QUETTA: The Balochistan government has extended the smart lockdown in the province for another two weeks with effect from June 1, the provincial home department announced on Tuesday.
The decision has been taken in view of the increasing number of local transmission of coronavirus cases across the province. The home department in a notification issued late on Monday night said that the disease might cause “devastating consequences, infection and deaths”.
The notification said that all shopping malls, markets, shops/ stores outlets would function from 9am to 7pm for six days of the week from Saturday to Thursday. The business community and all minor and major business components will remain closed on Friday. All public gatherings, inter-city and inter-province travel and religious gatherings will remain banned. Strict action will be taken against violators, it added.
The notification further said that there were sufficient grounds to proceed under section 144 of “the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898” as an immediate preventive and speedy remedy to ensure public safety, conserve lives and maintain peace and tranquility in Balochistan.
“It is mandatory to take all pragmatic and possible measures to contain and counter the further spread of coronavirus on war footings,” the notification said.
Early return of overseas Pakistanis
Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani has appealed to the federal government to take immediate steps to bring back overseas Pakistanis belonging to Balochistan now stranded in the United Arab Emirates and other countries of the world because of the lockdown and flight suspension triggered by Covid-19 pandemic.
In a letter to the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari, the chief minister said that 20,000 Pakistanis belonging to Balochistan were waiting for their early return to the country and there was an urgent need for taking steps for their safe and early return to their homeland.
He said that most of the overseas Pakistanis had returned to the country due to efforts of the federal government, but 20,000 Pakistanis belonging to Balochistan were still stranded in the United Arab Emirates and other countries of the world and the federal government should take immediate steps for their early return.
Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2020