KARACHI - Adviser to Sindh Chief Minister on Information Murtaza Wahab on Saturday welcomed the federal government’s decision to hand over administrative control of three major provincial hospitals to the Sindh government and termed it a victory of people of the province.

He said it was not just victory of the stance of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari but also victory of people of Sindh and the poor patients who visit these hospitals from across the country.

Wahab once again advised the federal government to think before taking any decision. He said the Sindh government had invested billions of rupees in profound improvements at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) and National Institute of Child Heath (NICH) Karachi after these hospitals were handed over to the provincial government under 18th amendment. He said the Sindh government had mentioned earlier that the federal government didn’t have the capacity to run these hospitals.

Murtaza Wahab said that expansion of NICVD to several other cities of the province showed performance of the Sindh government, which paid for expensive cardiac treatment of patients from all over Pakistan. He said the Sindh government was running the affairs of these hospitals efficiently when the PTI-led federal government interfered in the affairs of these hospitals “just for cheap publicity”.

The adviser said time had proved that the arrogant attitude shown by the federal government while taking over these health facilities was not justified. He pointed out that the Sindh government was spending more than Rs16 billion on NICVD, JPMC and NICH annually to ensure free-of-cost treatment for patients from all over Pakistan.

Murtaza Wahab said the Sindh government had been providing state-of-the-art health facilities to people from every corner of the country without any charges. He said that tall claims of the federal government would finally hit the “selected PTI’s regime”. He felicitated people of Sindh for not allowing anyone to usurp the hard-earned assets of health facilities of the province. He said that resistance of the Sindh government at every available forum finally paid off and forced the federal government to withdraw the notification regarding the administrative control of the key health facilities of Sindh.

The adviser said that the decision was taken in haste and it increased difficulties of people of Sindh as well as other provinces. He said that after devolution of power the Sindh government had spent billions of rupees to upgrade these hospitals, transforming them into state-of-the-art welfare health facilities where people from entire Sindh as well as other provinces of the country were visiting to seek healthcare services.

Murtaza Wahab pointed out that even Justice Maqbool Baqar, who was on the bench that was hearing the hospitals case, wrote a dissenting note. The judge wrote that throughout the country’s legislative history public health remained exclusively with the provinces, the adviser added. He said that this interpretation has specially been strengthened after the passage of the 18th Amendment. He said that the principle of devolution needed to be given respect in letter and spirit.

Murtaza Wahab said that people wanted “the selected government of PTI” to relinquish the charge of the federal government as it relinquished the control of three key health facilities of Sindh.