Police register FIR against designer's husband for sending Covid-19 positive employee to village

Updated 24 Mar 2020

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Lahore police on Tuesday dismissed allegations made by Pakistani designer Maria B and registered a case against her husband for sending an employee, who tested positive for the coronavirus, to his native village without informing authorities.
— AFP/File
Lahore police on Tuesday dismissed allegations made by Pakistani designer Maria B and registered a case against her husband for sending an employee, who tested positive for the coronavirus, to his native village without informing authorities. — AFP/File

Lahore police on Tuesday dismissed allegations made by Pakistani designer Maria B and registered a case against her husband for sending an employee, who tested positive for the coronavirus, to his native village without informing authorities.

A first information report (FIR) was registered at Nishtar Colony Station under Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and 271 (disobedience to quarantine rule) of the Pakistan Penal Code as well as Article 144 and 143 of the Police Order, 2002.

According to the case, registered by police on behalf of the state, the employee, who worked at Tahir Saeed's house as a cook, had tested positive for the coronavirus.

As per the FIR, which does not name Maria B, despite knowing that the employee had contracted the virus, Saeed neither informed the authorities nor took him to a hospital for treatment. Instead, the employee was sent to his native village in a bus.

Meanwhile, in a video circulating on social media, appealing to Prime Minister Imran Khan, Maria B said that her house was raided by police personnel "as if I was the biggest drug mafia don in Lahore, with guns".

She said that her husband was taken away and he was told that a first information report (FIR) was registered against him.

She said the FIR was registered in the absence of a lawyer and that the police had taken the step at 12:30am.

"They did this in the middle of the night. Why? [...] And the way they were rude to us. They wouldn't listen, they kept saying to us, to me that you, you are culprits. Why?

"We're the ones who are suffering. We're the ones whose tests are coming, anytime positive. My entire family and we're the ones who are culprits, who need to be arrested by you guys, really? Is this the system that we have in Punjab?"

In another video, sitting alongside the designer, Saeed said that the incident was one of "pure panic" and "abuse". He said that around 20-25 police officers had come to get him. He said he had not resisted the police and had asked them why they had come to get him and where they were going to take him.

In an official statement, the Lahore police spokesperson dismissed the criticism and said that they had taken "timely action and sent a message to other violators".

As per the spokesperson, Maria B's husband, Saeed, had sent his employee packing, despite knowing that the employee's laboratory test (for the coronavirus) was positive.

"In present emergency situation, reporting of such incidents to health department is compulsory," the statement reads, adding that the patient had met numerous people during his visit to his native village, Karam Pur, in tehsil Mailsi, district Vehari.

According to the police, this had left "almost hundreds of innocent people vulnerable to the coronavirus".

The statement added that Saeed had been released on bail.

"It is unfortunate that after putting lives of hundreds of people in danger, Maria B [is] criticising the police," the police spokesperson was quoted as saying.

"After Tahir Saeed's criminal act, the entire village will have to be kept in quarantine. In this regard, the health department has initiated measures."

The spokesperson said that the police fulfilled their duty under Section 144 and the Police Order and would continue to take action against those who break the law.