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SARGODHA: Prime Minister Imran Khan along with health adviser Zafar Mirza on Saturday paid surprise visits to government hospitals in Sargodha, Khushab and Talagang tehsil of Chakwal district where he got first-hand information about problems being faced by patients.

The prime minister arrived at Sargodha district headquarters hospital without protocol and even the divisional and district administrations were unaware of his visit.

During his brief stay at the DHQ hospital, Mr Khan inspected children’s ward and different other wards where he spoke to patients and their families. He listened to their complaints about unavailability of doctors and a lack of proper facilities and free medicines at the emergency ward.

PM also pays surprise visit to police station, public offices and orders authorities to improve service

The prime minister expressed dissatisfaction over poor sanitation and took notice of beds shortage at the paediatric ward with two to three patients sharing each bed. He directed the officials to make arrangements for additional beds in the wards and ensure provision of free medicines to patients.

Mr Khan also directed the health authorities to increase the number of beds to 250 at the Khushab DHQ hospital during his brief round of the hospital.

The prime minister inspected various wards and asked patients about the facilities. He also issued order to provide facilities to the patients and their attendants coming to these health facilities from far-flung areas.

The prime minister also reportedly visited police stations, public offices, schools and shelter homes. He directed the authorities concerned to improve the quality of service and facilities. He said no stone be left unturned while serving the people.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) had recently undertaken many initiatives which, the ruling party claimed, would rid the people of many problems.

Meanwhile, the prime minister visited the Talagang THQ Hospital as well as a police station to examine the quality of public services there, adds APP.

The step was part of his initiative to make unannounced visits to the government institutions including hospitals, police stations, schools, shelter homes and development schemes.

During his visit to the Talagang city police station, Mr Khan examined the record of public complaints and asked the staff about their working.

Meanwhile, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said the struggle of Mr Khan had rid the country of exploitative system and personality cult imposed on the people of Punjab for decades.

In a tweet, Dr Awan said Punjab’s Growth Strategy-2023 was an important step towards achieving the mission and vision of the prime minister.

She said special focus would be on decreasing the level of poverty, uplift of less developed areas, progress in agriculture, eradication of unemployment, supply of clean drinking water and provision of education and health facilities.

Call for restraint

Besides, the prime minister warned against the risk of conflict in the region as tensions between Washington and Tehran escalated, adds Reuters.

Mr Khan, who has been seeking to improve Pakistan’s strained relations with Iran, said he was concerned about the “rising tensions in the Gulf” but did not specifically name the United States or Saudi Arabia.

“He underscored that war was not a solution to any problem,” a statement issued by the PM Office said.

“Further escalation in tensions in the already volatile region was not in anyone’s interest. All sides needed to exercise maximum restraint in the current situation.”

The PM’s statement was issued following the visit of Iranian Foreign Minister Javed Zarif to Islamabad.

Strains have increased between Iran and the US, which is a firm backer of Saudi Arabia, in the wake of this month’s attack on oil tankers in the Gulf region that Washington had blamed on Tehran.

Iran has distanced itself from the bombings, but the US has sent an aircraft carrier and an additional force of 1,500 troops to the Gulf, sparking concerns about the risks of conflict in a volatile region.

At the end of his two-day visit to Pakistan, Mr Zarif said US allegations and actions against Iran were cause of rising tension in the region. “These actions are also a threat to global peace and stability,” he said.

Pakistan’s relations with Iran have also been strained in recent months, with both sides accusing each other of not doing enough to stamp out militants allegedly sheltering across the border.

Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2019