Karachi police on Friday started taking action against unvaccinated citizens, arresting 33 people who did not possess Covid-19 vaccination certificates.
In a statement, police spokesperson Shazia Jahan said 33 people were arrested in the city’s East district while 18 cases were registered.
The arrests were made after orders to that effect were issued by the Sindh government, with the province’s chief secretary expressing reservations that law enforcement personnel were “not taking an interest” in checking vaccination cards.
Sharing details of two of those arrested, Sohrab Goth Station House Officer (SHO) Zubair Nawaz said, “During checking of corona vaccination cards, police arrested two persons namely Mohammed Khalid and Habib Rehman.”
The two men, who were arrested for not being vaccinated, were detained from a main road in Ayub Goth, he added.
The police registered a first information report (FIR) against them under Section 188 (disobedience of order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Pakistan Penal Code and Section 4 (whoever disobeys the government’s orders shall be punishable with on spot fine of up to Rs1 million or attachment of movable, immovable, perishable property or both) of the Sindh Epidemic Disease Act, 2014, on behalf of the state.
The officer said that both the men were young. They told the police that they did not get vaccinated as they had no “awareness” about it.
The SHO said that police have started checking Covid vaccination certificates of citizens traveling on major thoroughfares and people visiting markets. He claimed that action was being taken after the Sindh home department recently wrote a letter to the inspector general of police, DG Rangers and divisional commissioners. The letter stated that action should be taken over non-implementation of SOPs, besides which fines should also be imposed.
The Sindh home department had issued a letter on Sept 22 regarding “checking of vaccination cards”. The letter stated that “carrying of vaccination cards at different places by the employees of certain establishments and visitors to various places or facilities has been made mandatory, and inspection of vaccination cards has been entrusted to the law enforcement agencies.”
The letter noted that the provincial chief secretary had observed with “great concern”’ that the law enforcers and district administration were “not taking due interest in checking of vaccination cards”.
“Similarly, legal action including registration of cases or imposition of fine has also not been carried out by the authorised officers.”
In the letter, the chief secretary directed the “authorised officers” and law enforcement personnel to “take keen interest in checking vaccination cards of the concerned persons, and the violators must be taken to task under the law.”
The letter warned that the officers’ performance will be judged by the chief secretary on the basis of their interest they took in the matter.
Officials said that subsequently, AIGP police operations, Capt (retd) Haider Raza, on Sept 22 had issued directions to the police officers, ordering them to start a campaign of checking Covid vaccination cards “immediately”. Police officers were directed to submit a report on legal action taken against non-vaccinated persons on a daily basis.