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March 30, 2020

Commissioner seals supermarket in Korangi for not implementing social distancing


March 30, 2020

Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani on Sunday ordered the Imtiaz Supermarket’s Korangi branch to be sealed after he found his orders regarding social distancing were being violated there during his visit in the afternoon.

An FIR at the Bahadurabad police station was also lodged against the supermarket’s Awami Markaz branch on Sunday against the violations of the sections 144 and 188 as there were seen a large number of people gathered inside and outside the superstore.

For the same reason, another FIR was registered at the Bahadurabad police station against the Shafique Bakery located on Ghazi Salahuddin Road near Dhoraji Colony.

The commissioner also urged the citizens to keep the distance of at least one metre with each other while shopping. He asked all the deputy commissioners (DCs) of the city to enforce the order of one-meter distance in their respective districts.

According to a statement issued by the Commissioner Office, Shallwani visited different markets of the city on Sunday to observe how his orders of maintaining social distance were being carried out. He said the Imtiaz Superstore’s Korangi branch was not implementing the orders of the government regarding social distancing.

“Those stores or markets which fail to adopt precautionary measures will be sealed,” he said and added that only one trolley at a time is allowed to shop.

The commissioner appealed to the citizens not only to adopt the precautionary measures themselves, but ask others to follow them as well. “Shoppers should keep one-meter distance and form queues outside the stores.”

Lots of superstores and many people are, however, not following the government orders about social distancing as blatant violations are being witnessed at various places.

On Sunday morning, there was a long queue outside the Imtiaz Supermarket’s Gulshan branch and no shopper was observing one-metre distance. “There were thousands of people outside the superstore. Imagine what the situation would be inside,” said a shopper, Bhatti, who passed by the market on Sunday morning.

He added that he went to Bin Hashim’s branch at Ayesha Manzil and found no one observing the order of keeping at least one-metre distance there.

However, when another shopper, Jamal, visited the Imtiaz Supermarket’s Gulshan branch before the closing hour in the evening, he observed that the situation was well managed inside. “There was at least one-trolley distance between all the shoppers standing in the queue,” he said and added that only one buyer at a time was allowed to enter with one trolley.

“No one without a mask was allowed the entry and trolleys were repeatedly sanitized,” he said. Although contact numbers of all the DCs have been made public so that people can lodge complaints against shops not implementing social distancing, no DC had received any call for such a complaint when The News contacted them.

East DC Ahmed Ali shared copies of two FIRs on WhatsApp, but did not react to the violations taking place at a lot of superstores in his district. However, when Shallwani was contacted, he messaged that “we have just made a start” and the closure of the Imtiaz Supermarket’s Korangi branch should be a lesson for others.

Meanwhile, The News also contacted the Imtiaz Supermarket digital head, Imtiaz Ahmed, for his comment but he refused to respond and said their legal team was looking into the matter.