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Pakistan’s Supreme Court Ordered Government to Lift Restrictions

Pakistan’s Supreme Court Ordered Government to Lift Restrictions

Pakistan’s Supreme Court dictated the government on Monday to raise some of the remaining restraints forced on business to prevent the extent of the coronavirus, even as the nation reported a rise in infections since starting to arise from lockdown.

The court ordered shopping malls to be reopened if health professionals do not oppose, and restraints to be lifted on markets opening on the weekends.

The order was declared using the supreme court’s absolute authority to proceed rulings “suo motu,” without expecting a particular case to appear before it.

Pakistan, as of Monday evening, has reported more than 43,500 COVID-19 cases and 900 deaths. While those sums are low so far related to many Western countries, the figures have risen distinctly this month.

Coronavirus Stats in Pakistan as of May 19, 2020. Graphic Source: covid.gov.pk

Pakistan’s Supreme Court has placed aside the government’s partial financial lockdown order, telling the country should not be performed “all together dysfunctional” due to the coronavirus.

A five-judge committee, headed by the chief justice, ordered Monday that “millions of workers will be on the streets and the government may be confronted with a human tragedy and misfortune of such a consequence that to subdue it may grow next to impossible.”

Authorities, including Prime Minister Imran Khan, have stated the rise in cases has remained lower than proposed estimates. Confronted with the possibility of the lockdown creating economic breakdown, they allowed retail markets to resume last week in a phased lifting of a countrywide lockdown.

A worker sprays disinfectant in a residential area during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Islamabad, Pakistan. Image Source: AFP

Doctors have scrutinized the reopening, showing concern that the disease could swiftly spread and sink the health system.

“It will point to an increase in the number of cases, the number of critical cases,” the secretary of Pakistan’s Young Doctors’ Association, Salman Kazmi, told Reuters. “We are concerned about the burden that will occur to the hospitals.”

Monday’s judicial order is viewed as a significant relief for Prime Minister Imran Khan, who has been under heat from political opponents for not inflicting a complete nationwide lockdown in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

People shop in a market after the government relaxed the weeks-long lockdown in Peshawar on Monday, May 11. Image Source: AP

Khan has demonstrated that a total nationwide lockdown would have disastrous economic outcomes for “25% Pakistanis” who live under the poverty line. He advised in a recent speech that an expected 150 million people, including rickshaw drivers, street hawkers, taxi drivers, small shopkeepers, and daily wagers, could ultimately suffer starvation if all are locked in their homes.

Khan’s government has started several relief programs to aid the effects of the partial lockdown. It has now dispersed cash support of 12,000 rupees (almost $75) to 12 million low-income households and unusual financial packages for small businesses in Pakistan.

Reopened markets were quickly jammed with customers last week, with a slight indication of social distancing or face masks.

People rush to shop at markets after the government relaxed a weeks-long lockdown that was enforced to curb the spread of the coronavirus, in Karachi, Pakistan, Monday, May 11, 2020. Image Source: AP

The court stated that as long as markets were open, there was no reason to close shopping malls. It found no “justifiable rational or reasonable” causes for businesses to be required to shut over the weekend.

“We find no cause why so much money is being used on this Coronavirus (COVID-19); for that, Pakistan is not the country severely impaired by it,” the court order stated.

While revoking those remaining curbs, the top court on Monday directed authorities to execute social distancing protocols efficiently and mandate people to wear masks in commercial areas.

Barbers give haircuts to customers after the government eased the nationwide lockdown imposed as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Rawalpindi on May 11, 2020. Image SourceL AFP

The court order arrived as the country’s railway announced that it would reopen limited train services from May 20, and two of the four Pakistani provinces began opening public transportation.

With the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holidays coming up on Sunday or Monday subject to sighting of the moon, the transportation and retail shopping is presumed to bring huge crowds.

Tags : coronavirus diseaseCOVID-19Global Pandemicpakistan

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