LAHORE – The Punjab Assembly witnessed worst pandemonium on Tuesday with legislators from both sides of the political divide levelling allegations and counter allegations. The Opposition legislators took up the issue of deaths of dozens of heart patients after taking free medicine provided from Punjab Institute of Cardiology, causing uproar in the House during Question Hour on Health. The Opposition even went to the extent of demanding resignation from the Punjab Chief Minister and registration of a case against him for the casualties and complications among patients due to substandard drugs, leading to sloganeering in the House. While defending the Leader of the House, Treasury legislators levelled allegations against the PPP-led federal government and previous regime of the PML-Q.

The proceedings started after an hour and 55 minutes delay with Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal in the chair. At the start of Question Hour, PPP legislator Ashraf Sohna suggested the Chair to offer fateha for the victims of PIC medicine. After fateha, the opposition legislators Ashraf Sohna, Shaukat Basra, Samina Khawar Hayat and Seema Kamran drew the attention of the House towards absence of CM, saying that people were dying due to fake medicine but the chief executive who was also health minister was not bothering to tell the public representatives about the real picture.

PPP legislator Shaukat Basra said that the PA has elected him (Shahbaz Sharif) as CM and he was chief executive of Punjab and not that of Berlin or London. He said that the CM was not fulfilling his responsibilities of coming to the House and taking the legislators into confidence about the real situation. He said that the attitude of the CM has practically made the PA a rubber stamp.

PML-Q legislator Samina Khawar Hayat said that lack of interest on the part of Leader of the House has made the proceedings a joke. She said that incapability of the chief executive of the province resulted into loss of precious human lives. Demanding resignation from the CM, she said that an FIR should also be registered against him.

Rana Muhammad Iqbal said that the CM has taken notice of the issue of fake medicine and those responsible for the situation would not be spared.

Angered by criticism over the CM, PML-N legislator Rana Muhammad Arshad came out all guns blazing against the PPP and the PML-Q leadership. He said that employees were protesting on roads over the privatization of WAPDA. He said that energy crises have caused closure of industries and unemployment of thousands of workers. He said that the government departments were not paying electricity bills and all burden was put on hapless masses. He said that embezzlement of Rs 65 billion has been surfaced in the much hyped Benazir Income Support Programme and the national economy was on the verge of collapse. Referring to the PPP legislators, he said that these were criminals who had given guard of honour to Pervaiz Musharraf.

Coming hard on the PML-Q, he said that these have talked about electing Musharraf ten times in uniform. He said that these were responsible for killing of innocent students in Jamia Hafsa. He said that people having such record has no right to demand resignation from the CM. The remarks caused uproar at the PA floor and sloganeering against leadership of opponent parties.

Responding to a supplementary query, Parliamentary Secretary Health Dr Saeed Elahi has said that the government has established four medical colleges in Gujranwala, Sialkot, Multan and Dera Ghazi Khan to fulfil the requirements of fast growing population. He said that four more medical colleges would be established in the next year. He said that about 30 per cent of the girls leave medical profession after passing MBBS. He said that there was a proposal of getting an affidavit from female medical students regarding compulsory service in urban and rural areas for a specific period after getting the degree.

To another query, Saeed Elahi said that provision of costly equipment like CT Scan and MRI at every DHQ hospital was not possible. He, however, said that the government would ensure provision of such equipment at the district level. Accepting failure of public-private partnership experience in the past, he said that the government would reconsider it on the proposals of legislators. He said that Fatima Jinnah Medical College was established purely for girls and its status would be maintained in future. 

To a question regarding lack of staff at Faisalabad Institute of Cardiology, he said that a team of PIC experts visits FIC twice in a week. He said that the government has started procedure to fill vacant posts of doctors through Punjab Public Service Commission. To a query of Sh Allauddin that why the government issued NOC to 400 doctors during this month, he said that surplus doctors in different specialities were relieved to avail good opportunity abroad.