Pakistani lawyer challenges UK govt over Covid-19 quarantine policy


Observer Report


A prominent Pakistani lawyer has challenged the UK government’s COVID-19 policy under which a 14-day quarantine has been made mandatory for the travellers coming from countries like Pakistan – terming it as his unlawful house arrest in breach of fundamental human rights.
In a petition to the UK government, Iftikhar Ahmad, a former PPP senator and legal advisor to late Benazir Bhutto, has stated that prior to leaving for London from Pakistan through Qatar Airlines on 15 July, he had followed all the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and use of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) was also made mandatory for all passengers travelling by the respective airlines.
Barrister Iftikhar Ahmed, who is currently practising law in Islamabad and London, lives in North London and has placed himself in quarantine in a rented accommodation obtained specifically for this purpose.
According to the letter written by Ahmad’s solicitors to Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, Ahmad’s airline made it compulsory for all passengers travelling from Pakistan to obtain a negative COVID-19 test report from one of their nominated laboratories or else they would be denied boarding.
Ahmed in the letter maintained that since he’s COVID-19 negative, he should have not been placed in quarantine because “he’s a returning UK citizen who could not and cannot spread coronavirus as he doesn’t have it”.
The mandatory quarantine order issued by the Home Office emanates from the provisions of Article 5 in the schedule of the Human Rights Act 1998.
It states that “the unlawful detention of persons for the prevention of the spreading of infectious diseases of persons of sound mind alcoholics or drug addicts or vagrants” and in the instant case the reference to the infectious disease is a reference to cover COVID-19. Therefore, Ahmed’s lawyers have written to the government: “It’s our position that the 14 days mandatory quarantine, in view of the foregoing.

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