Pakistani celebs criticised for flouting COVID-19 SOPs

Saboor Aly, Yasir Hussain and others called out for violating SOPs

Netizens question Saboor Aly and other celebs for violating COVID-19 rules at Umair Qazi’s wedding

Actor Umair Qazi’s wedding has become the talk of the town as several prominent Pakistani stars attended the festivities over the weekend. Celebrities such as Saboor Aly, Zara Noor Abbas, Asad Siddiqui, Yasir Hussain, Kinza Hashmi, Sajal Aly, Urwa Hocane, among others took to social media to share multiple pictures and videos as they attended the wedding ceremonies. As pictures and videos from Umair Qazi’s wedding celebrations went viral on social media, netizens called out the celebrities for violating SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) amid rising COVID-19 cases in the country.

In the pictures and videos, celebrities can be seen dancing and clicking selfies during the wedding festivities without following COVID-19 protocols such as maintaining social distancing. Saboor Aly, Yasir Hussain and other stars are seen without face masks and violating social distancing measures in the viral pictures and videos.

In response, social media users criticised the celebrities for their irresponsible behaviour and flouting COVID-19 rules at a time when Pakistan is witnessing a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Speaking to The Express Tribune newspaper about the controversy, actor and screenwriter Yasir Hussain said that everyone who attended the wedding was following necessary SOPs.

“We were wearing masks before the picture was taken. We only took it off for the photo,” the ‘Lahore Se Aagey’ actor said in response to social media criticism.

He also noted that the celebs only took off their masks while having food at the buffet. He further asserted that the Pakistan government has allowed weddings to take place in the country along with other activities.

“People are getting married, the restaurants are also open. Even flights are full. But when people see celebs having fun, there’s an outrage on social media,” he exclaimed.

Hussain further urged the government to make efforts to ensure that the public adheres to SOPs across all activities in the country.

“I will be more careful the next time but at the same time, the government should ensure compliance of SOPs better. Weddings should be stopped, social distancing to be maintained on flights and otherwise too,” Hussain added.

Pakistan is grappling with the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic with the positivity rate closing to 10 percent. On Monday, President Dr Arif Alvi and Defence Minister Pervez Khattak tested positive for Coronavirus, days after Prime Minister Imran Khan and first lady Bushra Bibi tested positive for the disease. In the wake of rising COVID-19 cases, the Ministry of National Health Services of Pakistan recently released a video featuring the country’s top film and TV celebrities. In the video, Adeel Hussain, Bilal Abbas, Mahira Khan, Iqra Aziz urged people to wear face masks, maintain a six-foot distance and follow other pandemic-related SOPs in order to curb the spread of the virus in the country.

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