Rising political pemperature

The Election Bill 2017 has been rejected by the opposition. It was bulldozed through National Assembly despite protest from opposition lawmakers. Among the bill clauses is a controversial amendment that will allow politicians disqualified from holding public office to head a political party. The bill was passed amidst a ruckus as opposition lawmakers protested what they saw a law designed to accommodate a single individual, the ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The enraged opposition tore the copies of the bill and threw them to the Speaker’s dais as he announced its passage.

The leadership of Pakistan Tehrik Insaf (PTI) and Sheikh Rashid Ahmad of Awami Muslim League have decided to challenge Election Bill 2017 in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Speaking to media hours before the passage of this bill PTI chairman Imran Khan made his intention clear for approaching the Apex Court in this regard. The PTI chief also said that he has already planned protest rallies against this legislation. Criticizing the ruling PML (N) on several fronts, he reiterated his call for fresh election. The former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif did not whole heartedly accept the Supreme Court verdict disqualifying him from holding public office. He has made his ouster from power under the Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution a matter of self-esteem and misplaced vanity. He spearheaded a tirade and vilification campaign against the judiciary which is highly deplorable. His speeches in the GT road rally from Islamabad to Lahore revealed the disrespect for an important State Institution. The show of power by the federal ministers by bringing party workers and PML (N) supporters to the premises of National Accountability Court of Islamabad on the eve disqualified former Prime Minister hearing does not augur well for the democracy and rule of law in the country.

The politics of blatant defiance against the state institutions, disregard for rule of law and protest rallies will push up the political temperature beyond control. If past experience is any guide, the PML (N) government in the Centre and Punjab will resort to massive use of force against PTI rallies. The tremendous use of force in the form of teargasing and firing on protest rally led by KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak on Motor Way M-1 last year amply demonstrate the ruthless mood of PML (N) leadership. This tremendous use of force on the rally of KP CM was monitored personally by the then Punjab IGP and now federal tax ombudsman Mushtaq Sukhera. Deploring this  incident, senior PPP leader Senator Itezaz Ahsan described the use of force against the sitting Chief Minister of a small province a deep cut on the roots of federation.

The headlong collision against the state’s institutions by the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is still under trial in graft cases, with the active support of Federal and Punjab governments will create disorder and chaos in the country and harm the moving forward democratic system. The PML (N) leadership must observe the established norms of democracy and emulate the examples of political leaderships of the countries where real democracy is functioning. One man say is the order of day attitude well not bode well for the future of democracy in Pakistan.


Threat of

diphtheria in Fata

KP Health Department has cautioned the Director Health services FATA against the emerging threat of the fatal disease of Diphtheria and suggested him preventive measure well in advance. The Director Health Services FATA has been informed that Provincial Health Department does not have sufficient stock of Diphtheria antitoxin vaccine and if proper preventive measure were not taken then control of this disease will be extremely difficult. According to KP Extended Program on Immunization (EPI), Diphtheria took an endemic form in children of the North and South Waziristan Agencies of FATA last year. Later the disease spread to the adjoining settled district of Bannu. The North and South Waziristan Agencies were largely affected by this disease. The report indicates fresh cases of Diphtheria in these areas and urges Director Health Service FATA to make proper arrangements for its control so that the disease may not once again take the unmanageable form and cast a spillover effect on the people of settled districts adjacent to FATA agencies.

Diphtheria is communicative fatal disease of children and the isolation of patients is mandatory, but the isolation wards in the Agency Headquarter Hospital do not exist. Same is the case with the hospitals in the settled areas. Diphtheria antitoxin vaccine can be purchased from National Health Laboratories in Islamabad, but transportation and preservation of available stock need special arrangements to maintain the efficacy of the vaccine. The Diphtheria antitoxin vaccine has to be put in optimal temperature for which specially designed refrigerators are required. It may be recalled that some 50 years back World Health Organization (WHO) provided these specially designed refrigerators for FATA hospitals. To overcome the problem of non-availability of electric power the WHO refrigerators were operated by Kerosene Oil combustion. Now electricity run refrigerators to ensure the optimum set of conditions can be purchased for keeping the vaccine. KP Governor Iqbal Zafar Jaghra should take notice of Diphtheria cases reported from the FATA by print media and issue strong directives to ACS of his secretariat to immediately release sufficient funds to the Director Health Services for the purchase and safe supply of this vaccine to Agency Headquarter Hospitals.

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