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LAHORE, May 21: The Lahore High Court on Tuesday warned the Punjab health authorities of strict action if vaccine for measles was found to be spurious.

The court was hearing a petition against measles-related deaths due to alleged negligence of the government functionaries.

Earlier medical superintendents of Mayo, Services and Jinnah hospitals appeared before the court and said a delay in treatment of measles-hit children caused their deaths.

They were of the view that people were taking their patients to spiritual healers first instead of bringing them to hospitals. They submitted the vaccine provided to the hospitals was not expired and the cause of death of patients was not only the measles.

The petitioner contented that the required temperature was not provided to vaccine, and the lower staff responsible for administering the vaccine to children was not fully trained.

He said “vaccine carriers” did not contain the vaccine as per its capacity rather surplus quantity was kept in them, therefore, the required temperature was not provided to the vaccine and it became expired.

The court remarked if it was proved that substandard vaccine had been administered to kids, the responsible authorities would be jailed regardless of their portfolios.

The court adjourned hearing till May 29, and directed the provincial government and the health department to file comprehensive reports about the measures being taken to control the outbreak and effective treatment to the patients.

Judicial Activism Panel Chairman Azhar Siddique filed the petition seeking a judicial inquiry into measles-related deaths to fix responsibility on government functionaries for failing to control the outbreak.

The petitioner said many officials of the health department, including the Health EDO, were part of a scandal under which vaccine was stolen and supplied to private hospitals. He said no action had been taken against them.

He alleged that substandard vaccine was being administered to the children due to which the deaths were increasing.

Drone attacks case The Lahore High Court chief justice on Tuesday adjourned hearing of a petition filed by Jamatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed against US drone attacks on Pakistani soil.

Representing the petitioner, Advocate AK Dogar submitted a copy of an order passed by the Peshawar High Court wherein the US drone attacks had been declared illegal, unconstitutional and a crime against state.

The PHC had also ruled that Pakistan authorities should issue a warning to the US against drone attacks and had every right to hit drones if the attacks continued.

The chief justice deferred the hearing for next week due to unavailability of three amicus curies (friends of the court) appointed by him to assist the court in the light of the international laws concerned to the matter.