Justice Isa calls for opening all hospitals for public after Covid ordeal
Says an otherwise unequal system will cause more suffering and deaths; thanks his and wife's well wishers
Supreme Court Justice Qazi Faez Isa, who was hospitalised after contracting coronavirus last week, has urged the government to open up all public-sector hospitals, including combined military ones, to the public amid a spike in the deadly Covid-19 infections.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Justice Isa said Pakistan was in a situation that was “no less grave than a war” and a healthcare system where not everyone has access to hospitals would lead to more deaths and sufferings.
The top court judge stated that if all hospitals weren't opened for public "class and social divides will further be exacerbated and people continue to suffer and die because of an unequal system".
He further said that the constitution guarantees the right to life as a “fundamental right, of which health is an integral part”.
The SC judge also shared his Covid "ordeal" in the statement.
“My wife and I were one of the initial lucky few (less than 2 per cent) in the country who were fully vaccinated as both of us were above 60 -- courtesy of the Chinese government.
"We took every precaution, including always wearing masks in public places, yet contracted the highly infectious Delta variant of the disease. Even with the vaccination, I still had to be hospitalised.”
The top judge thanked “very competent doctors and attendants at the Quaid-e-Azam International Hospital all of whom have been integral to the treatment”.
The SC judge maintained that the treatment he received was not within the reach of majority of the country's citizens. "My wife and I are truly blessed for the prayers and support we have received, and bow in abject supplication to Almighty Allah,” he added.
‘SOPs not being followed’
Justice Isa criticised the lack of effective social distancing measures by the government. He said, “Internationally recognised and WHO [World Health Organisation] mandated preventive social distancing measures are not being followed [in the country].”
“The nation's health needs to be relegated to expert pulmonologists and other Covid-19 experts who should be brought on TV and radio to explain, warn and educate the nation,” the judge suggested.
He added: “Urdu, as well as all other spoken languages and dialects, should be used to communicate. Even the equivalent for the acronym 'SOP' [Standard Operating Procedures] has proved elusive. Could 'Hidayet' [instruction] or 'Tibbi Hidayet' [clinical instructions] not be a start?”
He further said that the government high-ups themselves were not serious about following the anti-virus protocols.
“Flouting of SOPs is not permissible. Yet it is done by those who should be leading by example... [they were] saying Eidul Azha prayers in the Faisal Mosque, Islamabad, by standing shoulder to shoulder, which sent out the wrong message that the government's own SOPs are not important,” he said.
Justice Isa maintained that Islam also lay down “clear preventive measures during epidemics which have also been completely discarded”.
“Allah has showered His grace and mercy on us and it is now our duty to come together as a nation to collectively fight this epidemic,” he concluded.
On July 31, Justice Qazi Faez Isa was admitted to a hospital on the advice of his doctors. At the time, Justice Isa was in good health with mild symptoms, such as cough. He was moved to the hospital for better treatment.