LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly (PA) on Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution asking the parliament to legislate a Drug Regulatory Authority (DRA).
The long-standing bone of contention between the provincial and the federal government over the issue of DRA was resolved Tuesday night as the federal government transferred the Sheikh Zaid Hospital to the Punjab government.
The Punjab government immediately sent a summary to Punjab Governor Latif Khan Khosa to summon the 34th PA session. The governor, in response, summoned the session on Wednesday, where Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah moved the resolution.
The resolution, which emphasised that all matters relating to drugs and medicines will be regulated by the parliament, was unanimously passed by all members of the treasury and opposition benches.
According to Article 144(1) of the Constitution, the province shall have to get the resolution passed under this article from the concerned assemblies. Three provinces have already passed the resolution in which they gave a go-ahead to the parliament to legislate the DRA.
During the session, Leader of the Opposition Raja Riaz asserted that three provinces had passed this resolution but the Punjab government deliberately delayed it.
Referring to the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) medicine disaster, he alleged: “Formation of the authority was delayed because of the Punjab government. If it passed the resolution earlier, the deaths from the fake medicines would never have occurred.”
He also condemned the absence of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif from the house in the past.
Meanwhile, Sanaullah stated that the federal government has three hospitals in three provinces – Sheikh Zaid Hospital in Lahore, Jinnah Hospital in Karachi and in Quetta.
He added that the federal government on June 30, 2011, had transferred two hospitals to Sindh and Balochistan provinces but were refusing to hand over the Sheikh Zaid Hospital to Punjab.
Pakistan Peoples Party's (PPP) Parliamentary Leader Zulfiqar Gondal defended the federal government and said that the Sheikh Zaid Hospital is being run by foreign funding and the ministry of economic division looks after its affairs. However, he congratulated all the members over the passage of the resolution.
The opposition demanded the Punjab government to issue their allocated Rs8 million funds in terms of development projects for their constituencies, which also resulted in an uproar in the assembly.
The speaker of the assembly prorogued the one-day session for an indefinite period of time.
Earlier during the day, while talking to the media, Riaz had said that the formation of the DRA was delayed because of the Punjab government. He said that if the government had passed a resolution earlier, the 200 deaths due to PIC would not have occurred.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif is responsible for those deaths, Riaz had told reporters.