Say were humiliated before customers; eatery unofficially sealed.
PESHAWAR: Employees of Shiraz, a chain of restaurants in the city, took to the streets against the district administration on Thursday.
“A district administration official phoned me on Monday and told me Peshawar Assistant Commissioner Altaf Ahmed Sheikh wants to meet me,” restaurant owner Asif Jamal told The Express Tribune. “I told him I’d reach his office in two to three hours but the earthquake happened on the same day and so I forgot about the meeting.”
He added later on Wednesday evening, the AC raided his restaurant on University Road. “The AC was accompanied by ADC Irshad Sodhar and 10 guards; they entered the restaurant and told the customers to leave as the eatery had been sealed,” said Jamal.
He added the standard operating procedures (SOP) had not been issued yet, questioning the basis of the raid. The AC had told The Express Tribune on October 22 it would take 10 to 15 days for them to issue SOPs to eateries.
The owner added the official and guards entered the kitchen and asked questions such as why were the nanbai not wearing gloves. “The guards also checked our refrigerators, the authority of which lies only with food inspectors.”
The raid was conducted around 9pm and Jamal said the guards humiliated the restaurant management in front of customers before they ordered everyone to vacate
“Later, the guards stood outside and kept the eatery unofficially sealed by not allowing anyone to enter,” said the owner.
An insider privy to the matter told The Express Tribune the district administration was planning to organise a show in the city and were asking the restaurant owner for funds, but the latter seemed reluctant.
When contacted, AC Altaf Sheikh said it is the right of the employees to protest but they raided the restaurant after they received complaints regarding their kitchen. He added they found the hygiene criteria was not being followed in
Additional AC Mehmood Ahmad said AC Altaf Ahmed and Additional DC Irshad Sodhar raided the restaurant to check cleanliness at Shiraz. Mehmood said the protest of Shiraz administration was beyond his understanding.
About the SOPs, Frontier Hotels and Restaurant Association President Khalid Ayub said they were kept on-board by the district administration when the draft of SOP was being made. He added, “There might be some shortcomings on the part of restaurants but the district administration should follow rules too.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 30th, 2015.