KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Wednesday directed the chief secretary and two senior officials to appear in person in court on Jan 23 to explain why a summary regarding equipment for the Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK) had not been approved.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice K.K. Agha observed that due to bureaucratic hurdles and lack of will, the court’s earlier order about provision of free and adequate healthcare facilities to citizens had not been complied with.

The court issued show-cause notices to the health secretary and CHK’s medical superintendent.

The bench also summoned the chairperson of the planning and development board for explanation over dismissal of the summary and directed the health secretary to explain the exact position regarding procurement of required equipment for CHK and why it had not been done yet.

Earlier, the SHC had directed the provincial authorities to release funds to install equipment and facilities at the CHK in order to rectify the deficiencies highlighted in a judicial inquiry conducted on an SHC directive issued in October last year after health and hospital officials submitted that CCTV cameras were not working at the health facility when a child went missing from the outpatient department.

On Wednesday, the investigating officer of a case pertaining to a missing child appeared in court with a progress report and submitted that he had acted upon the recommendations of the provincial task force (PTF) for missing persons, but police were still clueless regarding whereabouts of the missing child.

The court directed the PTF to take up this matter again in its next meeting and make recommendations for the recovery of the child.

The bench in its order observed that in the last hearing it was informed that a summary moved by the health department for required equipment had been approved by the finance minister and sent to the chief minister who will place it before the cabinet for approval.

However, a deputy secretary (health) informed the bench during Wednesday’s proceedings that the summary had not been approved by the Sindh government.

The bench directed the chief secretary, finance secretary and additional secretary-finance to appear in person and explain why the summary had not been placed before the cabinet.

It also directed the P&D chairperson to appear in person on the next hearing to explain why the summary has not been approved and whether she was facing any difficulty.

Published in Dawn, December 12th, 2019