ISLAMABAD               -           The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Thursday issued notices to Secretary Interior, ZulfiBukhari and others in a petition seeking constitute a high-level judicial commission to ascertain the responsibility of the people who failed to perform their obligations resulting in the increase of Coronavirus patients in the country.

A singe bench of IHC comprising Justice AamerFarooq conducted hearing of a petition moved by Civil Society of Pakistan through Ihtesham Ahmad and directed the respondents to inform the court about the steps taken by them to halt spread of Coronavirus in the country.

The civil society filed the petition through its counsel Tariq Asad Advocate and cited the Federation of Pakistan through Secretary Interior, Prime Minister through his Principal Secretary, Syed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari alias ZulfiBukhari Advisor to the Prime Minister, Director General ISPR, and Director General National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) as respondents.

According to the petitioner, the government of Pakistan failed to exercise their diplomatic privileges to convince the government of Iran to keep the zaireen and provide them facilities required in the prevailing situation.

He added that consequently the zaireen were shifted to different cities of Pakistan like Multan and Sukkur. He maintained that since at that time, there was no patient of Coronavirus in Pakistan but after they were shifted from Iran, the virus was transferred to the other citizens and spread.

The petition said, “As revealed by media, ZulfiBukhari/respondent No. 3 played the role to allow the zaireen to cross the border and enter into Pakistan. Thus he used political influence to allow the thousands of the pilgrims to enter Pakistan through the Taftan border without completing the 14-day quarantine process in Iran.”

It added, “He rejected the allegations in a tweet and slammed the miscreants for inflaming unnecessary controversy at a time of national emergency.

But the allegation was true and unrebuttable. Several pilgrims were tested positive for the Coronavirus after they returned homes following a mandatory 14-day quarantine stay in the tent city in Taftan.”

The petitioner said that it has been recently further decided to shift 3,000 out of 9,000 zaireen from Iran to Faisalabad city and keep them in the building of Agricultural University.

“It reveals that the federal government intends to spread Coronavirus in Faisalabad and all the other cities of Pakistan evenly as there is so for no sign of any suspected patient of the virus in Faisalabad; hence it is apprehended to spread it therein also,” he maintained.

He continued that the government, unfortunately, instead of controlling the ailment is promoting it to spread in all the cities which are so far not infected.  

It is, therefore, advisable not to shift the zaireen from Iran in the congested areas of other cities and be kept in remote areas to protect others.

Hence in case they are shifted to Faisalabad, Jhang or other cities, the respondents would be responsible and the effected people shall have the right to sue them in the competent courts of law. He asserted that the government has failed to take proper measures in time to control the ailment.

Therefore, he prayed to the court to direct the respondents to constitute a high-level Judicial Commission to look into the matter and place the responsibility of recklessness as to who failed to perform their legal and constitutional obligations resulting in the increase of the patients and failing to take necessary measures in time.

He also requested the court to direct the respondents not to shift the zaireen from Iran in the congested areas of other cities like Faisalabad or Jhang and be kept in remote areas to protect others.

Hence, in case they are shifted to Faisalabad or other cities, the respondents would be responsible for it.

He further requested to direct the respondents particularly respondent No. 5 to seal Taftan border strictly prohibiting the entry of zaireen from Iran and direct the respondents particularly the respondent No 4 and 5 to take speedy measures to construct temporary buildings at Taftan borders and keep the zaireen there till their quarantine and treatment before shifting to the cities.