LAHORE - A caretaker cabinet member Saturday disclosed the provincial government has allowed the air-conditioner facility to former premier Nawaz Sharif in Adiala Jail.

The decision in this regard was taken on the NAB doctor’s advice, he said, adding Caretaker Chief Minister Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi, Home Minister Shaukat Javed, Law Minister Syed Zia Haider Rizvi and other cabinet members had agreed, in principle, to allow the facility to the former PM on purely medical grounds.

He said approval of the other cabinet members was sought through a circular. After the cabinet’s formal nod, the government would issue a notification in this regard, he said.

He dispelled the impression that CM Askari was not providing level-playing field to all the political parties. “Our policy is to conduct free and fair elections,” he said.

He further said there would be a level-playing field for the candidates of all the parties. “We have invited foreign observers to gauge the caretaker government’s impartiality in the elections,” the minister stated.

Law Minister Syed Zia Haider Rizvi said CM Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi would visit Wazirabad Institute of Cardiology (WIC) within a day or so to inaugurate the full functioning of the hospital.

The hospital was established in Ch Parvez Elahi’s period in 2006. Later, no step was taken to make it fully functional.

The negligence on the part of the successive governments not only added workload to the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) but also increased the miseries of cardiac patients of that area.

The Wazirabad Institute of Cardiology functioned for some months, but later the successive government of Shehbaz Sharif not only blocked funds, but also stopped recruitment of heart specialists for it. Although the government had claimed that the hospital had been made functional, it was not done in the real sense.

In the original plan, the Wazirabad Institute of Cardiology was a 200-bed facility. Later, the number of beds was reduced to only 50. The same issue was also raised in the Lahore High Court and the then Chief Justice Mansoor Ali Shah had sought comments from the Punjab government on the matter.

Another cabinet member said that on the directions of the LHC, the caretaker government will hear the petrol pump owners who had established the facilities illegally. “The excise and taxation minister will hear the pump owners and decide their fate,” said the minister.

There was much pressure on the caretaker government after the Lahore High Court Lahore directed the cabinet to decide the case. “Since some influential people are owners of the petrol pumps, the political government could not cancel their licences,” he held.

The caretaker government, on the directions of CM Askari, will deal with the matter on merit, the minister concluded.