PESHAWAR: Major government and private hospitals in Peshawar have run out of beds for coronavirus patients due to a surge in cases, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly was informed on Wednesday.
Culture and labour minister Shaukat Ali Yousafzai told the house that two government-run tertiary healthcare facilities in Peshawar, including Hayatabad Medical Complex and Khyber Teaching Hospital, and a private hospital had exhausted their capacity to accommodate Covid-19 patients and currently, only the Lady Reading Hospital was receiving such patients.
He said the pandemic had plunged the global economy into recession, while the second wave of the virus had put health system under pressure in the country, especially Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The minister said though the Covid-19 positivity rate was on the rise, the opposition parties were organising rallies against the government in the country.
He said the government was ready to arrange a detailed briefing on coronavirus incidence for the opposition.
Mr Yousafzai said the opposition had adopted a ‘non-serious’ attitude towards the pandemic by holding anti-government rallies despite ban.
Speaker says audit reports of BRT, afforestation projects to be tabled in house shortly
“The opposition’s rallies can’t pose any threat to the government but we are more concerned about public life and economy,” he said.
The minister said the Pakistan Peoples Party’s government in Sindh was imposing a smart lockdown in Karachi and Hyderabad but the party [PPP] was holding protest rallies in KP showing its double standard.
He said the government won’t stop the opposition from taking out rallies but FIRs would be registered against their organisers.
Mr Yousafzai accused the opposition of politicising BRT and Billion Trees Tsunami projects.
“The BRT and BTAP are the flagship projects of this government, which are being made controversial by the opposition for mala fide intentions,” he said.
Speaking on a point of order, Awami National Party MPA Khushdil Khan demanded of the government to withdraw FIRs registered against the provincial presidents of various opposition parties and organisers of the PDM’s Peshawar rally.
He said the government initially refused to give permission to the PDM rally in Peshawar and later registered FIRs against political workers.
“The government violated Articles 16, 17 and 19 of the Constitution by not permitting political parties to hold a public meeting,” he said.
PPP member Nighat Yasmin Orakzai opposed the provision of funds by the government to private laboratories for conducting Covid-19 tests in the province.
She said the government instead of releasing Rs700 million to private labs should give the money to own testing facilities for tests at subsidised rates.
Opposition Leader Akram Khan Durrani sought the details of the government’s expenditure on Covid-19, parliamentary probe into the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Peshawar and Billion Tree Tsunami projects.
He said the government should provide details of the expenses on coronavirus patients, deaths, and import of equipment and medicines.
Mr Durrani flayed the government for not providing details of the BRT project’s financial costs.
“This is the constitutional right of the lawmakers to have details of the cost of the BRT project,” he said, adding that the government should not conceal information from the assembly.
He asked Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani to constitute a joint parliamentary committee to probe financial matters related to Covid-19, BRT and Billion Tree Tsunami.
The speaker said the reports of the Auditor General of Pakistan regarding BRT and tree plantation projects would be tabled in the assembly in next few days.
In a joint calling attention notice, opposition members Nighat Orakzai and Khushdil Khan claimed that former special secretary of the assembly Waqar Shah, who was terminated by the speaker before the completion of his probation period, was reappointed to his position.
They said Waqar Shah was a PIA employee but the former speaker had brought him to the assembly’s secretariat on deputation and then absorbed him directly as a special secretary in BPS-19.
The members claimed that Shah’s initial appointment was illegal as the post was not advertised and that he was reappointed against the same post but the speaker terminated him.
They said they would go to the court if a terminated person was reappointed.
The speaker assured the members that he wouldn’t take any illegal step.
Earlier, the lawmakers offered Fateha for former Peshawar High Court chief justice Waqar Ahmad Seth, who died of coronavirus last month.
They paid rich tribute to the deceased and sympathised with his family.
Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2020