Lahore [Pakistan], Mar 16 (ANI): Pakistan has done it again. It's Prime Minister Imran Khan chose for SAARC video conference on the coronavirus pandemic the man who smuggled out 20 million face masks to foreign countries.
Zafar Mirza, Pakistan's representative to the SAARC video conference on the coronavirus on Sunday, is being probed by his country's Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for his involvement in the smuggling.
As per a notification issued by the agency, FIA's director of Islamabad Zone has been directed to immediately investigate the allegations against Mirza -- who is the Special Assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan on Health -- and submit a report within 15 days on the same.
The complaint, filed by a representative of the Pakistan Young Pharmacists Association (PYPA), Dr Furqan Ibrahim, alleges that 20 million face masks were smuggled out of Pakistan with the help of Mirza and Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), as per a report by Dawn.
The development has come at a time when the world is facing a huge shortage of masks amid the outbreak of COVID-19 -- a pandemic which has claimed the lives of more than 6000 people globally.
Notably, even as Mirza is being probed for the alleged smuggling of masks, Islamabad decided to send him as its representative for a video conference convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with leaders of all other SAARC nations in attendance.
In his address at the conference -- convened with an aim to chalk out a strategy to fight novel coronavirus --, Mirza raked up the Kashmir issue, saying that it is imperative that the lockdown in the region be lifted in view of the health emergency amid coronavirus outbreak.
"It is a matter of concern that COVID-19 has been reported from Jammu and Kashmir. In view of the health emergency, it is imperative that all lockdown in the territory must be lifted immediately," Zafar Mirza, Pakistan's State Minister of Health, said at a video conference with leaders of the SAARC nations on COVID-19.
"Opening up communications and movement will facilitate the dissemination of information, allow distribution of medical supplies, and enable containment and relief efforts to proceed unimpeded," he said. (ANI)