Assessing Pakistan’s Responses towards Covid-19: A Policy Appraisal
Keywords:Covid-19, Socio-economic, Non-traditional Security, Policy Framework, Ehsaas Program
Covid-19 is an unprecedented phenomenon in human history that has drastically altered the global socioeconomic and strategic landscape with far-reaching political effects. In absence of a security paradigm capable of accommodating this massive health catastrophe, developing states like Pakistan were affected badly as its socioeconomic fabric nearly withered away, and health infrastructure’s deficiencies were severely exposed. It dented its health sector, slashed the economy, worsened unemployment, caused supply chain bottlenecks, and hampered inter/intranational travel. The additional inflationary pressures triggered protracted recessions and exposed the state’s (lack of) preparedness and efficacy of institutional structures against non-traditional security (NTS) threats. This further augmented the dire need for the human-centric ideation of security which poses an urgency to equip Pakistan with the necessary tools and strategies for a wide range of future non-traditional threats. In absence of a pre-defined policy framework for dealing with non-traditional security threats, central and provincial governments along with other relevant stakeholders joined hands to make a holistic preventive effort that led to the adaptation of innovative practices such as smart lockdown and Ehsaas relief programme due to which Pakistan attained a high recovery rate of 99.13%. This article attempts to theorize the Covid-19 puzzle from a human security standpoint at the outset, evaluating Pakistan’s strategy, measures taken to combat it effectively, charts the future course of human security in Pakistan, and offers future actionable policy options.