- Chief Justice Nisar prohibits private medical colleges from charging more than Rs642,000 in fees, warns of shutting them down if any discrepancy is found in accounts
- Warns of closing down all development projects, including OLMT, if Punjab govt doesn’t improve health and education sectors
- CJP open to possibility of summoning Punjab CM in unsafe drinking water case
- Dairy farmers prohibited from injecting hormones in cows and buffaloes to increase milk production
LAHORE: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Saqib Nisar on Saturday threatened to shut down all development projects, including the Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) if the Punjab government fails to improve health and education sectors, and ordered the imposition of uniform tuition fee at all private medical colleges across the country.
Hearing a case pertaining to increased fees of private medical colleges in the Supreme Court’s Lahore registry, the CJP said there will be no compromise on education and health.
“I will close down all projects, including Orange Line Metro Train, if health and education sectors are not improved,” the chief justice warned the provincial government.
A two-member bench, headed by the chief justice and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, is hearing matters of public welfare at the Lahore registry.
During the hearing, the chief justice observed that access to healthcare is a citizen’s basic right and informed the provincial chief secretary that in Lahore’s Services Hospital, the instrument used to place stitches was not present.
Answering the chief justice’s question, the health secretary said that young doctors’ continuous strikes were the biggest hurdle in the provision of proper medical facilities to patients.
“If young doctors have any complaints, they should approach the court for their solutions,” said Justice Nisar.
“Providing health care is our responsibility,” the chief justice stated, directing authorities to submit a report on the presence of life-saving medicines in hospitals.
The court also summoned affidavits of medical superintendents of all public hospitals and also directed the government-run hospitals to submit their audit reports.
During the hearing, Chief Justice Nisar observed that the Punjab government is spending millions of rupees on its publicity. In its remarks, the court stated that free medicines aren’t being made available yet funds are being spent on publicity campaigns.
“Instead of seeking publicity on TV, the government should improve the situation in hospitals,” the chief justice remarked during the hearing.
The court also warned of closing down all private clinics that government doctors operate after office hours if the situation does not improve.
The bench then summoned in 10 days details of the funds the provincial government has spent on advertising campaigns.
The court also ordered the government to submit in 15 days a policy on improving the conditions of state hospitals.
Earlier, following growing complaints about lack of facilities at public hospitals in Lahore, CJP Mian Saqib Nisar on January 4, took a suo motu notice of the issue.
CJP ORDERS UNIFORM TUITION FEE IN ALL MEDICAL COLLEGES:
The CJP prohibited private medical colleges from charging more than Rs642,000 in fees and warned them of a complete shutdown if any discrepancies are found in their accounts.
“The poor man’s child also wants to become a doctor but can’t due to a lack of resources,” he added during a suo moto hearing on the matter of private fees’ exorbitant fees.
“You are charging Rs642,000 in fees — we have to look into that,” the chief justice told owners and chief executives of private medical colleges after they submitted their affidavits and account details on court orders. “You will have to return the excess amount, if found any. If any medical college is found charging even a rupee more, then it will not bode well for them.”
The chief justice further said: “Now we will get to understand the science of medical colleges, and if a fault is found, then we will shut down all the private medical colleges and universities. No medical college will now be allowed to register.”
Chief Justice Nisar also criticised the medical college industry’s admission policy and passing-out criteria, saying: “Private medical colleges do their own marking and pass their students themselves. There should be a uniformed admission policy and one merit. We will not let admissions take place on the basis of donations and money.”
The CJP also formed a constitutional committee that will visit all the medical colleges in Pakistan.
In a previous hearing, the court had restrained all unrecognised private medical colleges from carrying out admission. “If any admission is made by these colleges, their chief executives or administrative body shall personally be held responsible for violating the order of this court,” the chief justice had said.
The CJP had also warned that an inquiry would be conducted if any attempt was made to mention the admission even in back dates.
PUNJAB CM WARNED AGAINST UNSAFE DRINKING WATER:
During a hearing of a separate case regarding unsafe drinking water in the SC Lahore registry, it was disclosed that samples of water collected from the CJP’s chamber were polluted and unfit for consumption.
Justice Nisar expressed alarm at the report by the Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and said that the government needs to decide its priorities.
“Citizens are being made to drink water that is poisoned with arsenic,” he claimed. He then asked the provincial chief secretary if he was aware of the lakes and rivers where sewerage water from major urban cities was being dumped.
Referring to a similar ongoing case in SC Karachi registry where the CJP had summoned Sindh chief minister to court, Justice Nisar said that he could summon Punjab’s chief minister as well.
FARMERS ORDERED NOT TO INJECT HORMONES IN COWS, BUFFALOES:
CJP Nisar prohibited dairy farmers from injecting hormones in cows and buffaloes to increase milk production, during a hearing of another case regarding tampered milk in Punjab.
Hearing a suo motu case, the CJP said that injections given to cows and buffaloes lead to diseases like cancer in children and adults consuming the milk and ordered companies producing tea whiteners to state on the packaging that their product is not a substitute for milk.
He also branded packaged milk “unfit for consumption” because the packages contain formalin chemical, which is extremely dangerous for human health.
A representative of Engro Food’s Tarang insisted that their product mentioned that the tea whitener was not a substitute for children’s milk; However, the chief justice turned down his objections and ordered the company to change their design.
The case was then adjourned for two weeks.