Changes come in effect after directives from the Supreme Court
Islamabad’s District Magistrate issued a notice about the additional exemptions provided to the various establishments located in the Islamabad Capital Territory, including the permission for businesses to remain open seven days a week, despite the number of the positive case going past a thousand. Earlier, the businesses were asked to remain closed over the weekends.
The changes come to effect after the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, issued a directive to open malls across the country. The Supreme Court took a suo moto action against the closure of business establishments due to coronavirus, and the case is being heard by five justices.
The Chief Justice wondered why malls were closed in other parts of the country when they’re open in Punjab, Pakistan’s biggest province. He also questioned the logic of shutting businesses over the weekend.
“We do not find any justifiable rational or reasonable classification based on which these two days are excluded from doing business, for that, all days of the week are the same. It is for the convenience of the human beings that the days have been given names, otherwise, there is no distinction between other days of the week from Saturday and Sunday,” the order read.
Some other restrictions have also been eased as long as the SOPs are being followed. Churches have been allowed to open on Sundays. Barbershops, retail businesses, and gyms can also remain throughout the week though they need to adhere to the social distancing guidelines.
Local authorities have been active in inspecting local businesses to ensure that the SOPs are being followed. So far, over 3.5 million rupees have been fined to various businesses for violations by Islamabad administration.
Currently, there are 1,034 positive tests in Islamabad with a 113 recoveries and nine deaths. The federal government had previously required businesses to close at five and remain shuttered on the weekends.