- Health minister resigns after Shahbaz severely rebuked him and health secretary for failing to rid Punjab of epidemics
Punjab Minister for Health Tahir Khalil Sindhu resigned from his portfolio as provincial minister for health after Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif severely reprimanded him for inefficiency and incompetency in handling such an important ministry, sources privy to the development told Pakistan Today.
Sindhu was handed over such an important and sensitive portfolio for the first time under the CM, who put a lot of trust and confidence on him. It should be noted that there was no one given the health portfolio in the previous tenure, while only this time a health minister was taken into the cabinet to manage the situation. A senior official who was privy to the development said the CM actually grilled the health officials along with the minister over failure in handling the ministry in general, and the dengue crisis in particular.
Pertinent to mention is the worsening condition of dengue which is on the border of being an epidemic, although the devastation is nowhere near the one which hit the province and the metropolitan in 2011. However the number of dengue cases is increasing at an alarming rate with the deaths taking place as well.
The chief minister recently removed senior health officials in Rawalpindi as well over negligence to cope with the dengue fever, which took many lives a couple of years ago. As per recent reports, the number of dengue patients in Punjab has reached to a total of 1,500.
A Health Ministry’s spokesperson said the chief minister confronted Sindhu over his inability to implement precautionary measures. Rather than seeking another opportunity, the health minister submitted his resignation and has since been terminated from the position.
Meanwhile, Health Secretary Hassan Iqbal has also been suspended from his job by the government over “negligence”. This negligence had been leading to increasing number of dengue patients in the province.
The Punjab chief, however, decided to let Sindhu remain the minister for minorities and human rights. It remains to be seen how the former health minister will deliver in this capacity.
Meanwhile the government has given the charge of the health department to Khawaja Salman Rafiq.
Chaudhry Sher Ali, provincial minister for energy, was also relieved of his charge due to non-performance.