Nearly 300 people arrested for violating SOPs released by Karachi court on 'humanitarian grounds'

Published May 10, 2021
A police officer stands guard in a business district to ensure a lockdown to help control the spread of the coronavirus in Karachi, Sunday, May 9, 2021. — AP
A police officer stands guard in a business district to ensure a lockdown to help control the spread of the coronavirus in Karachi, Sunday, May 9, 2021. — AP

Some 300 people arrested in Karachi for violating the ongoing lockdown restrictions and standard operating procedures (SOPs) to curb the spread of the coronavirus were released by a local court on "humanitarian grounds" on Monday.

Police had arrested nearly 300 men for allegedly breaching Covid-19 SOPs in different areas of the city's South district.

They were booked in several First Information Reports registered under Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

On Monday, investigating officers produced the suspects before judicial magistrate (South) Uzair Ali Khan to seek their physical remand in police custody for interrogation and investigation.

The judge expressed his displeasure at the police authorities for producing the suspects in the court without providing them face masks.

He noted that police themselves were flouting the SOPs, and wondered why they should also not be arrested for committing violations of the health guidelines.

The judge inquired from the investigation officers as to who had ordered registration of the FIRs against citizens under Section 188 of the PPC and directed him to submit a written reply in this regard on the next date.

Section 188 reads: “if such disobedience causes or tends to cause danger to human life, health or safety, or causes or tends to cause a riot or affray, [that person] shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to Rs3,000 or with both.”

The judge observed that the officers who had ordered registration of such FIRs will be summoned to furnish an explanation.

In the meanwhile, the judge declared the FIRs lodged against the suspects as “null and void” and ordered the release of all of them on humanitarian grounds.

The development comes a day after the country went under a partial lockdown to prevent a surge in coronavirus cases as Eidul Fitr approaches.

On Sunday, all commercial and business activities, government and private offices as well as passenger transport services in Karachi remained suspended as part of the National Command and Operation Centre’s ‘stay home-stay safe’ restrictions that will remain in place till May 16 to control further spread of the virus.

In Karachi, all major thoroughfares wore a deserted look during the first half of the day amid hot and humid weather.

Only grocery, meat and vegetable shops, medical stores, bakeries, milk shops, and fuel stations were open. Fruit vendors were also allowed to work and so were food outlets, eateries and restaurants which remained open only for home deliveries.

Ports and vaccination centres remained operational on Sunday.

Opinion

De-programming the robot
25 Jul 2021

De-programming the robot

The robot that is programmed to be a predator, to dominate, to hurt, to rape, to kill, will do as he pleases, where he pleases...
A toxic discourse
Updated 25 Jul 2021

A toxic discourse

Politics as it exists now is a catalyst for further divisions...
Cyberespionage
25 Jul 2021

Cyberespionage

Sellers of surveillance tools must be held accountable...
Managing human agency
24 Jul 2021

Managing human agency

Is the private sector able to manage the ‘human agency’ of teachers better than the public sector?...

Editorial

Noor murder case
Updated 25 Jul 2021

Noor murder case

IT would not be an exaggeration to describe Pakistan as no country for women. This truth was underscored yet again...
25 Jul 2021

Rental inflation

HOUSE rent prices soared in June by 6.21pc from 4.2pc a year ago, topping the list of 10 contributors to the urban...
Cyberattack on rights
Updated 24 Jul 2021

Cyberattack on rights

A COLLABORATIVE investigation into a data leak of software sold by the Israeli surveillance company NSO Group has ...
24 Jul 2021

Sleeper cells

THERE was a time not too long ago when militant groups had unleashed a reign of terror in Pakistan, resulting in...
24 Jul 2021

Prisoners’ return

THE families of 62 Pakistani prisoners who had been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia had reason to rejoice this Eid as...