Top court orders reopening of shopping malls across Pakistan

Top court orders reopening of shopping malls across Pakistan

Islamabad (Staff Report/Agencies): The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the reopening of shopping malls, which were shut down during the lockdown imposed to curb the coronavirus pandemic, across the country.

A five-member larger bench of the top court resumed hearing a suo moto case regarding measures taken by the federal and provincial governments to limit the spread of virus.

During the hearing, Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed remarked that if the shops are shut down then shopkeepers will ‘die of hunger rather than the coronavirus’.

Earlier, the apex court expressed complete dissatisfaction over the federal and provincial governments’ steps to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

“Nothing is being told as to how departments are working. Everything seems to be just paperwork,” the CJP remarked.

The chief justice also had serious reservation regarding the transparency process of spending billions to control the pandemic.

“How can billions be spent on the purchase of masks and gloves? If there is an audit, things will become clear,” he added.

CJP Ahmed questioned the credentials of the Special Assistant to Prime Minister for Health Dr Zafar Mirza and ordered the removal of the special assistant.

“There is an army of ministers and advisors in place but no work is being done,” the CJP observed. He also alleged that “corrupt people” have been kept as advisors in the government.

Responding to the CJP's comments regarding dismissing Mirza, Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan said removing the PM's aide at this point and time would be disastrous.

"Do not change him mid-flight," he said, urging the court to leave the matter up to the federal government.