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Court dismisses plea challenging ban on indoor events

LAHORE: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has dismissed an appeal by the Wedding Hall Association against the National Command and Control Centre’s (NCOC) order of imposing restrictions on holding indoor events.

In the latest NCOC meeting, it was recommended to ban large public gatherings and enhancing restrictions in high-risk areas, including wedding halls due to the resurgence of COVID-19.

As per details, a petition was filed by the Islamabad Marquees, Catering and Banquet Hall Association (IMCBA) following the NCOC’s decision to ban indoor weddings from November 20. The petition argued that marquees were being banned but the government itself was holding large rallies.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah said the decisions made by the NCOC should be trusted and the court cannot raise a question on this. He contended that these events can also be held in the future, local media reported.

The high court justice also expressed his concern regarding the recent election in Gilgit-Baltistan and said what took place in the region was worrying, adding that while influential people are cared for, it is the poor who come out in public for rallies during the pandemic.

Justice Minallah noted that Prime Minister Imran Khan has postponed his next rally and he should be an example for others. On November 12, a meeting chaired by Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar had reviewed the situation in the country and suggested certain urgent measures to check the spread of the pandemic.

This includes a ban on all public gatherings of more than 500 people, early and extended winter vacations, closure of cinemas, theatres and shrines with immediate effect, and only outdoor dining till 10 pm at restaurants and takeaway.

The NCOC decided that only outdoor marriages with an upper limit of 500 people will be allowed from 20th November.