‘Though parliament is superior, bureaucracy listens to judiciary’

Published January 1, 2019
Senate body chairman says orders issued by parliament or govt are ignored. — File photo
Senate body chairman says orders issued by parliament or govt are ignored. — File photo

ISLAMABAD: Though parliament is superior to the judiciary, the bureaucracy only listens to the judges, said the chairman of the Senate Functional Committee on Problems of Less Developed Areas, Usman Kakar, on Monday.

“Even retired judges don’t consider themselves answerable to parliament. I suggest parliamentarians should stop doing politics and try to become judges,” he said during a meeting of the committee.

The committee was getting a briefing from the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) and its ancillary departments, regarding performance and policies at Parliament House.

The discussion turned towards the judiciary during a briefing by the executive director of the National Institute of Health (NIH) Dr Aamer Ikram.

Senate body chairman says orders issued by parliament or govt are ignored

Dr Ikram said that while hearing a case regarding Congo Virus, the Balochistan High Court had directed for a public health laboratory to be established in the province.

“A state-of-the-art public health laboratory was established in the province and will soon be inaugurated. A number of other projects including cardiac and allergy centres have also been established in the province,” he said.

Mr Kakar said it is unfortunate that the bureaucracy only listens to the judiciary.

“Orders of the district courts are also implemented but those made by the government or parliamentarians are ignored by the bureaucracy. The fact is parliament is superior to the judiciary,” he said.

During a briefing by the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC), Senator Kalsoom Parveen asked who the president of the council was and why he was not in the meeting.

PMDC Director Administration Arshad Nawaz said retired justice Mian Shakirullah Jan is the president of the council and that he could not attend the meeting due to an engagement in the Supreme Court.

Addressing Senator Parveen, Mr Kakar said even retired judges do not consider themselves answerable to parliament.

“We should have become judges because that is the only way we would have been given importance. Politicians are also responsible for this as they have displayed weakness,” he said.

During the meeting, NHS Secretary Zahid Saeed said the role of the ministry was coordination with the provinces rather than addressing the health problems of the provinces.

“There are some departments such as the tuberculosis and malaria control programmes which have more involvement in the provinces and they also play a role in addressing issues,” he said.

Mr Saeed informed the meeting that some 150,000 people across the country have Aids but only some 25,000 are registered.

National Aids Control Programme Manager Dr Baseer Achakzai said efforts are being made to reach out to those living with Aids and provide them with proper treatment.

“Aids is more or less confined to some segments of society such as those who inject drugs, sex workers and the transgender community. We have been focusing on these communities so that the illness does not spread in the general population,” he said.

Dr Ikram said NIH started manufacturing measles vaccinations in June 2018 after an interval of six years and has produced two million doses since.

“Around two million more doses will be manufactured by June 2019 and will be provided to the Expanded Programme of Immunisation at the federal and provincial level. Rabies vaccines will also be made available in the market and laboratories which make allergy, typhoid and diarrhoea vaccines will be upgraded,” he said.

The NIH executive director said there will be huge improvements by June 2019 as a number of projects which have been in the pipeline will be started.

One of the key functions of NIH is to manufacture vaccines for local use. During the 80s and 90s, it was producing vaccines for the entire country and was also looking to export them. It stopped vaccine production later for various reasons.

Published in Dawn, January 1st, 2019

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