QUETTA: Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Monday directed the last two former chief ministers of Balochistan, Dr Abdul Malik Baloch and Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, to appear before the Supreme Court tomorrow (Tuesday).
The CJP summoned the two former provincial chief ministers to explain what they did for the improvement of governance and welfare of people in the province during their respective tenures.
“Three chief ministers came to power during one tenure but what did they do for the welfare of people?” the CJP asked.
Justice Nisar added, “Call the chief ministers who ruled here [Balochistan] in the last four years to explain.”
The comments came during a hearing at the Supreme Court’s Quetta Registry regarding the state of hospitals in Balochistan. A three-judge bench headed by Justice Nisar and comprising of Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and Justice Mansoor Ali is taking up cases of public interest in the province.
Provincial chief secretary, secretary of health and secretary education appeared before the court for the hearing of their cases.
Hearing the case regarding the state of hospitals in Balochistan, Justice Nisar asked how young doctors across the province are still on strike despite court orders barring them from doing so.
“Who is providing treatment to patients while doctors are on strike?” the CJP questioned.
Provincial Health Secretary Saleh Muhammad Nasser told the CJP that no one is treating patients while the young doctors are on strike.
“There is no private hospital in Balochistan, only one medical college,” the provincial health secretary said.
“The government is set to inaugurate three medical colleges soon,” he added.
The outpatient departments (OPDs) of government hospitals across Balochistan were closed today (Monday) for a fourth day as young doctors continued their strike.
The young doctors had called a strike in March to demand hiring on vacant seats, payment of allowances and provision of new machines at medical facilities.
They paused their protest when the government promised to fulfil their demand upon the return of Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudus Bizenjo.
However, when neither their demands were fulfilled nor a notification issued despite the chief minister’s return, the doctors resumed their strike from Friday.
Questioning the provincial health secretary regarding the state of hospitals, the chief justice said, “We have issued an SOP in this regard.”
Stating that Balochistan is “extremely important”, Justice Nisar said, “I want to tour some hospitals.”
Later in the day, the CJP visited Civil Hospital Quetta where he interacted with patients and visited a strike camp of paramedics and young doctors.
Justice Nisar ordered authorities to listen to the demands of the protesting doctors and present a report to him. Following the CJP’s visit, the medics called off their strike.
Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo and other officials accompanied the chief justice during his visit.
The CJP said they’re looking into whether private medical colleges are being run as businesses. “Some private medical colleges charge a fee of over Rs2 million,” he said.
Reiterating his commitment to ensuring medical colleges don’t charge exorbitant fees, Justice Nisar said, “We want the money to be returned to 20 million students.”
The CJP ordered private medical colleges to return to students any fee they charged above Rs856,000 annually.
“Unfortunately, our medical colleges are substandard,” he remarked.-Web Desk