As news of the pandemic’s intensification spread, many of the world’s governments began scrambling to repatriate their citizens in a bid to avoid the complications of having them stranded overseas amid a widespread cancellation of travel services or worse yet, risk having them be exposed to the virus in a foreign land where they may not have access to the necessary medical treatment. The large volume of Pakistani laborers in the Arab Gulf, most notably the United Arab Emirates, found themselves in precisely such a predicament as the small, oil-rich island state dragged its feet in addressing the question of their safe return home: it is estimated that over 20,000 Pakistani expatriates remain trapped within the UAE’s borders as of now , with no information as to how they will be able to return. Even ahead of this recent crisis, the UAE has maintained a questionable track record with respect to its treatment of foreign labourers as a whole, including allegations of extortion by the government and its subsidized employment agencies tasked with managing the entry of migrant workers to the country, as well as large-scale withholding of salaries by employers without sufficient basis for doing so
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan hosts a predominantly Muslim population (96%) , and is home to hundreds of mosques, some of which are regarded as among the largest in the world. Pakistan is a country defined by its religious identity, and the effects of COVID-19 are felt on a congregational level. As the government encourages preventive measures, the presence of the virus is reshaping the country’s socio-religious practices.
Environmental issues in Pakistan have been disturbing the balance between economic development and environmental protection. With the rise of the novel COVID-19 viral pandemic, governmental priorities have been necessarily realigned in order to minimize possible catastrophe. Nevertheless, the Ministry of Environment continues to take responsibility to protect and conserve the environment.
The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to overwhelm much of the world’s vulnerable populations as it exacerbates and exposes underlying weaknesses in global health systems. Pakistan, the fifth most populous country in the world, is at an acute risk to the pandemic given the pre-existing challenges to its health system and overall population health status.