ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has summoned National Health Services (NHS) Secretary Aamir Ashraf Khawaja to appear on June 12 for proceeding against deputationist doctors despite its restraining order.
A doctor serving at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) filed a contempt of court petition in the IHC, stating despite restraining order of the court, Secretary Khawaja had started proceeding against him.
“They [doctors] are the frontline soldiers in the global effort to protect human lives [amid coronavirus pandemic]. The medical practitioners and health workers have been working selflessly and serving humanity beyond their call of duty,” IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah remarked on Thursday.
Expressed annoyance at the representative of the Ministry of National Health Services, Justice Minallah said: “The attitude of the [health] ministry is non-serious even during the current situation.”
The judge declared that the ministry was “compelling doctors to approach the court even at such a crucial time”. “You [ministry] are playing games both with the court as well as the public.”
Addressing the representative of PIMS, who sought permission to speak, Justice Minallah told him that “it was not your fault”.
In April this year, the judge was scheduled to announce an order on identical petitions filed by doctors working in the capital on deputation against their repatriation. However, according to him, he did not announce his verdict so that the doctors would not be disturbed.
Upon asking, the plaintiff informed the court that it was a section officer within the ministry who handled the administrative affairs.
The hearing comes a week after the federal government informed a National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) meeting that it was considering to bring in retired medics and final year medical students to bridge the gap between the demand and availability of doctors across the country.