KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Wednesday summoned the municipal commissioners of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) and the district municipal corporations after the counsel for DMCs said that they were helpless regarding detention and control of stray dogs.
The SHC also issued a show-cause notice to the additional secretary of the local government department over his absence and directed the health secretary to be in attendance on the next hearing.
A two-judge bench, headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar, was hearing a petition about stray dogs and shortage of anti-rabies vaccines at all government-run hospitals in the province.
On Wednesday, additional health secretary Imran Bhatti filed a reply to a show-cause notice issued to him in the previous hearing.
Mr Bhatti in a statement placed before the bench also submitted that 17,837 anti-rabies vaccines and 11,855 snake antivenom were available in different hospitals of the province including the provincial metropolis, adding that this update was received a day before from the hospitals.
The SHC summons municipal commissioners of KMC and all six DMCs
The bench directed him to provide the copy of the statement to the petitioner to go through the same and file the reply.
The bench said that the issue was the detention and control of street/stray dogs and counsel for DMCs wanted further time to file a reply, but they had not given any clear answer to the bench as to why the DMCs had failed to perform their duties.
They said that they were helpless because of a financial crunch. They further stated that the old vehicles for detaining dogs were in possession of the KMC and not delivered to the respective DMCs for performing their duties.
At this juncture, the lawyer for the KMC informed the bench that old vehicles were not in running condition and therefore, no useful purpose could be served from such vehicles. The counsel also complained that the KMC was facing shortage of funds.
The bench found additional LG secretary absent and issued a show-cause notice to him asking him to appear in person on the next date with an explanation. It also asked the health secretary to be in attendance on Oct 22.
It also asked the municipal commissioner of the KMC as well as the municipal commissioners of all the six DMCs of the city to appear in person on the next date of hearing.
In the last hearing, the KMC submitted that the function of detention and control of street/stray dogs had been assigned to the DMCs.
Petitioner Advocate Tariq Mansoor submitted that Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho had given a statement before the provincial assembly that more than 92,000 dog-bite cases had been reported from across Sindh till June 30 this year and that there was a shortage of anti-rabies vaccine due to the ongoing tension with India and the closure of a Chinese company’s operation.
He maintained that dog-bite incidents had been on the rise due to the failure of the provincial and local administrations to tackle the situation as stray dogs had not been dealt with, and on the other hand anti-rabies vaccines were not available at the government-run hospitals.
The petitioner sought a direction for the provincial and local governments to take necessary steps for vaccination, detention and control of the population of stray dogs as per the World Health Organisation’s guidelines.
Interim bail to Khursheed Shah’s family extended
Another division bench of SHC on Wednesday extended interim pre-arrest bail of two wives and as many sons of detained Pakistan Peoples Party parliamentarian Syed Khursheed Shah in an inquiry pertaining to assets beyond known sources of income.
Earlier, the SHC had granted interim bail to Syed Zeerakh Shah and Syed Farrukh Ahmed Shah, sons of the PPP leader, and his wives Talat Bibi and Gulnaz Bibi, Transport Minister Syed Awais Qadir Shah and some other relatives.
On Wednesday, prosecutor for the National Accountability Bureau submitted that NAB Sukkur was investigating the case and Mr Shah was in custody on physical remand.
The bench headed by Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M. Shaikh extended the interim bail till Nov 15 and directed the petitioners to cooperate with the investigators. The bench also temporarily exempted the appearance of Mr Shah’s wives.
Published in Dawn, October 17th, 2019