LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Monday sought replies from Punjab secretary for specialised healthcare and deputy commissioner of Lahore on a petition seeking a restraining order against all political parties from holding all kinds of gatherings and the implementation of Covid-19-related SOPs.

Justice Sajid Mehmood Sethi heard initial arguments of the petitioner’s counsel and directed an assistant advocate general to submit replies on behalf of the respondents on Tuesday (today).

The law officer sought more time for the purpose, however, the judge turned down the request for a long adjournment observing that the matter pertained to the implementation of the fundamental rights of the citizens.

Representing his petition, Advocate Azhar Siddique also referred to a recent incident wherein at least seven patients of coronavirus lost their lives for want of oxygen in a Peshawar hospital.

He said the Covid-19 situation was out of control because the local administration as well as the government failed to make available certain life-saving drugs meant to deal with symptoms of the virus.

The lawyer alleged that the unavailability of medicine and the failure of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) in this regard was a violation of Article 9 of the Constitution.

He asked the court to restrain all political parties from holding any type of gatherings for next three months at least, and a direction to the government to enforce the Covid-19 SOPs.

PETITION: Another lawyer filed a similar petition against all opposition parties for holding the rallies and public meetings despite growing cases of the Covid-19.

Advocate Harris bin Hassan in his petition refers to strict compliance of the coronavirus-related SOPs in the engagement function of former president Asif Ali Zardari’s daughter and said the political elite always attach importance to safety of their lives.

He asks the court to also direct the government authorities to protect the lives and health of the public and deal with the opposition parties with an iron hand.

Justice Jawad Hassan would take up the petition on Tuesday (today).

Published in Dawn, December 8th, 2020

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