KARACHI - Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the health is a provincial subject and government will file review petition against the apex court verdict of giving ownership of three main health institutions to the Centre.

Speaking on a bill – The Sindh Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases Bill, 2018 – which was sent back by the Governor for reconsideration in Sindh Assembly, Murad said that some people were against the 18th Constitutional amendment and wanted to sabotage these health institutions. “Those who want to repeal the 18th amendment should understand that we would not let it happened,” he added.

The chief minister was of the view that nobody can stop the assembly from legislating on health, reiterating that health’s lies with the provinces. He said he had talked to legal experts and the Advocate General Sindh and they were very ‘confident’ that the administrative control of the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre and the National Institute of Child Health would be given back to the provincial government once they file review petition in the apex court.

Responding to leader of opposition Firdaus Shamim Naqvi’s offer to work together for provision of health facilities, Murad added he came to know that the federal health secretary had told that the centre cannot burn the expenses of these institutions. Everything was being done to deteriorate the health organizations, which flourished during the Pakistan Peoples Party tenure, he claimed. Speaking on the bill, Minister for Health Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho said that the federal governments in the past used to allocate only Rs 700 to 800 million on NICVD but its budget has been increased by Rs 14 billion ever since the provincial government took charge of it. She said the provincial government was mandated for service delivery and they would not compromise on their right. Later, the bill was passed amid opposition by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

Separately, the PPP managed to pass The Code of Civil Procedure (Sindh Amendment) Bill, 2018—another bill sent back by the governor—owing to its numerical strength in the assembly. The Sindh Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was also introduced and sent to select committee for further deliberation.

Discussion on anti-encroachment drive

During the sitting, moved by the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal an adjournment regarding anti-encroachment drive in Karachi was also admitted and two-hour discussion has been fixed for Monday. “Karachi city has been pushed into devastation by misuse of court’s order,” the motion reads.

Abusive language

The proceedings of the house turned ugly when the lawmakers belonging to the opposition and the Pakistan Peoples Party once again indulged in heated arguments. The situation became even worst when the opposition accused one of the treasury members of abusing a lawmaker; however it was refuted by the ministers.

Later, the speaker adjourned the house till Monday, the 4th February 2019 at 2pm.