LAHORE: Expressing serious concern over the pathetic condition of Lahore’s Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute (PKLI), Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Monday asked where Rs20 billion, spent on the institute, had gone.
“Everything will become clear if we conduct a forensic audit of Rs20 billion spent on the institute,” he said while heading a three-judge bench – also comprising Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsan – hearing multiple suo motu notices at the Supreme Court Lahore Registry.
“It is very astonishing that a doctor is being paid Rs3. 5 million salary and still no operation has been carried out,” the CJP said. He also expressed dismay over non-submission of reports regarding the heavy salaries being paid to the doctors at the institute.
The hospital’s medical director Dr Amir Yar Khan appeared before the court and said the institute is at the initial stage with 43 doctors hired for it. To a court query, Dr Khan said head of the institute is getting Rs1.2 million as per month salary while his wife is getting Rs800,000.
The CJP asked him what the reason for this discrimination was and whether the doctors at public sector hospitals were getting the same salaries. Dr Khan said private practice is banned for those who have been serving the institute and this is the reason why local doctors do not want to get a job at the institute.
Addressing the chief secretary, the CJP asked whether there is a lack of talent in Pakistan. Justice Bandial observed that the foreign qualified doctors should serve on the welfare basis rather than commercial.
The court then directed the health department to submit complete record of the PKLI staff and the budget of the hospital. Punjab Health Minister Salman Rafique as well as officers of several other departments were also present in the courtroom.
The CJP, taking notice of closure of Liver Transplant Centre at Sheikh Zaid Hospital, observed that the court will not allow its closure. He asked the Sheikh Zaid Hospital authorities to explain why the matter was not reported since January this year.
Taking notice of deteriorating condition of Ayub Hospital in Peshawar, Justice Nisar hinted at visiting the hospital soon along with a team of doctors. Later, he also visited the PKLI.