there is no scientific evidence that claims that it works or had worked before.
Experts also blame the government for not debunking ill-founded claims. The reason why conspiracies become trending is because of general lack of trust in the government.
Head of the Asia Research Centre at the War Studies University in Warsaw, Krzysztof Iwanek, said the spread of conspiracy theories is fostered by the government’s lack of effort in combating them. “The gaps in these [efforts] probably lead to Pakistan being affected [by the coronavirus] more than some other countries,” Iwanek told Nikkei.
Though some experts also blame some in the Pakistani media for spreading untrue stories about the virus. According to Akbar: “The Urdu press has contributed to sending mixed and confusing messages, since it is dominated by the religious right”.