Life and law

There are many laws on the statute books, but few are being implemented

Editorial May 05, 2020

There are many laws on the statute books, but few are being implemented. Another innocent life has been lost perhaps due to lack of seriousness on the part of the authorities to ensure the implementation of the relevant law. Recently in Karachi, four-year-old Sufiyan was injured in the neck by a sharp kite string while travelling on a motorcycle with his parents. He was brought to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital where hospital staff reportedly told his parents that they could not take up treatment before the arrival of the police. The police arrived after two hours, but by then the boy had died. The hospital administration, however, maintains that the boy was brought dead to the hospital. The Sindh government has ordered an inquiry into the incident the report of which would make things clear.

Certain questions cannot be avoided, however. Were the boy’s parents so ignorant that they brought a dead body to the hospital for treatment? The provincial government promulgated The Sindh Injured Persons Compulsory Medical Treatment (Amal Umer) Act in March this year that abolished the requirement of the police’s concurrence for treatment of injured persons. This legislation was enacted following public outcry over the death of a 10-year-old girl, Amal Umer, in Karachi on August 13, 2019. The girl was hit by a bullet in the head, while travelling in a car with her parents, during crossfire between robbers and the police. Her parents desperately took her from one hospital to another for several hours but all hospitals expressed their inability to treat her because of the ambiguities of certain laws. She died during the journey from hospital to hospital.

Unfortunately, another life has been lost in spite of the presence of a law that makes it mandatory to start immediate treatment of the injured. Was it because the government failed to give necessary publicity to the law? Or was it because useless laws weaken the necessary laws? 

Published in The Express Tribune, May 5th, 2020.

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