Jan 062018

The Supreme Court on Saturday banned young doctors in Lahore from holding any more strikes.

During a hearing of the suo motu notice on the state of government medical facilities in Lahore, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar asked the health secretary to explain why hospitals had failed to provide citizens proper health facilities.

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.

The chief justice, who was conducting the proceedings at the SC's Lahore Registry, warned the health ministry that if it failed to take action against doctors staging any further protests, the ministry would be held accountable.

"If the state of education and health sectors does not improve, I will stop all development projects including the Orange Line Metro Train Project," the chief justice warned.

On January 4, Justice Nisar had taken suo motu notice on the state of government hospitals in Lahore following growing complaints about lack of facilities at these medical institutions.

"The point of taking notice is to make the state of these institutions better — it is not to take action against these hospitals," Justice Nisar said.

The medical superintendents of government hospitals were present in court on Saturday's hearing, during which Justice Nisar commented that the state of government medical facilities was not satisfactory.

He ordered that statements from medical superintendents should be submitted in court, as well as audit reports and the reports on the availability of medicines in all Lahore hospitals.

"In one hospital, they did not have a suture kit while conducting an operation," the chief justice said, adding that instead of spending millions of rupees on television campaigns, the government should spend that money on providing medicines and equipment to public hospitals.

Outlining the SC's agenda for 2018, Justice Nisar on Wednesday had said that the court would be focusing on human rights issues, particularly those relating to the people’s right to quality education and healthcare.

The SC is already hearing cases regarding provision of clean water in Sindh and Punjab as well as one regarding high fees in Punjab's medical colleges.

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