LAHORE: Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Saturday summoned Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid and other authorities of the health sector in a matter relating to delay in purchase of ventilators for hospitals in the province.

“Ask your chief minister also to stay in the city on next hearing as he can be summoned on a short notice,” the chief justice directed the special secretary health.

A special bench comprising the chief justice and Justice Ijazul Ahsan was hearing a matter regarding restoration/up-gradation of United Christian Hospital (UCH) when special secretary health Usman Moazzam pointed out a delay in the purchase of ventilators due to shortage of funds. The official pointed out that the purchase of ventilators for hospitals in the province would cost Rs750 million. He said process of bid carried out to this effect had also expired.

Chief Justice Nisar showed displeasure over the delay in buying of the life-saving equipment just because of procedural hiccups. He directed the health minister, secretaries for health and finance, and managing director of Punjab Procurement Regulatory Authority to appear on next hearing.

Summons health minister, others

Meanwhile, the bench adjourned the UCH matter to deliberate upon the options as how to restore the hospital and observed that the court would not let the hospital to be further exploited by internal disputes of different factions of Christian community.

He also dispelled an impression as if the court was going to snatch control of the hospital from Christians.

“The court can nominate any retired army officer from the Christian community to look after affairs of UCH but will not allow churches to do their politics at the cost of this hospital,” the chief justice added.

Recalling his visit to the UCH, Chief Justice Nisar regretted that a great hospital of its time had turned into ruins due to internal conflicts of the Christians running its affairs.

He said the hospital could not stand on its feet again unless groupings among the community ended.

Earlier, a court’s appointed committee told the chief justice that management of Forman Christian (FC) College and Kinnaird College showed their willingness to work with the UCH for its restoration. The committee’s head stated that a meeting to this effect has been scheduled for Dec 15.

Advocate Nayyar Abbas Rizvi told the court that a Pakistani doctor working in the US was also willing to invest $100 million in the UCH. The bench asked the lawyer to submit a presentation on the matter to the chief justice before next hearing.

The bench would resume hearing on Dec 22.

Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2018