SC orders to run independent audit of medical colleges

  • CJP pays surprise visits to government-run hospitals in Lahore
  • He reveals ‘Baba Rehmat‘ analogy inspired by writings of Ashfaq Ahmed

LAHORE: Supreme Court (SC) on Friday ordered to run an audit of all medical colleges by any independent chartered firm in a bid to acquire their fee structure and expenditure.

Hearing the suo motu case pertaining to the high fee of the private medical colleges in SC Lahore Registry, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar pointed out that the tuition fees should not be too high so as to rob the poor students.

The medical education has unfortunately become a business rather than being a life-saving profession, he remarked.

CJP reasoned that medical colleges were producing mediocre doctors nowadays out of which some couldn’t even do basic things like checking a patient’s blood pressure.

In February, Justice Nisar had observed that the medical profession should not have the objective of profiteering while hearing a suo motu case on the sale of substandard and expensive coronary stents.

Earlier, he had remarked that the SC did not want to shut down private medical colleges as they do share the burden of the public sector, but made it clear that “these institutions should not turn into business organisations either”.

CJP pays surprise visits to Lahore’s government hospitals

Meanwhile, Justice Nisar paid a surprise visit to two government hospitals in Lahore while being accompanied with Lahore High Court Chief Justice Yawar Ali. Both seniors judges went to Services Hospital and Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC).

They inspected various wards, including the emergency department.

While interacting with patients, a woman approached the chief justice asking for monetary assistance for medical treatment. The CJP assured the woman of help and directed the relevant authorities to provide her services free-of-charge.

Later on, as the chief justice arrived at the government-run PIC, he expressed displeasure at the absence of wheelchairs at the institute’s entrance.  Inside, patients complained to the chief justice of various issues after which he directed the hospital administration to resolve the patients’ problems.

The chief justice had in December last year paid a similar visit to the Lahore’s Mayo Hospital to inspect facilities. The move had drawn criticism from various quarters, including former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz.

Who is Baba Rehmat?

Clarifying his analogy of ‘Baba Rehmat’ being synonymous with the top judiciary, the CJP said he cared less about the criticism, adding that he was inspired by the writings of Ashfaq Ahmed.

He said, “A baba is he who facilitates people.”

In December, he had referred to the judiciary using the analogy of a baba (village elder). He stated, “The judiciary is your baba… do not doubt its integrity.”

“Judiciary is akin to an elder, wise person whose advice everyone seeks.”