The World Health Organization (WHO) has raised questions about the number of COVID-19-related deaths in Pakistan, claiming that the country has under-counted victims.
Based on a new WHO report, as the official data shows, COVID-19 has claimed almost three times more victims around the world. The global health agency estimated that the COVID-19 pandemic killed about 15 million people worldwide in 2020 and 2021. —nearly triple the number of deaths officially attributed to the disease. On the other hand, in Pakistan, the number was eight times higher.
“The total number of fatalities directly or indirectly related to the COVID-19 pandemic between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2021, was around 14.9 million (13.3 to 16.6 million),’ said the UN Health Agency.
Responding to the report of the WHO expert group, the then Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Health, Dr. Faisal Sultan, said that WHO data on coronavirus deaths in Pakistan was ‘unreliable’.
Sultan defended the government’s death reports, claiming that studies on the number of burials in large cities did not reveal large numbers of untold victims of the pandemic. In a statement, he said: I must examine the WHO report in detail. We looked at the cemetery registry to determine the number of deaths caused by the coronavirus. We’ve also looked at that in our system.”
The figures are extremely sensitive because of the way in which they reflect on the management of the crisis by the authorities of the world, with some countries, notably India, already contesting the far higher numbers.
Dr. Sultan said: ‘Our corona death record was accurate, but it is not possible to have a 100% correct number of deaths, it could be 10 to 30 percent less, but to say that it was eight times less is incredible.” The former SAPM stated that the WHO report was based on hypothetical data that were “not genuine”.