PESHAWAR: A lawyer on Wednesday moved the Peshawar High Court seeking orders for the government to fix the Covid-19 vaccine rate on a no profit, no loss basis and declare the lawyers, paralegals and their relatives entitled to the immediate free vaccination against the virus.
In the petition, Saifullah Muhib Kakakhel said the lawyers and paralegals were highly vulnerable to coronavirus on the high court’s premises, especially in courtrooms, where they have to sit with litigants on a daily basis.
He said the coronavirus vaccine was sold worldwide for $10, so the Pakistani government should fix its rate on a no profit, no loss basis instead of allowing importers to sell it at exorbitant rates.
The petitioner also prayed the court to direct the respondents, including the health department, to ensure the immediate vaccine availability to lawyers, paralegals and their families in district courts, high court’s basic health unit or the nearest hospitals, where people are vaccinated against the virus.
Lawyer also wants order for vaccination of legal practitioners, assistants
The respondents in the petition are the Federation of Pakistan through the federal health secretary, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government through its chief secretary, provincial health and law secretaries, director general (health services), Pakistan Bar Council, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council through their respective secretaries, and Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan through its chief.
The petitioner, who is known for litigation of public interest, said that the rate of Covid-19 vaccine, which had been imported by companies for private sale, had been fixed at a rate, which was rejected by international bodies like Transparency International, which had also asked the government to look into the matter but no action had been taken on it.
He claimed that the Covid-19 vaccine was sold privately in other countries at the rate of $10 but in Pakistan, importers wanted to sell it at the rate of Rs8,000-Rs8,500 drawing a profit of around Rs7,000.
The petitioner claimed that since the initial days of the outbreak Covid-19 pandemic, he had observed that thousands of lawyers got infected with the virus and struggled for their lives, while several of them lost life to the virus.
He pointed out that in the past around a year, the province had lost precious and noteworthy personalities, including Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth, to the pandemic.
The petitioner said that a civil servant, a doctor and a judge had security post retirement in shape of pension and other perks and privileges and that their families could survive with the pension in case of their deaths but the lawyers had no such benefits to support families.
He contended that litigants from different parts of the province visited the court’s premises to attend hearing into their cases with many of them likely to carry Covid-19.
The petitioner said those litigants stayed in courtrooms for hours along with lawyers.
Published in Dawn, April 1st, 2021