ISLAMABAD: On Friday the Islamabad High Court dismissed a plea against the conversion of hotels to quarantine facilities because of the coronavirus pandemic.
IHC Chief Justice Athar Minullah had previously reserved judgment on the petition filed following orders given by the National Disaster Management Authority to convert 3-star and 4-star hotels into quarantine centres.
In its written order, the court maintained that these are exceptional times in which the human rights are superseded by public interests.
The claimant argued in the petition that the NDMA is not allowed to take such a decision and that the government should use the places it owns rather than turning to private property.
“Why does the government not use the prime minister’s home instead?” said the petitioner.
The IHC judge in response to the petition said the government is taking steps to protect its citizens. “How can the court interfere then?” he remarked.
“When it comes to protecting the people, the government can even use my home,” he further said.
The lawyer said hotel workers have been on leave since March 28, due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The judge indicated that if the plaintiff feels the decision would hurt the hotels, he may later make a lawsuit.
The NDMA had previously ruled that in the case of an emergency, hotels across Pakistan would be used as quarantine centres, following which a private hotel challenged the decision.
The petition nominated the home secretary, the health secretary, the chairman of the NDMA and the chief commissioner, Islamabad.