LHC irked over government steps to curb pandemic
Seeks details report on steps, facilities to fight virus
LAHORE: A four-member bench, headed by Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan sought all details from the federal and provincial governments, by March 24, on the medical facilities being provided for the coronavirus pandemic.
The bench, originally comprising of five judges, was constituted on March 19 for hearing matters related to coronavirus in the country. The LHC CJ, following the sensitivity of the ongoing pandemic, commenced proceedings despite the absence of the fifth member of the bench Justice Shujaat Ali Khan.
Justice Ayesha A Malik, Justice Shahid Jamil Khan and Justice Muhammad Sajid Mehmood Sethi were the other members of the bench.
The bench, issuing notice to the federal government, sought a detailed report on what measures the federal government had taken to tackle the virus threat. These details included the medical facilities being provided at quarantine centres, the efforts the government had taken on provision of testing kits and whether the government devised any mechanism to categorise the suspects and confirmed coronavirus patients at said centres.
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The bench’s focus was on the appropriate measures the government had taken to prevent the transmission of the virus. The LHC CJ also raised a question over the medical arrangements taken at the quarantine centre in Bahawalpur.
What arrangements had the government taken when the suspects and confirmed patients were transported from established quarantine centres, Justice Qasim asked.
“Why do you not define categories between suspects and confirmed patients and why are both categories not being treated differently.””
He also asked the representatives of the provincial government as to why these categories of patients bound to sit in a bus when they were being dropped at their respective areas. “Are we following the same standards, set by the international community, or are we following a different set of standards?”
Responding to Justice Qasim, Punjab Primary and Secondary Healthcare Secretary Muhammad Usman replied that it is not possible for us to follow international standards in our case. “The government took appropriate and abrupt measures and the medical facilities were being provided to the patients.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 21st, 2020.
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