Public healthcare: SHC maintains its order on shortage of staff in government hospitals

A total of 79 posts of doctors and surgeons vacant in Shikarpur’s district hospital


Our Correspondent September 25, 2018
PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC), retaining its earlier order regarding the reduction of doctors and paramedical staff in the government hospitals of Sindh, adjourned the hearing to October 4. A two-member bench heard the case where reports from 11 districts, including Karachi, Shikarpur, Tharparkar, Sukkur, Badin, Thatta and Larkana, were presented.

According to the additional health secretary, there are 79 vacant posts of doctors and surgeons in the district hospital of Shikarpur. On the court’s order, doctors were appointed to fill the vacancies. A notification of the appointment of six doctors in Shikarpur hospital has been issued and they include a cardiologist, a gynaecologist and child specialists among others. The doctors were transferred to Shikarpur from Karachi and other hospitals and have started working.

The court was hearing a petition which argued that hundreds of posts of doctors and paramedical staff were vacant in the hospitals of Sindh, including important posts of gynaecologist, pathologist, surgeon, child specialists and others for the past three years, resulting in a shortage of 4,000 doctors.

The court maintained its order of filling the vacant posts and postponed the hearing due to the absence of the petitioner’s lawyer.

Non-payment of dues

The court gave time till September 30 to the district municipal corporations (DMCs) officials to submit a reply over non-payment of dues to more than 200 teaching and non-teaching staffers of the schools being managed by the DMCs. A two-member bench heard the case.

The officials requested the court for time to submit their reply. The court, granting time to the officials, postponed the hearing.

The petitioner, Muhammad Saleem, and others argued that their salaries had not been paid for more than three years. Saleem said that due to non-payment of salaries he had been unable to marry off his daughter. He added that even though he came for duty regularly, his salary was still unpaid. He said that they were made to work during the census and elections and maintained that they faced difficulties due to non-payment of salaries, adding that the future of their children was at risk.

Bail application

The SHC gave the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor time till October 8 to submit a reply on the bail application of Sindh Assembly MPA Javed Hanif, who is associated with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement - Pakistan (MQM-P). A two-member bench, headed by Justice Iqbal Kalhoro heard Hanif’s bail application.

The NAB prosecutor requested for time to submit a reply. The court allowed the request and postponed the hearing.

Hanif’s lawyer, Rashid A Rizvi, argued that the arrest of his client was illegal. “He is a former bureaucrat and now an elected member of the assembly after securing thousands of votes. Despite this, he was not released,” Rizvi said. He added that Hanif was arrested on the day after a ticket was issued to him, which is against NAB policy. Arresting him after the ticket amounts to illegal confinement, the lawyer said and added that the NAB chairperson had clarified that electoral candidates would not be arrested.

According to NAB, the suspect has been charged of corruption and misuse of authority.

A total of 940 illegal appointments were made in the ports and shipping ministry. The suspect, in collusion with the federal minister of ports and shipping, Babar Ghauri, is accused of making these illegal appointments that violate the rules of Karachi Port Trust (KPT). Appointments were made without advertisements and the suspect is said to have inducted criminal elements in a large number causing a loss of more than two billion rupees to the national exchequer.

Punishment upheld

The SHC rejected the appeal of a convict against the seven years imprisonment awarded to him in an extortion and possession of illegal arms case. A two-member bench heard the appeal to reduce the sentence to five years.

According to the police, the convict had asked Dr Shazia for an extortion sum of Rs10 million. He was arrested while he was accepting the extortion money and a case was registered against him at the Gulistan-e-Jauhar police station in 2016. An anti-terrorism court (ATC) had announced a punishment of seven years after guilt was established.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 25th, 2018.

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