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CJ rejects Sindh Govt report on deaths of kids in Thar

Naimat Khan

KARACHI: Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Saturday rejected the Sindh Government report regarding the deaths of children on Tharpakar area of the province.

On the outset of proceedings Secretary Health presented a report which stated that most of the deaths have occurred due to low weight, fever and diarrhea. The report further informed that marriages in early ages and giving birth to more children were also of the causes. Doctors also don’t want to g Mithi, the report stated.

Chief Justice while rejecting the report and said the low weight was never the reason.

“We don’t want to take over, we don’t want to intervene but we are compelled to take notice due to inefficiency of the authorities,” justice Nisar said.

A three-member Supreme Court bench, head by the chief justice and  comprising Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah was hearing a suo motu case regarding the death of children in Thar, who died from malnutrition and measles.

Chief justice said that secretary Fazlullah Pechuho was ridding himself of all responsibility by saying that children die because they are underweight.

“The report makes it look like you don’t have any responsibility at all,” Justice Nisar said, suggesting that Pechuho “offer his services to another department”.

Sindh health secretary then told the court that 50 per cent of the deaths occurred due to pneumonia and diarrhea. He also admitted that doctors did not want to work in the region.

Addressing Senator Raza Rabbani, who appeared before the court today, the chief justice said that the judiciary did not want to interfere in executive matters but is “compelled” to do so due to the poor state of affairs.

Referring to a video clip that showed the poor state of a hospital in Larkana, the ruling PPP’s stronghold, the CJP said that he felt “ashamed” and wanted to visit the city to oversee the state of affairs there. He then suggested Senator Rabbani watch that video as well.

The CJP expressed concern over the “numerous health problems in Sindh” and said that hospitals hand over the bodies of children to parents who are left with nothing but grief.

Sindh Advocate General Barrister Zameer Hussain Ghumro’s claim that the government had built an “excellent hospital” in Mithi and distributed free wheat in Thar was dismissed by Justice Shah who said that the wheat was “lost in corruption”.

After a recess, the court rejected the report submitted by Pechuho and ordered the government to form a committee comprising “neutral doctors” working in Aga Khan Hospital or other hospitals of similar stature.

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