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Amal Bill calling for treatment first, formalities later in injury cases presented in Sindh Assembly

By M. Waqar Bhatti
January 25, 2019

A bill named after Amal Umer, a girl who died after she was wounded during a police encounter in August last year, was presented in the Sindh Assembly on Thursday, calling for compulsory treatment of the injured.

Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said the objective of the Sindh Injured Persons Compulsory Medical Treatment (Amal Umer) Bill 2019 is to ensure immediate treatment of the people who are wounded in terrorism or other incidents, or who are unintentionally injured like Amal.

Referring to Amal, who had suffered a bullet to the head and was denied treatment at the nearest hospital, and a recent incident in which a couple were wounded during a police encounter, Shah said that some hospitals deny immediate treatment to people with critical injuries due to legal issues and it results in many deaths.

Speaking about the bill’s importance in the presence of Amal’s parents, who were seated in the visitors’ gallery, the CM said the government will bear the medical expenses of the injured. He said that this law will bind all public and private hospitals to provide treatment to the injured without seeking any medico-legal report from government officials.

He also announced that patrolling police officials will be equipped with small firearms instead of sub-machine guns so they can handle the weapons better and prevent causing accidental injuries to the people.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla said the bill should be given to a select committee, following which the proposed law was handed over to a seven-member body comprising treasury and opposition MPAs, who will present their report to the House on Monday.

Bill’s salient features

The Amal Bill calls for immediate treatment of the injured before getting into the medico-legal formalities. The proposed law also bars hospitals from demanding a fee for providing immediate treatment to the patients.

The bill demands that all major hospitals be equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and machinery as well as at least two ambulances. It also exempts doctors from requiring permission from the families of the injured before starting their treatment. The proposed law limits police authority in dealing with the injured, barring them from interfering in the treatment of the injured through interrogation or by any other means.

PIA headquarters

In the absence of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) MPAs, the legislature passed a resolution with majority votes against the shifting of the Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) headquarters from Karachi to Islamabad.

The motion was put forward by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MPA Nida Khuhro. Speaking in its favour, Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani said the plan to shift the PIA headquarters was aimed at depriving Sindh’s people from their livelihoods. He vowed that the PPP’s provincial administration will not let it happen at any cost.

Kanwar Naveed Jamil said conspiracies are being hatched against Karachi, adding that the city is being deprived of its due share and importance. He said the head offices of all the major banks have already been shifted out of Karachi. He demanded that the federal government refrain from shifting the PIA head office as well.

Lyari’s master plan

The PA adopted a resolution presented by Jamaat-e-Islami MPA Abdur Rasheed, who said that despite being one of Karachi’s oldest areas, Lyari has been ignored by the successive government, claiming that this important town has been without a master plan since Pakistan’s creation.

He demanded that a master plan be devised for the development of Lyari, saying that despite having a population of 20 million, the number of Lyari’s inhabitants was shown as merely 0.65 million in the last census. The House adopted the resolution.

PTI, MQM-P walkout

The opposition MPAs from the PTI and the MQM-P shouted slogans against the government, tore up the copies of the PA sitting’s agenda and walked out of the House after Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani rejected a privilege motion by PTI’s parliamentary party leader Haleem Adil Shaikh.