KARACHI   -   Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Thursday strongly condemned the taking over of three key institutions of Sindh by the federal government and termed it as an attack on provincial autonomy.

In a statement issued here, the PPP chief said that the people of Sindh have invested billions of rupees on revolutionary improvements in Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC), National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) and National Health of Child Health (NICH) after these hospitals were handed over to the province under the 18th amendment.

“Expansion of NICVD hospitals to several cities of the province has excelled the performance of Sindh government, which paid for expensive cardiac treatments of patients from all over Pakistan,” he added.

Bilawal said that taking over these main health institutions without waiting for the final verdict of the Supreme Court on a review petition filed by Sindh government has displayed the arrogance of the federal government.

“An admission by NAB Chairman that he is holding back inquiries of corruption against government ministers to stop its imminent fall and the PTI government’s contempt of court action have exposed the constitutional crisis that the country is currently facing,” the PPP chairman said.

He pointed out that PPP’s Sindh government was spending Rs12.5 billion on NICVD and Rs4 billion on JPMC annually to ensure quality free of cost treatments to patients from all over Pakistan. He said his party and the people of Sindh would not allow anyone to usurp the hard-earned assets of health facilities and categorically said that resistance will be mounted at every available forum.

He asked the federal government warning the notification of taking three health institutions from the provincial government.

Earlier, the federal ministry of National Health Service, Regulations and Coordination issued a notification to place JPMC, NICVD and NICH under the administrative control of the centre. The decision has been taken after the approval of the cabinet in pursuance of the Supreme Court’s order.

A high official of the federal health ministry said the centre had to take over the control of these health institutions within 90 days of the apex court’s directives. The SC deadline of three months was already completed this week and the law ministry was of the view that notification should be issued now.