ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) today (Friday) would resume hearing of petitions seeking ap­propriate measures from gov­ernment including constitution of medical board and detention of passengers coming from Chi­na to stop the spread of Corona­virus in Pakistan.

A single bench of the IHC com­prising Chief Justice of IHC Jus­tice Athar Minallah would con­duct hearing of the petitions wherein it had previously is­sued directions to the ministries of the National Health Services (NHS) and the Foreign Affairs to place the representations of the students stranded in China as well as of their parents before the federal cabinet.

The IHC Chief Justice had ex­pressed the hope that since the federal government appeared to be vigilant, therefore, the au­thorities would take adequate steps to address the grievances of the students as well as their families.

The parents of the children had also informed the court that the government officials had categorically refused to bring back the students.

The representative of the min­istry of foreign affairs had in­formed the court that the Paki­stani Embassy in Beijing was in touch with 1,300 students resid­ing in different cities of China.

Justice Athar observed that since the issue falls in foreign ju­risdiction and it is also a policy matter, therefore, the court has certain limitation. He, however, observed that the court may fa­cilitate the parents to the extent of implementation of the policy decisions taken by the govern­ment in this regard.

Subsequently, he had directed the government authorities to evolve a mechanism to establish parents contact with their chil­dren in China.

He said that it was the respon­sibility of the state to take care of its citizen in Pakistan and in the foreign jurisdiction. He re­marked, “I am quite hopeful that the federal cabinet would take appro­priate actions to address the grievances of the families.”

A petition­er Tariq Asad Advocate moved the pe­tition through his counsel Abdullah Tahir Ad­vocate and cited federation of Pakistan through Federal Secre­tary Ministry of Interior, Prime Minister through Principal Sec­retary and Federal Secretary of Health as respondents.

In this petitioner, Asad prayed to the court to constitute a high-level Medical Board com­prising specialists in the field who are independent from po­litical pressure to look into the matter and take necessary measures.

He also requested the court to issue directions for detain­ing any passenger landing at any airport in Pakistan from China directly or indirectly from oth­er airport and keeping them in quarantine for a reasonable time until they are proven to be virus free.

The petitioner further prayed to the court to evacuate the Pa­kistani students from China only until they are proven to be virus free and restrain the Pa­kistanis living in China study­ing or doing any job not to leave China till further decision to be taken by the respondents.

He stated that this petition is motivat­ed by the con­viction that the Coronavi­rus is spread­ing all over the world, but the respondents have not taken any considera­ble measures to remove the ap­prehensions and spread of the said disease.

Asad continued that undoubt­edly Coronavirus is highly epi­demic and may be transferred to anybody even through breath­ing around. The petitioner said that the study reveals that Coro­navirus is a very highly epi­demic ailment, which spreads through the air by viral parti­cles in droplets from a cough or sneeze. “Health workers and family members are also vulner­able to infection from close per­sonal contact while they are car­ing for patients with inadequate barrier protection (gloves, gown and surgical mask). Hence, it is worthwhile to be careful to come across the viral patient,” said the petition.

It added, “But in case any per­son from the epidemic region enters into Pakistan, it would be apprehended to mark out whether he has been infected by Coronavirus or not because for the medical consultants in Pa­kistan are not yet aware of the ailment to that particular virus unless it reaches at a fatal and incurable stage.”

The petitioner adopted that thus it is the constitutional ob­ligation of the federal govern­ment and the respondents to take this matter very seriously and constitute a Medical Board in this regard to research and take special measures in this re­gard.

He added that the lives of all the citizens are in danger and thus in violation of their funda­mental right guaranteed to them under Article 9 of the Constitu­tion to take this issue casually and keep them under threat and the Federal Government must take up this matter on priority basis and constitute a medical board to study the research ar­ticles and proceed in a technical manner to remove apprehen­sions and save the lives of the citizens of Pakistan.