ISLAMABAD - Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar expressed the desire on Friday that he wanted to dispose of all suo moto cases prior to retirement so that no one could criticise him on his ‘public interest initiatives’.

While hearing a case pertaining to the hike in prices of medicine, the chief justice observed that he wishes to adjudicate all those cases, which he had taken up under the suo moto jurisdiction to avoid slogans against him.

He made the observation after a counsel for Pharma Bureau — a representative body of multinational pharmaceuticals in Pakistan — asked for the early fixture of the next hearing date. The chief justice responded to the counsel that he was in a hurry more than him to dispose of the pending cases.

During the hearing, Additional Attorney General (AAG) Sajid Ilyas Bhatti along with the health secretary submitted an interim report in compliance with the court’s earlier order.

On February 28, the apex court had approved the roadmap to decide six types of pending hardship cases and anomalies, four matters relating to the interpretation of Drug Pricing Policy 2015 and amendment in Drug Pricing Policy 2015. The court had ordered to file a comprehensive report within 75 days.

According to the report, at least 800 cases of anomalies, hardship and prices were decided in March while other 1036 cases of similar nature will be decided in April.

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During the hearing, the chief justice observed that the court will not allow anyone to approach any other forum and this court will decide the cases relating public importance once.

A citizen, Javed Lakhani, informed the bench that pharmaceutical companies pay Rs25 billion on different taxes which pave the way for costly medicines.

He requested the bench to direct the government to abolish the taxes on medicines.

When the chief justice asked him whether the pharmaceutical industry should be declared tax-free, to which the citizen replied in affirmative.

The chief justice said that levying of tax or doing away with it was the prerogative of parliament and such matters did not fall under courts’ jurisdiction. He said a court has to decide the matters within the legislated laws.

“If you are running a campaign in this regard, then you should approach members of the parliament,” the chief justice told the citizen.

Making it clear that no further adjournment would be granted, the chief justice directed for submitting a complete report in the first week of May. The chief justice said that the matter will be decided on May 15.