ISLAMABAD                -           The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Friday decided to probe the allegations of smuggling 20 million face masks from the country allegedly involving Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza and an official of the Drugs Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP).

The office of the Additional Director General (NORTH) FIA Islamabad issued a notice to probe the allegations levelled by Pakistan Young Pharmacists Association (PYPA) in its complaint filed. The applicant alleged Dr. Zafar Mirza and Deputy Director (DD) DRAP Ghazanfar Ali for allegedly smuggling 20 million masks from the country.

Meanwhile, spokesperson Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) Sajid Hussain Shah in a statement said that some unlawful elements have alleged baseless allegations after a crackdown was initiated against them.

He said that the ministry has decided to file a law suit of defamation against the elements that have levelled these baseless allegations.  He said that representatives of PYPA are facing cases in courts under the Drug Act 1976. The statement said that DRAP is tightening the noose against black marketing of Personal Protection Equipments (PPEs) used for novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

DRAP last month had allowed export of 2.98 million PPEs including 10,000 N-95 masks despite banning their trade from the country.

Four companies were allowed to export PPEs to different regions of China and titled it a ‘donation.’

Meanwhile, DRAP head Asim Rauf had said that the restriction on export of PPEs still exists and export was allowed under a special request from China.

DRAP on January 30 had imposed restriction on the export of all kinds of PPEs urging a strict action against violators.

The letter issued by DRAP on January 30 asked all the federal/provincial inspectors of drugs to visit the importers/distributors dealing with articles used as personal protective equipments to cater the emergent coronavirus infection, in their respective areas.