LAHORE - Punjab Advocate General (AG) Ashtar Ausaf could be misinforming the Supreme Court of Pakistan on the issue of reinstatement of Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) doctors as the PIC former CEO Professor Dr Azhar has said he has no issues being the CEO again, contrary to what the court was informed.
The AG, on behalf of the Punjab government, informed the SC during a hearing on the doctors’ strike that the government had not removed Professor Azhar from the post of the CEO, and that Azhar had “voluntarily stepped down” when offered to join that post again. The young doctors contented that senior doctors like the CEO of PIC Prof Dr Azhar were suspended by government even when he was not responsible for the deaths caused by spurious drugs, and that Professor Azhar should be asked to clarify his position whether he voluntarily stepped down or was forced to do so.
However, the entire scenario has taken another interesting turn when Professor Azhar talking to Pakistan Today categorically denied having “conveyed to anyone, be it the government or anyone else” that he did not want to join as the CEO. “I’ve not said to anybody whatsoever that I don’t want to be the CEO again…there is no reason for me not to be the CEO, as my performance during my tenure as the CEO is unprecedented and can be verified by various indicators,” Azhar said. To a question, he said no one had contacted him regarding the ongoing issue so far, “neither have I received summons from the SC yet, but I will want the SC to call me and take my statement in this regard”. “I would like to inform the SC that I’ve expressed no reluctance or reservation against joining as the PIC CEO again,” he added. During proceedings on Monday, the AG, Punjab Heath Secretary Araf Nadeem, AIG Police Aslam Tareen, Young Doctor Association (YDA) President Hamid Butt and others were present before the apex court bench.
This has further raised questions about the veracity of facts presented by the government in the SC regarding the drug deaths and doctors’ strike.
YDA Spokesperson Dr Nasir further said the AG said in the court that Azhar himself left the post of the CEO and voluntarily refused to rejoin. He said the young doctors had requested the court to take Azhar’s statement on the matter if it is truth.