SC dissolves Punjab Healthcare Commission's board

Updated November 17, 2018

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Chief justice berated Hussain Naqi today for raising voice in court. — File
Chief justice berated Hussain Naqi today for raising voice in court. — File

The Supreme Court on Saturday dissolved the Board of Commissioners-Punjab Healthcare Commission (PHC) and ordered for a new board to be formed within two weeks.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar had yesterday summoned provincial health minister Dr Yasmin Rashid and members of the PHC board to explain the resignation of retired Justice Amir Raza A Khan from the post of the commission’s chairperson.

The matter had caught the court's attention during a suo motu case regarding exorbitant prices of health facilities at private hospitals.

Read: Health services reform

After the hearing resumed today, the CJP, while heading a two-member bench, asked for Hussain Naqi — one of the board members.

"Where is Hussain Naqi because of whom retired Justice Amir Raza A Khan was forced to resign?" the top judge asked.

Naqi responded to Justice Nisar's call-out, at which the judge asked him to introduce himself.

"I have been the union secretary of Islamia College," Naqi said. "So leave the board and run the union," the judge countered.

"Why should I leave? I have been elected," Naqi shot back.

The chief justice informed Naqi that the board now stands dissolved, and also expressed his displeasure at him raising his voice in court.

"How dare you raise your voice in court," he fumed. "We will give you a contempt-of-court notice."

"I am 20 years your senior," Naqi pleaded. "Hear me out!"

At this, the chief justice said: "You are an impudent man, [you should] ask the court for forgiveness. Take Hussain Naqi out of my court."

Naqi tendered his apology to the court.

The chief justice also expressed his disappointment with Dr Rashid, saying: "We had a lot of expectations from you. What kind of people have you appointed as board members?"

During yesterday's hearing, the chief justice had taken strong notice of alleged humiliation meted out to retired Justice Khan in the first meeting of the commission’s board.

He had observed that the political government would not be allowed to capture the independence of regulatory authorities.

When asked to explain the episode, PHC chief operating officer Dr Ajmal Khan had expressed his inability to disclose the information for being an employee of the commission.

At this, the chief justice had directed Dr Rashid, the health minister, and all the members of the board of commissioners to appear before him on Saturday (today).