LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly on Thursday passed without any amendments the bill for alternate dispute resolution centers (ADRs) according to which cases which are under the hearing of civil and criminal courts can be shifted to ADRs with the consensus of both parties.
The session was started after a delay of two hours from its scheduled time of 3PM with Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi in the chair. As many as four ordinances The University of Mianwali Ordinance, The Punjab Public-Private Partnership Ordinance, The Punjab Medical Teaching Institutions (Reforms) Ordinance and The Punjab Probation and Parole Service Ordinance were presented before the House.
During the session, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Parliamentary Leader Syed Hassan Murtaza also raised the issue regarding the unavailability of cancer medicine and demanded the registration of a First Information Report (FIR) against Health Minister Dr Yasmeen Rashid upon which the speaker directed the provincial minister to investigate the matter.
Hassan Murtza said, “It is very unfortunate that the cancer patients are left with no option except to protest at Charing Cross due to non-availability of medicines and four patients have died due to the criminal negligence of the government. Imran Khan became the prime minister only by the rhetoric of establishing a cancer hospital but now his own government is not providing medicines to the cancer patients.”
He further said that the ministers of ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) used to claim in the past when they were in the opposition that if they cannot find the killer of anyone then the ruler of the country should be held responsible.
“Will the government launch an FIR now against Dr Yasmin Rashid,” he asked.
The health minister said that there was a five-year contract with the company in past in which 3,300 cancer patients were given medicines of over Rs6 billion. “The company stopped the supply of the medicines merely to put pressure as the government had ordered a third party audit of the company that has a monopoly in the country,” she said.
Dr Yasmin said that the health department has written a letter to the said company and it has now assured the government that the medicines will be supplied to the patients. Speaker Elahi asked the health minister to hold an inquiry to ascertain the deaths of four patients due to non-availability of medicine. “You must keep ample stock of medicine in hand at any cost for the patients,” the speaker said and directed the minister to take funds from the chief minister to get medicines in time.
PPP’s Hassan Murtaza also raised objections on the inquiry under the supervision of health minister as he said that how can a person hold inquiry against themselves.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Rana Mashhood said that the government had failed miserably in controlling dengue fever and providing medicines to cancer patients. “People are dying due to dengue and cancer but the government is doing nothing,” he said.
He once again demanded production orders for Leader of the Opposition Hamza Shehbaz as he said that the he must be allowed to come in the House for raising the issues of the masses.
The opposition demanded production orders for Hamza from speaker as MPAs chanted slogans “Speaker sahab qadam barhao…hum tumharay sath hein”. They were also carrying the large portraits and pictures of Hamza in the House. The speaker assured them that he will talk to the chief minister to resolve this matter.