ISLAMABAD: A PTI senator criticised red-tapism and the federal government during a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services (NHS) on Wednesday.

Senator Dr Mehr Taj Roghani said it was unfortunate that bureaucrats “deliberately delay files and start their postmortem, due to which not only are projects delayed but all the concerned stakeholders suffer”.

During its meeting at Parliament House, the committee expressed displeasure with the submission of a Ministry of NHS report that was delayed by almost a month.

NHS Minister Aamer Mehmood Kiani had promised to submit the report, which concerned the educational qualifications of doctors working in government hospitals and details of the suspension of two doctors from the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, in just three days.

Senator Roghani said that in her last tenure in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, she had asked PTI Chairman Imran Khan to fast-track files.

“My request was considered by the party, and after that it became routine for files to be approved within days. Currently, there is a perfect system in the province of KP due to which all the projects are expedited,” she said.

PML-N Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq asked why, if red-tapism had ended in KP, it had not ended in the federal government.

“Now the PTI is in power for the last five months at the federal level, but that system could not be introduced here,” she said.

Two doctors from Pims were suspended in September 2018 over allegations that they had hired a fake doctor while they were both absent at night duty.

The meeting also saw one senator walk out after the committee chair, Senator Mian Ateeq Shaikh from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, asked Pims Executive Director Dr Raja Amjad Mehmood why he was at the meeting.

He told Dr Amjad that according to his information, he had not been invited by the committee.

“I have given an observation that officers should not attend meetings unnecessarily because work suffers due to that practice. It is not acceptable that four secretaries would attend the meeting of the standing committee along with the minister. You should not have come here uninvited,” he added.

The criticism upset Senator Dilawar Khan, an independent, who said the chair had no right to humiliate anyone.

“You did the same thing to the governor State Bank of Pakistan the other day during a meeting of the standing committee on finance. I have no option but to boycott the meeting against your attitude,” he said.

Although Senator Shaikh apologised to Dr Amjad, Senator Dilawar left the room. He was later persuaded to return by senators Liaquat Khan Tarakai and Dr Ashok Kumar.

Dr Amjad tried to defuse the situation at the end of the meeting, remarking that Senator Shaikh was a classmate of his and had every right to speak to him in that tone.

Published in Dawn, January 10th, 2019