Dr. Zafar Mirza, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on health, had verbally ordered to ease the quarantine restrictions along the Pakistan-Iran border in February, which led to the local transmission of Coronavirus in Pakistan, Arab News has claimed.
According to an official letter obtained by Arab News, Ayaz Mandokhel, regional commissioner Taftan, expressed serious concerns with the additional chief secretary Balochistan over the decision taken by Dr. Zafar Mirza on February 27.
Dr. Zafar Mirza had ordered to:
- Move existing pilgrims to Quetta
- Let all incoming people, barring pilgrims and students, such as businessmen, tourists, deportees, Rahdari holders and local residents to go after screening without being quarantined
- Quarantine pilgrims and students for 7 days instead of the 14 days
Dr. Zafar Mirza also overturned the recommendations of the provincial health team and army to close the border with Iran.
In the absence of clear guidelines and standard procedures, the Balochistan government was forced to quarantine the incoming Pilgrims in tents. Moreover, the Balochistan government set up screening and quarantine measures only at the Taftan border, leaving the rest of the Iran and Afghanistan border unguarded.
Following the ease in restrictions, over 6,000 people entered Balochistan from Iran, one of the countries worst affected by the Coronavirus.
In March, the federal government acknowledged that the mismanagement at Taftan border has led to the transmission of disease in the country, with 78% of the imported cases having a travel history of Iran.
Earlier this month, Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, asked the federal government to sack Dr. Zafar Mirza during the hearing of a suo motu case on the government’s handling of the Coronavirus pandemic.