KARACHI: The Supreme Court (SC) constituted on Saturday a five-member committee for the inspection of private medical colleges to report on admission procedures and determine the availability of teaching facilities across the province.
The committee will comprise the provincial health secretary, vice-chancellors of Jinnah Medical University, Aga Khan University and Dow University of Health Sciences and two senior lawyers.
A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, which constituted the inspection team, also ordered the medical superintendents of all hospitals to submit their personal affidavits, along with details relating to availability of medical and treatment facilities, functional and non-functional equipment, strength of the staff and transfers and postings of medical staff.
To begin with, the committee was directed to conduct inspection of Jinnah Medical University tomorrow (Monday).
The bench, which also comprised justices Faisal Arab and Sajjad Ali Shah, issued these directives while hearing a suo motu case relating to poor conditions of public and private health facilities in the province at the SC’s Karachi Registry.
Justice Nisar clarified that the proceedings were not meant to stop the process of admissions at the private medical colleges. “We are sitting here to safeguard the fundamental rights of the citizens,” he added.
However, the top judge told the representatives of private medical colleges and universities that admissions will now be subjected to the order of the court.
It directed the provincial health secretary and others to submit the criteria and procedures required for admissions at private colleges and universities.
Meanwhile, the apex court granted 15 days to the private medical colleges and varsities’ management to ensure implementation on the laws regulating admissions, teaching and other facilities.
Justice Nisar cautioned them that implementation of the laws will be ensured at any cost, therefore the management of the private medical colleges as well as the hospitals must mend their ways.
The bench directed the medical superintendents of all the hospitals run by the government to submit complete record relating to availability of treatment facilities, functional and non-functional equipment, strength of the staff, their transfers and postings. Such reports should be supported by the personal affidavits of the medical superintendents, the judges ordered.
The bench asked Dr Asim Hussain, the head of the Dr Ziauddin chain of private hospitals, to assist the court in resolving the issue of excessive fee charged by private colleges.
“We want that the children of the poor should also become doctors. Education is not only for the rich,” remarked Justice Nisar.
The CJP set an example for ending the VIP culture by visiting the mausoleum of Mohammad Ali Jinnah without any protocol early Saturday morning.
Later, while hearing a human rights application against the blockade of public thoroughfares and roads for the VVIPs movement, the CJP ordered that no public thoroughfare or road should be blocked for movement of any political or VVIP personality all over the country.
“The SC will not tolerate suffering of the public because of road blockades,” he remarked. He directed the provincial government to ensure that public roads should not be blocked for more than two minutes, as prescribed in the law.
Earlier, Advocate-General Barrister Zamir Ghumro said that the law provides for interrupting vehicular traffic on the roads for two minutes due to VVIP movements. However, he maintained that no public thoroughfare in the province had been blocked on a permanent basis.