LAHORE – The Lahore High Court chief justice on Wednesday directed the government to submit a judicial tribunal report on the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) deaths due to spurious medicines.

Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial also ordered Additional Advocate General Abdul Rauf to place on record the bill of new Drug Regulatory Authority 2012 until December 18. The court issued the order on a petition seeking a transparent policy to purchase medicines for public hospitals and action against the people responsible for the deaths from spurious medicines.

The petitioner said many ambiguities had been emerged after the devolution of health ministry to provinces under the 18th Amendment and the PIC case had proved that there was no system of checking the medicines in the country. The drug testing laboratories were substandard while more than 50,000 licences had been issued for the production of medicines, the petitioner said, adding that quality medicines were not provided at public hospitals.

He said from drug inspectors to the chief executive of hospitals had joined hands and administering spurious medicines in the hospitals causing deaths. He said the provision of quality medicines was the constitutional responsibility of government, but there was no mechanism for the purpose.

He made a request for issuing directives to the government to ensure a transparent policy to purchase medicine so that no incident like in PIC that claimed 125 lives.

COP REPRIMANDED: The LHC reprimanded the Investigation Police of Gujrat for failure in recovering a citizen though several months had passed. The court questioned as to why the police were not discharging their duties after stern warning by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

“What do you want?”  Justice Mazhar Iqbal Sidhu issued the remarks while hearing a petition about the recovery of Saqib Hussain, a resident of the Gujrat. The petitioner said the police had failed to recover missing Saqib because they had joined hand with accused party. SP Investigation Gujrat Javed Iqbal told the court that the police was trying their best to recover missing Saqib.

The court dissatisfied on his statement and remarked what the police needed if it failed to improve their standards for layman despite directions of the chief minister. He added the inefficiency of the police wasting the important time of the judiciary. Acting merciless, the police killed a person within minutes but failed target had been given to them on any issue, the judge observed. He warned the police to recover the missing person till next date of hearing otherwise the court would not reluctant to issue order to Punjab governor, chief minister and chief secretary. The court will resume hearing on December 6.

DISMISSED: The LHC disposed of a petition challenging the increase in fuel prices. Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial observed the petitioner should first avail alternative remedy under Section 12(2) of Ogra Ordinance 2002 and rule 16 of natural gas tariff rules 2002, before invoking jurisdiction of the court.

The petition was filed by Muhammad Hanif Goraya, Consumer Rights Forum Pakistan general secretary. The petitioner contended the government repeatedly increasing petroleum products and gas prices increasing the problems of laymen. It was a pity that the government tended to up the prices when petroleum products rates were on the decline at international market. He requested the court to order the SNGPL and Ogra to reverse the prices, and set aside a notification of increasing slab rates of gas.

Ogra and SNGPL filed their replies and requested the high court to dismiss the petition on non-maintainable grounds. The respondents were of the contentions that before invoking the jurisdiction of the high court, the petitioner had an alternative remedy under Section 12(2) of Ogra Ordinance 2002 to agitate against the POL prices. About slab rates of Sui Gas, the petitioner had a remedy of filing review under rule 16 of natural gas tariff rules 2002, they submitted. The court reviewed the replies and record and disposed of the petition.