Martial Law

Martial law is declared during the COVID-19 pandemic

Martial law is basically the imposition of military control in a state; the military rule takes over the country and usually involves the suspension of the ordinary law of the land.

As the world grapples with the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, nations around the globe are expected to institute strict quarantine measures to curb the spread of the virus. Many countries have closed down all non-essential businesses and public spaces until further notice.

But various governments are facing severe challenges in being able to implement the quarantine measures properly in their respective countries. In times like this, some nations may declare a national state of emergency and therefore move towards martial law.


Martial law is the establishment of military control over matters of governance in times of crisis. Various countries across the world, including the United States, China, Pakistan, South Korea, and many others, have had martial law at some point in their histories.

So if during this pandemic a nation were to declare martial law, what would that look like?

To start with, unlike the quarantine measures that democracy and other types of governments have instituted currently, quarantine under martial law will be much more harshly enforced. All existing law enforcement institutions come directly under military control to help enforce strict curfews to limit the spread of the virus.

People may also be required to have exceptional documentation if they are outside their homes or are traveling. These will only be granted after a detailed investigation of the person in question’s personal life by the military. As a result, the suspension of civil rights is a common feature of martial law.

This makes martial law particularly scary, as it also grants the military the power to arrest and detain people if they see fit, without necessarily charging them as well.

Surveillance and movement restrictions will thus be instituted at much more extensive and stricter levels. They can, at times, make certain groups in society more vulnerable to discrimination and violence by the military. So while martial law can be used to stop the spread of this pandemic, it comes with a hefty price.


There are many situations in which a martial law is imposed, some are genuine, legal and need  of hour . If marital law is not imposed during such circumstances it can lead to catastrophic results e.g.

  • A foreign invasion
  • A state of emergency like earth quick or tsunami
  • Mass corruption
  • Country going towards collapse because of absurd policies etc

What we discussed above along with it there is also a lust for power that compels usually an army personal to coupe against the legitimate government and be in power. Sometimes the political rival themselves call the military forces to become beneficiary of the process.


This overthrowing of civilian regime dates back to 6 December 1773 when in the US city of Boston the colonists revolted against an act which was imposed on them by Britain parliament. Through this act, tax was imposed on Tea. The colonist revolted saying that the right to impose a tax on them is only with representative elected by them and not with Britain.


A head of civilian government can also declare the enforcement of martial law in the country while he retain his position, but mostly a military coup pave the way towards imposition  of martial law in many countries. History has witnessed many nations welcoming the martial law with open arms because of corruption and incompetency of government , on the other hand  we can look up to turkey where people had laid down in front of tanks to stop a military coup.

About 81 countries of the world has been through the martial law, 17 were from Asia, 31 from Africa, 21 were south and Latin American and out of these 81, 9 happened to be from Europe. Bolivia argentine and Thailand has borne martial law for about  15, 14 and 12 times respectively.


When a military dictator is head of government or state, freedom of speech becomes a dream for the masses. Whenever there is an imposition of martial law either by a civilian or military dictator derogation of human rights become normal. The right of free movement can be restricted. The democracy stands no chance and all this leads to frustration and uncertainty among the masses.


When a defecto government (not through legal process) is installed, it faces different challenges and the prime one of these is the recognition and acceptance both by its subjects and from international community. It is easy for such government to make people kneel down by use of different tactics such as through oppression, by suspension of human rights etc but on the other hand it is not easy for such government to get recognition from countries across the world, as different states have different principles which is abide by them but it’s not impossible at all. Countries do need each other so for the sake of trade and many other needs they do recognize and criticize as well regarding the matter of derogation of human rights.

The economy can boost up if the government shows stability and can also shatters if there is uncertainty in the air. Overall the marital law is not what people of a free world look for but they need democracy that is close to human nature and stability.

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