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Govt censured for ‘double standards’ on public events


The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday directed the federal government to explain its ‘double standards’ for imposing a ban on indoor marriage functions while holding large public gatherings itself.

The court clarified that it cannot take responsibility if a function results in the spread of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), but it can ask the government why marquees are being discriminated against.

This was observed by a single member of the high court, comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah,while hearing a petition against the ban on indoor marriage functions. The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) had ordered to impose the ban from November 20 due to the rising Covid-19 cases across the country.

During the proceedings, the court summoned a responsible officer from the NCOC to explain the ‘double standards’ in person on November 18.

The petitioner’s counsel told the court that whilst marriages in marquees have been banned, the federal government and the opposition are busy holding large rallies.

“We also don’t want the court to interfere in policy matters but, our opinion in the decision-making process must also be included.” the lawyer argued.

“Make a policy but don’t make 10,000 people lose their jobs,” the lawyer added.

“The prime minister says that the government will not stop the wheel of the economy, but then why is this happening with marquees?” the lawyer further questioned.

He added that a marquee can be shut down but only if a ceremony being conducted in it is found to violate the code of conduct. After hearing the arguments, the judge said, “Now you will either have a ban imposed on others too or have it lifted from yourself.” The court adjourned the case until November 18.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 13th, 2020.

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