Are Quarantine Laws Only to be Implemented on Religious Gatherings?

It does not matter whether the gathering is considered obligatory or not - quarantine laws should be applied equally to all groups, religious or entertainment.

Social distancing is considered the crux of flattening the curve of the COVID-19 spreading, and many countries have been slowly going under lock down to decelerate the rate at which it is being destroyed. In Pakistan, we have seen the physical closure of many religious and/or educational institutes; when the announcement of the closure of mosques came in light, many appealed that the quarantine laws should not be implemented on gatherings that are only taking place to worship and perform our spiritual and religious duties.

While I personally agree with the implementation of the quarantine laws to ensure the flattening of the curve, I am not in favor of such laws only being placed upon religious gatherings. It’s Ramadan, and Pakistani entertainment television channels are rather known for their boisterous game shows, which should also be scrutinised deeply.

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Aamir Liaquat handing off prizes in one of his Ramadan shows in previous years.

Even though the game shows are without audiences this Ramadan, that is not the only check box TV Channels should be ticking. Looking at many of the shows, the one thing I have noticed is that not everyone is standing 6 ft apart. Additionally, the host and participants’ lack of protective personal equipment (PPE) – such as masks and gloves – only propagates the carefree attitude many have towards the virus.

Many reports came forth in the previous weeks, including one report of SHO Sharafat Khan being allegedly attacked when they attempted to administer the quarantine laws regarding the jumma prayers in Orangi Town.

If we can, as a nation, work towards executing the laws that require us to pray from homes instead of from mosques, then why can we not practice better ways to socially distance from one another when it comes to non-obligatory entertainment activities like Ramadan game shows?

Questions that need to be answered about Quarantine and Gatherings

In my mind, as a writer in quarantine, there are many questions that pop up regarding the quarantine laws when it comes to gatherings for entertainment channels.

  1. How is sanitation being ensured within the production teams?
  2. Why is there a lack of PPE within the participants and hosts of the game shows?
  3. On what basis has PEMRA approved the broadcasting of such shows, even without the audience? 

It does not matter whether the gathering is obligatory or not – fact of the matter is that the quarantine law should be applied equally to all groups, religious or otherwise. Entertaining people at home should not be the reason why production teams, hosts and participants are opening themselves to the virus. It is time that PEMRA focused on the game shows to confirm that no one’s health is being compromised, in addition to ensuring that such programs do not encourage audiences from practicing proper social distancing protocols.


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