KARACHI: A senior official in the Sindh government on Saturday said that the provincial government had decided to file a petition with the apex court to review its decision vis-à-vis handing over of three major hospitals to Islamabad.
“Our government has decided to file a review petition in the Supreme Court regarding handing over of three health units of Karachi — the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases and National Institute of Child Health — to the federal government,” Chief Minister’s Adviser Barrister Murtaza Wahab told a press conference.
Mr Wahab, who holds the portfolio of information and law, said those health units were devolved to the provincial government in accordance with 18th Amendment to the Constitution.
He said the devolution of health sector to the provinces was done in the best interest of the people.
“The Sindh government has been providing unprecedented services to the people through these facilities. It benefited the people of Sindh and from elsewhere in the county at large,” he said.
Murtaza Wahab slams PTI government for having ‘no policy and vision’
He said the total budget of the NICVD was only Rs400 million at the time of devolution and now “through the sincere and devoted efforts” of the Sindh government, it reached Rs12 billion.
He said at the time of devolution, the NICVD only existed in Karachi and now after its upgrade in the city, it had been expanded in other districts of Sindh included Hyderabad, Tando Mohammad Khan, Mithi, Larkana, Khairpur, Nawabshah, Sehwan and Sukkur.
150,000 heart patients treated at CPUs
Besides, Mr Wahab mentioned that currently eight chest pain units (CPUs) in various localities of Karachi were providing free-of-cost services to the people of the metropolis.
He said the basic function of the CPUs was to provide apt emergency service to heart patients before they could be shifted to hospitals safely.
He added so far 150,000 heart patients had been attended in a timely manner by those CPUs. “I can say this with pride that at least 5,000 precious lives have been saved by the dedicated staff at CPUs. All of these centres are providing free-of-cost services to people from across the country.”
Mr Wahab said that the Sindh government in line with the vision of Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari believed in providing quality healthcare services to the people.
He said that the JPMC had also been “revolutionised”, its capacity and working conditions had been improved to a great extent.
The chief government spokesman specifically mentioned the CyberKnife treatment and cancer research being conducted at the JPMC, saying patients from all over the country were being attended to at the JPMC free of cost.
He said the Sindh government considered provision of basic health services its premier responsibility.
In a thinly veiled reference to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, he wondered why those who had been claiming the ownership of Karachi in the past were silent on the recent verdict of the apex court.
Attempt to roll back 18th Amendment to be resisted
Mr Wahab made it clear that in the aftermath of the apex court’s judgement, any attempt by the “failed and inefficient” Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government to roll back the 18th Amendment would be strongly resisted by the people and the Sindh government.
“The only purpose of the 18th Amendment was to strengthen the federation by strengthening the provinces,” he said.
Referring to the report of a joint investigation team (JIT) after which the federal government had placed names of 172 persons on the Exit Control List and the recent observations of the Supreme Court over it, he read out paragraph 35 of the Jan 7 decision.
It stated: “As far as the recommendations relating to Mr Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Co-Chairman PPP and Mr Murad Ali Shah, Chief Minister Sindh, are concerned the learned counsel for the JIT has frankly conceded that the material against the said persons may need re-examination to arrive at the correct conclusion.”
Mr Wahab said the decision of the apex court and the counsel of the JIT endorsed the Sindh government’s point of view. “Those nominated in the JIT belonged to Sindh but astonishingly the case is being heard in Islamabad.”
He called it unprecedented that even when the National Accountability Bureau was functioning in Sindh the case was being followed in Islamabad. “This shows distrust in institutions.”
He said since the “ineffective government” of the PTI had nothing productive to perform for the masses it kept on indulging in political tactics.
“The hopeless government of the PTI has no policy and no vision. They don’t have any solution to their own created crises included inflation, gas and electricity outages, water crisis, health issues and economic crises.”
He said the Sindh government believed NAB would deliver an impartial decision on the JIT report. “The PPP always believed in the independence of institutions instead of scoring points as being done by PTI leadership.”
Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2019