Pakistan seals borders with Afghanistan, Iran

In this file photo, Pakistani soldiers wearing facemasks stand guard at the closed Pakistan-Iran border in Taftan on February 25, 2020 as fears over the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus escalate following an outbreak in neighboring Iran. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 15 March 2020

Pakistan seals borders with Afghanistan, Iran

  • Only Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi airports will operate international flights
  • Government does not declare national emergency

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani government on Friday evening announced the closure of the country’s borders with Afghanistan and Iran with immediate effect to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The two-week closure follows the National Security Committee’s (NSC) meeting in Islamabad earlier in the day.
“By closing the borders, we are making sure that no infected person enters Pakistan,” said Dr. Zafar Mirza, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s adviser on public health.
He added that only three airports of the country — in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi — will remain open for international flights.
“There is nothing more important than safety of people … all these measures are part of a strategy to prevent the spread of the virus,” he said.
While no national emergency has been declared, all educational institutions have been shut down and mass gatherings, including religious events, weddings and conferences, have been banned, also with immediate effect.
“The government hasn’t imposed any national emergency ... it’s a major thing and we aren’t invoking it at this stage,” Moeed Yusuf, special assistant to the prime minister on national security, told reporters after the NSC meeting.
Courts have been requested to adjourn all proceedings in civil cases for three weeks.
Keeping in view possible food shortages, the Ministry of National Food Security is going to prepare a contingency plan.
Pakistan Day’s military parade on March 23 has also been canceled.
It is for the first time in the country’s history that NSC discussed response to contagious disease. The committee’s meeting was presided over by the prime minister, attended by key ministers and all military service chiefs/
The NSC is a top decision-making body on national security.
Pakistan has recorded 28 coronavirus infection cases since Feb. 26. Two persons are known to have recovered. The virus has spread to over 135 countries and killed more than 5,000 people, most of them in the mainland China.


Pakistan blocks online game PUBG over ‘negative’ impact

Updated 02 July 2020

Pakistan blocks online game PUBG over ‘negative’ impact

  • PTA said it had suspended Internet access to the game pending a high court hearing on July 9
  • Police believe the 16-year-old boy committed suicide after he failed to accomplish a mission

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Wednesday temporarily blocked the hugely popular online game Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) after receiving complaints it was addictive and following media reports linking the brutal, multiplayer shoot ‘em up to suicide.
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority said it had received “numerous” complaints from people saying the game has a “serious negative impact on (the) physical and psychological health of the children” who play it.
The PTA said it had suspended Internet access to the game pending a high court hearing on July 9.
Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper last month reported that police in Lahore had recommended a ban after a teenaged player killed himself.
The newspaper said police believe the 16-year-old boy committed suicide after he failed to accomplish a mission.
Often likened to the blockbuster book and film series “The Hunger Games,” PUBG pits marooned characters against each another in a virtual fight to the death, and has become one of the world’s most popular mobile games.
Pakistan’s move follows similar bans in Jordan, Iraq, Nepal, the Indian state of Gujarat and the Indonesian province of Aceh.