PESHAWAR, Jan 21: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly was told on Monday that most of the sanctioned posts of doctors in the health units in Lower Dir district were lying vacant since long.

In the absence of doctors paramedics were running the basic health units in some areas of the district, Minister for Livestock Hidayatullah Khan told the house.

To a question of JUI-F lawmaker Uzma Khan, the health department informed the house in its written reply that the number of total sanctioned posts of doctors in health units of Dir from grade 17 to 19 was 129. Out of those, 77 were lying vacant while 52 had been filled, it said.

However, the mover of the question reacted to the reply of the heath department, saying most of the appointed doctors from the health units were transferred to other areas.

She said that brand new X-rays, ultrasound machines and other equipment were getting rusted as there was no one to operate the same in the health units of the district.

Minister Hidayatullah Khan, who also belongs to Lower Dir, through his supplementary question, told the house that out of 12 doctors at tehsil headquarters hospital in Samar Bagh, 10 were transferred to other areas and only two doctors were serving there.

He said that 10 nurses were also transferred from the said hospital.

In the absence of doctors in some areas, he said, paramedics were running basic health units.

They were playing with the lives of the people of the under developed area, he added.

On behalf of Minister for Health Zahir Ali Shah, who often remains absent from the house, Law Minister Barrister Arshad Abdullah told the lawmakers that Lower Dir was not the only district of the province where hospitals were short of doctors.

He said that health department sent a requisition to Public Service Commission for appointment of 280 doctors. Of them, he said, PCS approved 24 and their appointment was in process.

“Unfortunately, the PCS recruitment process is very slow while it hesitates to give approval to health department for appointment of ad hoc doctors,” said PPP parliamentary leader Abdul Akbar Khan.

In such a situation, he said, a large number of posts in various departments was lying vacant since long.

The health department also informed the house that 145 persons were punished for selling spurious medicines across the province during the last seven years.

JUI-F MPA Zarqa Bibi, the mover of the question, said that the performance of drug inspectors was not satisfactory as punishing only 145 persons from the year 2004 to 2011 was a joke.

To her question, the health department rejected the perception of involvement of doctors in selling of spurious medicines, saying the number of drug inspectors was increased in the districts having more medical stores. There are four drug inspectors each in Peshawar, Mardan and Bannu and three in Abbottabad.

The law minister failed to satisfy the mover and on her insistence Speaker Kiramatullah Khan Chagharmatti referred the question to the committee concerned with the approval of the house.

The opposition lawmakers staged a walkout from the house when they were not allowed to debate the issue of ad hoc lecturers in government colleges. The lecturers were protesting on the road outside the building of the assembly during the proceeding.

Prior to their walkout, Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain, who is also parliamentary leader of ANP, asked the higher education department to draft a bill immediately for regularisation of the ad hoc lecturers. If government and opposition benches agreed to regularise them then there should be no delay in it, he said.

Abdul Akbar Khan said that there was no justification for the protest by opposition benches as the government had already shown willingness to regularise the ad hoc lecturers.

The speaker prorogued the assembly session for indefinite time.

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