KARACHI: Sindh education minister Saeed Ghani has said that shopping malls and markets across the province will open on the Supreme Court’s orders.
Talking to media the minister said that he was not aware if the Sindh government had contacted the health ministry regarding this. “But since it’s in the SC’s orders, we will open shopping malls and markets, we have no other option.”
Earlier today, The Supreme Court had ordered to reopen all shopping malls across the country which were closed due to coronavirus pandemic.
During a hearing of the suo motu proceedings regarding steps taken to deal with the COVID-19 crisis, Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed declared the government’s decision to keep the businesses closed on weekends void.
“You don’t want to purchase clothes but others want to do so, the CJP remarked while pointing to officials appearing before the court in the case”. He said “There are a lot of families that manage to wear new clothes only on the occasion of Eid”.
The court also ordered that small markets should be allowed to remain open on Saturdays and Sundays. He also ordered commissioner Karachi and additional advocate general Sindh to not seal markets even if they violate the Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs).
Sindh education minister clarified that the decision to close shopping malls and plazas in an effort to curb the spread of the COVID-19 was not taken by the Sindh government.
He said the federal government had presented a proposal for closing shopping malls, plazas and large markets during a meeting of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on 6 May.
“In a National Coordination Committee (NCC) meeting on May 7, the same proposal was presented. This was an NCC decision for all four provinces which the Sindh government implemented,” he added.
Ghani said that even though the Sindh government had formulated standard operating procedures to limit the spread of the COVID-19 for opening small markets, people were still flouting rules and putting peoples’ lives at risk.
“You can see what is happening in markets, people are being careless and putting others’ lives at risk”, the minister said.
Markets will remain open till 5:00 pm as the SC has directed, he clarified, adding that the provincial government will impose restrictions in the space afforded to them under the apex court’s orders.
All the decisions taken by the Sindh government were made in consultation with doctors and medical experts, he said.
He added that the Sindh government hoped the SC would not take any decision further that will endanger the lives of the citizens.