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LHC directs Punjab govt to ensure supply of food items

By Our Correspondent
March 28, 2020

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Friday directed the Punjab government to ensure smooth supply of flour and other food items during the coronavirus lockdown and show zero tolerance against hoarders.

A full bench headed by Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan was hearing a petition questioning inadequate measures taken by the government in the wake of the novel virus hitting the country. Additional Attorney General Ishtiaq A Khan, Acting Advocate General of Punjab Shan Gul, Secretary for Primary Healthcare Muhammad Usman and Secretary for Specialized Healthcare Nabeel Awan were present in the court besides other provincial functionaries.

At the outset of the hearing, the additional AG told the bench that as many as 13,994 Pakistani citizens returned to the country from abroad so far. However, the bench lamented that the government has no statistics as to how many citizens were subjected to screening on their return. It observed that the federal government showed grave negligence by letting coronaviris positive patients mixed up in the society. The bench remarked that the government should have taken appropriate precautionary measures the moment the neighbouring China was hit by the pandemic.

Asked about measures taken to ensure financial support to daily wagers during the lockdown, the acting AG said the provincial government decided to provide ration to daily wagers, auto rickshaw drivers and labourers.

Chief Justice Khan ordered the government to ensure that vegetable and grain markers are opened without hindrance. He observed that the government should follow the model of China to fight the pandemic and make sure that food chain is not disturbed.

During the hearing, former mayor of Lahore Col (retd) Mubashir Javed made his appearance and stated before the bench that at least 3,700 former elected local government representatives are on his disposal and are ready to serve the country during the crisis. The bench advised him to do on his own whatever he could do to serve the nation. The bench directed the government to approach philanthropists to pay Diyat and fine on behalf of prisoners who are unable to pay money so the jails could be made crowd-free. The chief justice also urged media houses to run a campaign for creating awareness among the public on coronavirus. The bench disposed of the hearing and observed that necessary directions to the government will be given in a detailed order to be issued later.