Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Monday directed the last two chief ministers of Balochistan — Dr Abdul Malik Baloch and Nawab Sanaullah Zehri — to appear before the apex court and explain what they did for the improvement of governance in the province during their respective tenures.

A three-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by the CJP, was hearing cases at the court's Quetta registry regarding the plight of public hospitals and medical colleges, and a doctors' strike in the province.

"Three chief ministers came during one tenure [of the federal government] but what did they do for improvement of governance?" the CJP asked. "Call these chief ministers who ruled here for more than four years."

The incumbent Balochistan chief minister, Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo, also reached the apex court along with Health Minister Mir Majid Abro.

Over one million children in the province remain out of schools, Secretary Education Noorul Haq Baloch informed the court, adding that around 2.6m children should have been currently enrolled in schools.

"Why has the government failed to enrol out of school children?" the chief justice asked.

Lacking medical facilities

During the hearing, Justice Nisar asserted that he would want provision of water and healthcare to become the primary focus of the government. "According to Articles 184 and 199 of the Constitution, we have the right to intervene wherever basic human rights are violated."

Secretary Health Saleh Nasar informed the court that a policy was being planned within the next ten days to improve the condition of government-run hospitals.

"Let us know what help you require from the federation," the CJP told the officials. He also expressed his surprise upon learning that the OPDs in public hospitals of the province had been closed down.

The CJP repeated his commitment to ensuring medical colleges don't charge exorbitant fees. "We want the money to be returned to 20 million students," he said, adding that all amounts above Rs856,000 in annual fees should be returned by the medical colleges.

"Unfortunately, our medical colleges are substandard," he remarked.

Hospital visit

The chief justice later visited Quetta Civil Hospital where he interacted with the patients and visited the strike camp of paramedics and young doctors. He ordered the authorities to listen to the protesting medics' demands and present a report to him following which the medics called off their strike.

Chief minister Balochistan and other officials also accompanied the chief justice during his visit.

The bench is expected to continue hearing cases at the Quetta registry until Wednesday.

Meeting with Hazara community

A delegation of the Hazara community also called on the chief justice and apprised him of their issues, according to a notification issued by the Supreme Court. Justice Nisar assured the delegation of resolving the community's issues in accordance with the law.

Sectarian terrorism in Balochistan has disproportionately targeted people from the Hazara community.

A report released by the National Commission for Human Rights last month stated that 509 members of Hazara community were killed and 627 injured in various incidents of terrorism in Quetta during the last five years.

Opinion

A state of chaos

A state of chaos

The establishment’s increasingly intrusive role has further diminished the credibility of the political dispensation.

Editorial

Bulldozed bill
Updated 22 May, 2024

Bulldozed bill

Where once the party was championing the people and their voices, it is now devising new means to silence them.
Out of the abyss
22 May, 2024

Out of the abyss

ENFORCED disappearances remain a persistent blight on fundamental human rights in the country. Recent exchanges...
Holding Israel accountable
22 May, 2024

Holding Israel accountable

ALTHOUGH the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor wants arrest warrants to be issued for Israel’s prime...
Iranian tragedy
Updated 21 May, 2024

Iranian tragedy

Due to Iran’s regional and geopolitical influence, the world will be watching the power transition carefully.
Circular debt woes
21 May, 2024

Circular debt woes

THE alleged corruption and ineptitude of the country’s power bureaucracy is proving very costly. New official data...
Reproductive health
21 May, 2024

Reproductive health

IT is naïve to imagine that reproductive healthcare counts in Pakistan, where women from low-income groups and ...