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17 outlets sealed as food campaign reaches Islamabad

17 outlets sealed as food campaign reaches Islamabad

ISLAMABAD: A full blown campaign against unhygienic food and conditions in hotels and restaurants got underway in the city on Wednesday and saw at least 17 high class and popular food outlets sealed by the evening.

“They were found in violation of laws governing healthy, unadulterated food, vaccination record and proper wages to their staff,” Assistant Commissioner retired captain Waqas Rashid said.

But the manager of the popular Savour food outlet in the Blue Area, Irshad Ahmed, claimed to Dawn that the raiding party gave “no reason” for sealing the outlet.

Savour’s owner Chaudhry Mohammad Naeem described the action as ‘unjustified’ and said he would seek clarification from the deputy commissioner on Thursday.

FIRs have been registered against the 17 sealed outlets under the Penal Code and the Pure Food Ordinance of 1960. Some others among the restaurants, confectionaries and eateries raided in the Anti-Adulteration Campaign were fined a total of Rs144,000, officials said.

Additional Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Abdul Sattar Isani supervised the crackdown with the assistance of the Punjab Food Department, as directed by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan the previous day.

The 17 outlets sealed included the restaurant of the Best Western Hotel, the popular Savour outlet and the up-end café Chaye Khana.

Some citizens welcomed the campaign. But others had different ideas. In fact regular clients were as upset as the restaurant owners against the campaign.

It seemed the public revulsion created by the raging scandal that meat of dead and dying and ‘haram’ animals was being sold and served in the cities of Punjab had not diminished their appetite for their favourite dishes at the food outlets.

In fact, the clients of Savour joined a protest the staff and the Blue Area trading community staged outside the outlet.

The administration rushed police squads there to control the situation.

Traders’ Union official Imran Bukhari criticised the raids and his senior colleagues threatened a ‘shutter down strike’ if the food outlet was not unsealed by Thursday.

A funny situation arose when the Savour staff offered the arriving police their dishes but they refused.

“We used to eat here but after seeing the snaps taken of the conditions in the kitchen by the raiding party we could not take Savour’s offer,” a police officer told Dawn.

“We were told they use leftover bones to prepare fresh dishes to serve new clients,” he said.

Published in Dawn, September 10th, 2015

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