KHYBER: Business centres in Bara, Landi Kotal and Jamrud subdivisions of Khyber remained open on Saturday despite official announcement of a complete lockdown from May 8 to 16.

The district administration and the police looked the other way while traders and shopkeepers at three busy marketplaces kept their businesses open on the first day of so-called lockdown.

Deputy commissioner Mansur Arshad Khan had issued a notification on May 5 about strict observance of the nine-day lockdown along with closure of picnic and tourism spots and all bus and taxi stands in Khyber district in compliance with the directives issued by the provincial home department to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Requesting anonymity, the shopkeepers in Landi Kotal said they had reached an undeclared understanding with the administration for running their businesses prior to start of Eid holidays.

Both the shopkeepers and customers were found violating the SOPs while not wearing masks and observing social distancing.

Great rush was seen at the food outlets, grocery stores and footwear and readymade garments’ shops in Bara and Landi Kotal.

Meanwhile, people continue to throng the Ghar Ouba picnic spot at Ali Masjid in Jamrud and Nalu Shahhed, Kabalu Maina, Chenarona, Hamza Baba Mausoleum and Enzari Kandaw in Landi Kotal with the local administration turning a blind eye to violations of the coronavirus-related SOPs.

The Ghar Ouba venue attracts a large number of people who come to break their fast at the Ali Masjid freshwater spring while enjoying cool breeze at the curvy narrow portion of Khyber Pass.

Meanwhile, health authorities sent a man to quarantine centre at the district headquarters hospital in Landi Kotal after he tested positive for Covid. The man, a Pakistan national, arrived from Afghanistan via Torkham on Saturday.

DHO Dr Tariq Hayat said Pakistanis coming from Afghanistan were being tested on arrival at the border while the entry of Afghans had been banned.

Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2021

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