Sandwell councillors apologise for breaching Covid rules after appearing on group photo

Five Sandwell councillors have apologised for breaching Covid rules after appearing on a group photograph with no social distancing in place.

The photo which has been circulated on social media. Councillors Zahir Hussain, Mohammed Rouf and Mushtaq Hussain are seen on the left. Councillor Zahoor Ahmed is seen left of centre in a grey suit and Councillor Ahmad Bostan is seen right of centre in a red tie.
The photo which has been circulated on social media. Councillors Zahir Hussain, Mohammed Rouf and Mushtaq Hussain are seen on the left. Councillor Zahoor Ahmed is seen left of centre in a grey suit and Councillor Ahmad Bostan is seen right of centre in a red tie.

Councillors’ Zahir Hussain, Mushtaq Hussain, Zahoor Ahmed, Mohammed Rouf and Ahmad Bostan were pictured alongside 12 other people during a charity event.

Four of the councillors represent wards in Smethwick where there has been a huge spike in coronavirus cases, while Sandwell is also among the UK’s top 10 hotspots for Covid-19.

The councillors attended the Karahi King Village restaurant, in Acocks Green, Birmingham, on July 12.

It was organised by the Overseas Pakistanis Welfare Council (OPWC) – an organisation which supports Pakistani expatriates in the UK – and supported by the Pakistani High Commission.

The joint statement said: “We attended an event on Sunday, July 12, organised by the voluntary group OPWC to discuss urgent community issues in our personal capacities as members of the local Pakistani community.

“In advance of the event, we were assured by the organisers social distancing would be maintained.

“Whilst for the most part social distancing was observed, we regret this wasn’t the case throughout.

“Following the event we have been spoken to individually by the acting leader of Sandwell Council [Councillor Maria Crompton], and the whips office of the Sandwell Labour Group, to whom we explained the circumstances regarding the event and offered our profuse apologies which we extend to the people of Sandwell.”

Councillor Bostan added: "As I am registered blind, I have no choice but to trust the organisers of an event when they promise social distancing will be maintained. I’m deeply disappointed this wasn’t the case on this occasion."

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