As Pakistan steps up drive to vaccinate more and more citizens, it is faced with another challenge -- fake coronavirus certificates
As Pakistan steps up drive to vaccinate more and more citizens, it is faced with another challenge -- fake coronavirus certificates. Experts fear that if left unattended, this could severely weaken Pakistan’s fight against Covid-19.
The first case came to light on June 14, when dozens of people were found to have acquired fake vaccination cards from the city’s biggest government vaccination facility at the Karachi Expo Centre, according to The Express Tribune.
To stop the practice, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) – the apex coordinating body on combating the disease – has issued directives to the law enforcement authorities to take action against the people involved in making forged certificates.
A day ago, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested 41 people in connection with the issue of fake certificates.
The move came after "fake entry" of Covid vaccination was found in the government portal under former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s name. Sharif had left Pakistan for the United Kingdom in Nov 2019 — months before the first case of the virus was detected in the country.
Subsequently, the Punjab province’s health department suspended medical superintendent Dr. Ahmed Nadeem and senior medical officer Dr. Munir Ahmad of Kot Khawaja Saeed Hospital over negligence, directing them to submit a report to the department.
According to whistleblowers on microblogging site Twitter, immunization certificates can be forged at major government hospitals, with the rate depending on the value of the vaccine.
A day ago, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Rashid had warned of further restrictions on non-vaccinated citizens from October. He had said several restrictions would be imposed on citizens who failed to receive their second dose of the anti-Covid vaccine by September 30.
In August, NCOC head planning minister Asad Umar had announced that Pakistan Railways would only allow vaccinated individuals to travel by train from October 1.
Similarly, all local and international air travelers will be required to be fully vaccinated by the end of September or they would not be allowed to travel. Meanwhile, from September 30, shopping malls, hotels, restaurants and wedding venues will only be accessible to fully vaccinated people.