Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan seen without facemask Image Credit: Twitter

Islamabad recently announced fines for not wearing a face mask in public places but a picture of Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan, showing him out with officials without one was posted online. Netizens were quick to ask whether "rules apply to him" and if the premier would be fined.

On May 31, the Islamabad district administration announced to impose a fine of up to Rs3,000 (Dh68) for not wearing facemasks in public places, in a bid to control the spread of COVID-19, the Pakistani Capital's Deputy Commissioner (DC) said.

Dr Zafar Mirza, Pakistan’s Special Assistant for Health, made the announcement on Twitter as well.

He, @zfrmrza, tweeted: “Facemasks are now mandatory to be worn by everybody while in crowded public places, mosques, bazaars, shopping malls, public transport i.e. road, rail and flights. We have reviewed our guidelines for wearing masks and have added a mandatory section.”

However on June 3, Khan was seen visiting the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) headquarters and people noticed that he was the only one without a mask.

Soon after, people on social media criticised the premier for not following rules and tweeted at the Deputy Commissioner Islamabad, Mohammad Hamza Shafqaat, asking him to take action.

Shafqaat has been sharing posts of Islamabad authorities issuing fines and warnings to those who are not following government directives regarding coronavirus.

He has recently retweeted a post stating that 115 people were fined 83 shops were sealed for violations.

Columnist Mehr Tarar, @MehrTarar, tweeted: “The prime minister must wear a mask to set an example for the nation.”

Whereas, tweep @EskayJournalist tagged Shafqaat and wrote: “I hope @dcislamabad [will] fine Mr. PM for violating SOPs [Standard operating procedures] and not wearing mask!”

Several netizens shared their own fine slips.

Twitter user @syedalibukhari shared a picture of a printed fine and wrote: “I was charged Rs. 1000 fine on not wearing the mask. What about PM?”

Pakistan is currently witnessing a rapid escalation in coronavirus cases and is struggling to fight the deadly pandemic and as per government analysis, the province of Punjab is especially impacted. Recently, a study presented by the Secretary of Punjab Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department, Muhammad Usman to the Chief Minister of Punjab, Sardar Usman Buzdar, stated that Lahore could currently have an estimated 700,000 cases. However, the government faced criticism for “ignoring” the report and easing restrictions.