PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Thursday directed the federal and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health secretaries to file replies in a case about compensation for the recent measles deaths in the province.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel and Justice Malik Manzoor Hussain directed the two secretaries to explain their respective positions in writing about a petition seeking compensation for the families of 150 children, who had died during the anti-measles campaign in the province in July 2014, before the next hearing.

The date of the next hearing will be announced afterwards.

The petition, which is a public interest litigation, is filed by a Peshawar resident, Rizwan Shah.

The petitioner prayed that the court order the government to pay compensation equivalent to diyat amount to the legal heirs of all children died during the vaccination campaign.

Shahid Raza Malik, lawyer for the petitioner, said the anti-measles campaign was carried out in the province after the federal government supplied the province with vaccines procured from India.

He said the anti-measles vaccination had claimed the life of over 150 children, whereas hundreds were admitted to hospitals after they suffered the reaction of the vaccine.

The lawyer said the provincial government had conducted an inquiry into the deaths but it was regrettable that only some doctors and health technicians were suspended for such a big tragedy.

He said the government should conduct a proper inquiry into the matter before acting against all those culpable.

The lawyer said unfortunately, no minister or government official visited the families of vaccination victims to condole deaths.

He said vaccines to be procured from abroad should be tested in a laboratory of repute in the country for the safety of children.

Published in Dawn, September 5th, 2014