ISLAMABAD: Former interior minister and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Rehman Malik has urged the United Nations to form a high-powered commission to probe if Covid-19 is a man-made or a naturally grown virus and to locate its origin.
In a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, he said the proposed commission on Covid-19 under the UN Convention on Biological Weapons, 1975 might comprise of virologists, scientists, professors, researchers, analysts and experts in the fields of microbiology and virology.
Making the letter public at a press conference through a video link, Mr Malik said the commission should present its report to the UN secretary general in three months, and its ‘terms of reference’ (ToR) should include recommendations to prevent future breakouts of such viruses, and international standards for coordination in case of a breakout.
For the proposed UN commission on Covid-19, Mr Malik in his letter has proposed seven ToRs to the UN secretary general.
These include accurate identification of the geo-location of the Covid-19’s origin, identification of areas with zero patient, discovery as to why the behaviour, intensity and fertility rate of Covid-19 varies from country to country, investigation whether Covid-19 is a man-made or naturally-grown virus and examination of the allegations of transportation of the virus from one place to other destinations in the world, as a ‘biological warfare tactics’.
He said the deadly coronavirus pandemic had stirred up the worst global crisis since World War II. Many claims, speculations, conspiracy theories and misinformation about the disease have found their way into the international print and electronic media, blurring distinction between real and fake news.
He said that he was not blaming any government or a group or levelling any allegation or endorsing any media report about the origin of Covid-19. However, he added, he had drawn the UN general secretary’s attention to apprehensions being shown by the international media.
In his letter, Senator Malik writes that, it is unfortunate that coronavirus has emerged as the deadliest virus of this century, which definitely, is a deadly pandemic which has stirred up the worst global crisis since World War II, adding though the world history is strewn with pandemics, Covid-19 has shaken the whole world, like no other. He said what was being reported internationally was instead of calming down the public, was only creating uncertainty and panic amongst the masses across the globe.
Published in Dawn, April 4th, 2020