ISLAMABAD - A contempt of court petition was filed yesterday before the Supreme Court of Pakistan for not implementing its verdict about handing over of the Jinnah Postgraduate Me 0 dical Centre (JPMC), National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) and National Institute of Child Health (NICH) in Karachi and Sheikh Zayed Postgraduate Medical Institute in Lahore to the federation.

Dr Ayesha Iftikhar and others filed the petitions and cited Prime Minister Imran Khan, Secretaries of Cabinet Division, Ministry of National Health and Service, Ministry of Law and Justice, Accountant General of Pakistan and Chief Secretary Sindh as respondents.

The petitioners adopted that the Supreme Court verdict dated 17-01-2019 is binding on all the concerned departments. However, there seems to be some misunderstanding about its implementation regarding the matter.

They stated that the federal government and its divisions are reluctant to act according to the apex court judgment, not surely due to lack of knowledge or importance, but due to unknown reasons.

They contended that the contemnors have committed violation of Supreme Court verdict dated 17-01-2019, therefore, contempt proceedings should be initiated against them. The apex court was prayed to issue directives to the federal government and the heads of JPMC, NICVD and NICH to act upon the delayed notification No.26-11/2019 dated 22-05-2019.

In January 2019, the Supreme Court had rejected the plea of the Sindh government and ordered the federal government to take control of the JPMC, NICVD, NICH and Sheikh Zayed Postgraduate Medical Institute in Lahore. Moreover, the court had stipulated a 90-day period for the transition, but the order has not been implemented.

However, the federal government has been considering handing over the hospitals to the provincial governments as it would then become the responsibility of the provinces to provide funding to them.

According to the petitioners, after the 18th Constitutional Amendment, hospitals were handed over to the provinces, but initially, the Sindh High Court and then the Supreme Court issued verdicts that the medical institutes should be handed over to the federal government. However, the federal cabinet on July 2, 2019 had refused to implement the order of the court within the stipulated time in violation of the Constitution.