ISLAMABAD - Dr. Zafar Mirza, who resigned as Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health yesterday, in his 15-month tenure kept struggling to implement his health sector re­forms agenda, however, the issue of import of medicine from India has appeared to be the potential factor behind his resignation, The Nation learnt on Wednesday.

Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan had appointed Dr. Zafar Mirza as SAPM on Health on April 23, 2019 replacing his close aide Aamir Mehmood Kiyani after the later was accused of malpractices on the medicines price hike issue. Dr. Zaf­ar Mirza though had claimed to have reformed the health sector in the ju­risdiction of federal government, but he didn’t complete its tasks.

He also faced criticism due to his role regarding advance prepara­tions to cope with novel coronavi­urs (COVID-19) situation.

Along with the ministry’s perfor­mance under his leadership during COVID-19, the public health situa­tion in the federal capital, dissolu­tion of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC), export of Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs) to Chi­na, administrative reforms in feder­al capital hospitals, up-gradation of Universal Health Care (UHC) system in the city and import of medicines from India without approval of the federal cabinet remained significant challenges for him.

President Pakistan Drugs Law­yers Forum (PDLF) Noor Mehar on his performance viewed that Dr. Zafar Mirza had initially failed in bringing down the prices of medi­cines in 72 hours which was direct­ed by PM Imran Khan. He said that later on despite the federal cabinet had allowed import of only life sav­ing medicines from India, the minis­try and attached department Drugs Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) failed to control the import of other medicines from India.

Noor Mehar said that Dr. Zafar Mirza in his 15-month period as SAPM failed in establishing any herbal testing or medical device testing laboratory in the country.

“The SAPM even failed in ap­pointing a permanent head of DRAP,” he said.

Meanwhile, Young Doctors Asso­ciation (YDA) Islamabad chapter President Dr. Fazal-e-Rabbi claimed that Dr. Zafar Mirza’s policies dam­aged Pakistani doctors’ reputation worldwide. He said that dissolution of PMDC and establishing of Paki­stan Medical Commission (PMC) resulted in damaging the reputa­tion of Pakistani doctors abroad, while de-recognition of medical de­grees of hundreds of doctors in Sau­di Arabia and UAE was a harmful act on the part of the ministry.

Dr. Fazal-e-Rabbi also said that the ex-SAPM also failed in con­trolling the price hike of medicines and also in providing sufficient fa­cilities to doctors performing du­ties during COVID-19. Senior offi­cials at the health ministry also said that despite of high claims the min­istry had not done sufficient prepa­rations to cope with the COVID-19 situation in the country under the leadership of Dr. Zafar Mirza.

The Chief Justice of Pakistan Jus­tice Gulzar Ahmed had also taken suo moto notice on the situation of COVID-19 in the country and expressed his displeasure over the performance of the government.