Control of three Karachi hospitals to remain with Centre, SC rules


–Sindh govt had challenged federal govt’s ownership of JPMC, NICVD and NICH in Karachi


ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday dismissed a plea by the Sindh government regarding ownership dispute with the federal government over three hospitals in Karachi.

The decision was announced by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar during a hearing on the matter.

A detailed verdict, which will list the reasons for the decision, will be issued later.

A verdict by the apex court in 2016 declared the hospitals to fall under the ownership of the federal government. However, the Sindh government had contended that in accordance with the 18th Amendment, the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical College (JPMC), National Institute of Cardio Vascular Diseases (NICVD) and National Institute of Child Health (NICH) in Karachi should be devolved to the provincial government.

The 18th Constitutional Amendment, passed in April, 2010 made the president a ceremonial head of state and took away the executive authority from the post.

The amendment also gave provinces a larger share of decision-making power and changed the name of North West Frontier Province (NWFP) to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

Earlier this month, a three-member SC bench rejected NICVD representative Senator Raza Rabbani’s request seeking formation of a full bench in a case pertaining to the devolution of the three hospitals.

During the hearing earlier this month, Justice Ijazul Ahsan clarified the court was not reviewing the 18th Amendment, but the issue pertaining to the dissolution of certain hospitals on the basis of the amendment. To which, Senator Rabbani argued that the court had raised different questions a day earlier and it would be appropriate if a full bench was formed on this matter.  He clarified that 19th Amendment was passed to bring clarity [18th Amendment].

Rabbani had mentioned that if the federation takes over the hospitals, which come under Sindh under the 18th Amendment, then it would be akin to Article 137 losing its value.

“The state comprises federal, provincial and local governments: the federal government can build hospitals in the provinces but cannot run them. If the federal government builds hospitals and runs them, then Article 137 will lose its value,” he had argued at the time.