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June 24, 2020

Court seeks report on steps taken to stop illegal sale of plasma

Lahore

June 24, 2020

LAHORE:The Lahore High Court on Tuesday directed Punjab Blood Transfusion Authority (PBTA) to furnish a comprehensive report on steps taken to stop illegal sale of plasma by the patient recovered from Coronavirus.

Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan was hearing a petition questioning government’s performance on plasma sale. Pursuant to court’s order, Secretary Health Nabeel Awan and officials of healthcare commission and PBTA appeared before the court. To a court’s query, secretary health admitted that PBTA was not fully functional. The CJ regretted that issues regarding blood transfusion were being reported on daily basis but government functionaries had turned a deaf ear, adding that all affairs could not be run while sitting in Lahore. The CJ said plasma was being sold for Rs 500,000 to 600,000 and the government was unable to stop it. Answering to a court query, secretary health said the best facilities were being provided to Covid-19 patients. The CJ regretted that the government had a system in place but no action had been taken against sellers of plasma. He said private hospitals were minting money from Coronavirus patients as Rs 6 to 7 million from patients. However, officials of healthcare commission said Rs up to 250,000 were being charged from patients admitted in ICUs while less money was being taken for common room patients. They said action had been taken against four private hospitals in Lahore and Rawalpindi. The CJ seemed unimpressed and remarked that he belonged to this soil and knew each and everything. He directed them to submit a report. Officials of PBTA told the court that 140 licences had been issued for blood transfusion in the province. To it, the CJ asked them whether they knew how many blood banks were being run in Tunsa. The official was unable to answer the CJ’s query. The court adjourned hearing till July 25 and asked the government to ensure that plasma was only donated. The petitioner lawyer, Arshad Virk, has pleaded that patients recovered from Coronavirus were openly selling their plasma in violation of strict laws. He said they had made mockery of law but government had not taken any action to stop illegal sale of plasma. There are apprehensions of international mafia’s involvement in this dirty game. The petitioner requested the court to issue a direction to the government to immediately stop the illegal sale of plasma and taken stringent action against the responsible.

BISP: The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has filed a writ petition in the Lahore High Court challenging the federal government's move to change the name of Benazir Income Support Programme. PPP Punjab President Qamaruz Zaman Kaira has approached the LHC stating that the PPP government had launched BISP in 2010 aimed at providing financial assistance to the poor and deserving segments of society. He said the BISP was initiated under a legal cover after the then parliament passed a law under the name of "Benazir Income Support Program Act 2010" and he was nominated its first chairman. He said the incumbent federal government has illegally changed BISP name to Ehsaas Programme. He pointed out that BISP name could not be changed without amending the BISP Act 2010. He said in the instant case the federal government has not presented any bill in the parliament to amend the relevant law.

The petitioner prayed to the court to set aside the government's move to change BISP name and bar it from making any illegal change in the law.

Ring Road design: A constitutional petition has been filed in the Lahore High Court (LHC) against the changes in the design of Ring Road Southern Loop- III (SL-III).

A citizen, Muhammad Ilyas Chaudhry, through his counsel Barrister Mian Bilal Ahmed stated that in the initial map of SL- III a straight road was suggested but later Ring Road Authority (RRA) altered the design to give some favour to its blue-eyed. He said prior approval was not sought from the relevant municipal council to amend the design. He said he and a number of factory owners are badly affected by the changes in design as his more than five Kanal land will go to the project. He said the land acquisition commissioner has issued notification regarding the acquisition of land without entertaining affectees' objections. He requested the court to declare the changes in design illegal and set aside the notification about the land acquisition. He also pleaded to the court to restrain RRA from acquiring land till the final disposal of the instant petition.