ISLAMABAD - A day before the scheduled visit of Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar to public-sector hospitals in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan welcomed his efforts for doing so in the public interest.

Addressing a press conference here at the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa House, Imran Khan requested the chief justice to form a committee to independently assess healthcare reforms situation in all the four provinces.

Imran Khan requested the CJP to compare the KP government’s current performance in the health sector to the situation which was five years ago. He also requested the CJP to visit facilities in other sectors like education in KP. He added PTI never claimed it had transformed facilities at par with the Western world. “We have just tried to introduce reforms in the existing system,” he added.

The PTI chairman said the KP government had purchased equipment worth Rs 13 billion for its hospitals and every hospital would have equipment on completion of the provincial government’s tenure.

He said there was a need to change the management system in hospitals as they could not perform without this initiative. “The only CT scan machine of Lady Reading Hospital was out of order while 38 CT scan machines at private hospitals in Peshawar were functional,” he lamented while pointing out the bad conditions of KP’s health sector in the past.

He claimed the KP government was facing the challenge while dealing with those healthcare professionals who wanted to keep a status quo and were opposing the government’s initiative by hiding behind the stay orders they had obtained from different courts.

“I request the CJP to order an audit of last five years to assess health, education, and police reforms situation in all the four provinces,” he said, adding everyone was aware that developing a new health facility with efficient management was quite easier than reforming a decade-old rotten system.

“We never said PTI has made KP Paris, but I challenge the reforms introduced in the last five years in the health sector of KP were never done before,” he said, adding the KP government took benefit from the expertise of the health professionals who developed flawless management system in Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital.

The PTI chief said they had a successful example of SKMCH and PTI has been trying to replicate the same model in government hospitals.

Imran Khan named some senior doctors in Lady Reading Hospital, who were removed from their positions for poor performance, but they resisted it and obtained stay orders and now they are opposing the reforms. He also criticised the Young Doctors Association, KP, saying despite continuous negotiations they were hampering smooth functioning of hospitals.

“The KP government sacked the doctors, but they took refuge behind stay orders. We are happy that the CJP has intervened. Our team will brief him on the problems government has been facing,” he said.

He said during last five years the KP government had increased health budget from Rs 30 billion to Rs 80 billion and inducted 5,000 more doctors.

He said the PML-N government thinks people gave them mandate only for infrastructure development, if it is the case, then Malik Riaz should be made PM as he carries out quality construction with less budget.

He also said the KP government had worked on human resource development that was the only key to uplift. He admitted the PTI government could not set the direction of every department because this needed huge money. “The PTI government had four priority areas – education, health, police and judicial reforms – and we have done our work in these areas,” he said. He added the KP government’s total development budget was Rs 110 billion while only Lahore city’s development budget was more than Rs 300 billion. Even then Shehbaz Sharif falsely claims Lahore has been developed like Paris,” he said.

Imran Khan also said Dr Nausherwan Burki, who accompanied him, was the main brain behind the heath reforms of KP. Provincial Health Minister Shahram Khan Tarakai said the KP government had established 27 new hospitals in the province.

Last month, the CJP had visited two leading public-sector hospitals in Peshawar and Abbottabad and had expressed his dissatisfaction over the KP government’s performance in the health sector.