KARACHI - A bill named after Amal Umer, a 10-year-old girl who was denied treatment at a private hospital after being shot, was introduced in the Sindh Assembly that would bind private hospitals to treat every injured person without legal formalities as ‘human life comes first’.

The Sindh Injured Persons Compulsory Medical Treatment (Amal Umer) Bill, 2019 was sent to select committee for going through the bill which would be once again brought to the assembly on Monday for consideration. After the enactment of bill, all private hospitals would be bound to treat every wounded person without medico-legal formalities and Sindh government will bear expenditure on treatment of injured people.

Discussing importance of the bill, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that no medical institution will be awarded a hospital status until it agrees to it. He said that hospitals would also have fully equipped ambulances so that the people who sustain injuries in any incident could be provided first aid on the way to the hospital.

He said that the person who shifts the injured to the hospital will not be harassed through this bill, as “unfortunately there has been this practice”. Recalling the Amal shooting incident, the chief minister said that she sustained a bullet injury at the hands of an untrained policeman who was resisting to a robbery on 13th August 2018. “Amal was shifted to a private hospital where doctors did not treat her and cited it as a police case. After the death, I visited Amal’s residence and promised her parents that her blood would not go waste,” Shah said.

The chief minister was of the view that policemen were not fully trained for using heavy weapons, which have been replaced with pistols now. Amal’s parents also witnessed the proceedings from the guests’ gallery.

The select committee consisted of Pakistan People’s Party’s Ganhwar Ali Khan, Sadia Javed, Heer Soho and Syeda Marvi Faseeh, Muhammad Qasim of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal’s Syed Abdur Rasheed and Javed Hanif of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan. It would bring the bill back to assembly for consideration on Monday.

WATER SHORTAGE

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Thursday said that 38 percent water shortage was anticipated in the province in Rabi season in the current fiscal year.

Replying to lawmakers’ queries in the Sindh Assembly, Murad, who also holds the irrigation portfolio, said that Sindh’s anticipated share was 9.291 million acre-feet (MAF) against allocation of 14.82 MAF by the Indus River System Authority (IRSA). “To manage the anticipated acute shortage of water, the irrigation department formulated a contingent plan by prioritising supply of water,” he added.

The chief minister said that supply of water to canals will be made rotationally. He said there is acute shortage of water in the province and Prime Minister Imran Khan would convene the Council of Common Interests (CCI) meeting soon where he would raise the issue.

To a query, Murad said RBOD-II project was scheduled to be completed by November 2019 as per revised PC-I, however the task can only be accomplished by provision of funds by the federal government as it was a PSDP Scheme. He said that 62 percent earth work has been completed.

The chief minister said that the provincial government planned to recharge Manchar with fresh water from escape channels of Rice Canal and Dadu Canal (Rawat escape from Rice Canal, Dhamrao escape from Rice Canal and Prechard escape from Dadu Canal). “Fresh water is being released in MNV drain through these channels which will ultimate be discharge into Manchar Lake and will mitigate the problem of pollution. Besides these additional sources, the traditional feeding Canal that is Aral Wah and Danister Wah are also functional but subject to adequate discharge in River Indus,” said Murad.

Responding another question, Murad said that the a project of construction of fall structures on Nara Canal and strengthening to NIP of Jamrao Canal Mile 17 to 49 will be completed during 2020 but it was subjected to release of funds from both the provincial and the federal governments. “The original cost of project was Rs1086.15 million that was fully funded by the federal government but in the revised PC-I it costs Rs2274.449 million with 75/25 share of the centre and province,” he added.

OPPOSITION PROTEST

Opposition parties, except the TLP and the MMA, protested and chanted slogans Go Zardari Go and Go Murad Go against the rejection of the privilege motion tabled by PTI’s Haleem Adil Sheikh. The PTI lawmaker said that the provincial manager of the Sindh AIDS Control Programme used abusive language against him after he raised the issue in the assembly.

PIA HEAD OFFICE

The house also unanimously adopted a joint resolution moved by Syeda Marvi Faseeh of the PPP and MQM-P’s Kanwar Naveed Jameel, asking the Sindh government to approach the federal government to refrain from shifting the PIA head office from Karachi to Islamabad. Another resolution tabled by MMA lawmaker Syed Abdur Rasheed was adopted unanimously in which the Sindh government was asked to announce a master plan for Lyari.