SC summons CM Shahbaz Sharif over issue of polluted water in Lahore

The Supreme Court (SC) summoned Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif after a report by the Punjab government on provision of clean water was found to be unsatisfactory by the court.

A three-member bench of the SC, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, was hearing the suo motu case on provision of clean water at the Lahore registry.

After a report by the provincial government revealed that 540 million gallons of polluted water was being drained into river Ravi, Justice Nisar asked for Sharif to appear before the court and apprise it of measures being taken for drainage of waste water.

“If we can summon Sindh’s chief minister over pollution, why should we not summon Punjab’s [chief minister]?” the CJP asked.

After asking the chief secretary to find out when Sharif would be able to appear, the court ordered the chief minister to appear at 11am on Sunday (tomorrow).

The bench also expressed displeasure over the lack of provision of clean water in the provincial capital.

Report on problems faced by Lahore’s public hospitals

During the hearing of a suo motu case regarding the lack of facilities in Lahore’s public hospitals on Saturday, the CJP Nisar ordered officials to prepare a report detailing the problems being faced by the hospitals.

In today’s hearing, the officials of public hospitals submitted a report on the current conditions of the hospitals. Justice Nisar emphasised the need to improve the healthcare system in Lahore and ordered officials to ensure that the best facilities are available to patients.

The case was also being heard in the SC Lahore registry by a three-member bench headed by the CJP.

“I want you to work on improving the healthcare system with the same passion with which the SC is looking into this issue,” he told the officials present in court. “This is your responsibility.”

“Children that are two-month-old are unable to get proper health facilities,” he noted. The chief justice also warned that he would visit The Children’s Hospital to assess its condition himself.

When he asked if the hospitals had taken any measures to improve the condition of public hospitals, a representative from the Services Hospital said that the administration had increased the bed capacity from 400 to 614.

Noting that public hospitals lack resources, the chief justice ordered that a report on the shortcomings being faced should be submitted in the next hearing of the case, that will be held on February 24.

Last month, the CJP had taken a suo motu notice of the worsening conditions of public hospitals in Lahore after growing complaints regarding lack of facilities for patients.

He had directed medical superintendents of 19 hospitals to appear before the SC’s Lahore registry with reports containing details of emergency equipment, CT Scan, MRI and ambulances etc.

Outlining the SC’s agenda for 2018 at the start of the year, Justice Nisar had said that the court would be focusing on human rights issues, particularly those relating to the people’s right to quality education and healthcare.

The SC is already hearing cases regarding the provision of clean water in Sindh and Punjab as well as one regarding high fees in Punjab’s medical colleges.