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Sunday December 05, 2021

Govt doctors cannot conduct sponsored visits, KP Assembly told

October 26, 2021

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly was told on Monday that as per government policy, doctors of the state-run hospitals cannot conduct foreign visits sponsored by pharmaceutical companies.

Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Information and Higher Education Kamran Bangash, while replying to a question by Shagufta Malik about the doctors’ foreign visits sponsored by private medicines companies, said the government had a clear policy, which did not allow government hospitals’ doctors to avail such sponsored visits.

However, he said there were no restrictions on doctors’ private visits as every government officer can avail a certain number of vacations. He said the Health Department had in its reply clarified that no doctor from Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC), Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH) and Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar (LRH) availed visits sponsored by medicine companies.

Shagufta Malik of the Awami National Party said medicines companies were arranging VVIP foreign visits for certain doctors and after return, the doctors were given a target of prescribing medicines. She said there were doctors, who availed the visits on monthly basis, and this practice had badly affected the poor patients.

The government is either uninformed of the situation or it has a dual policy, she said, insisting that the question should be referred to the committee concerned. Kamran Bangash said the answer was clear that no doctor from the public sector hospital mentioned in the question had availed any such visit but he would have no objection if the mover insisted on referring the matter to the committee.

Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani referred the question to the committee concerned for discussion. The House admitted for discussion the call attention notice by Ikhtiar Wali Khan of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) regarding the protection of coalminers.

In his notice, the mover said that a large number of poor people from Shangla and other districts in the Malakand division were working in mines, particularly coalmines without any safety checks.

The miners are exploited by influential mine owners and are often unpaid, he added. He said the miners should be registered with the Employees Old-Age Benefits Institute (EOBI) so that they could avail pension facility at the old age and the families of those losing life in an incident could be provided compensation from Workers Welfare Board (WWB) funds.

The legislator said the WWB had huge funds amounting to billions of rupees and mine workers should be provided relief from this fund in case of getting injured and death compensation to the victim families. The government should enact laws for the protection and security of mines workers, he added.

Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Mines and Mineral Development Arif Ahmadzai said inspectors were authorised to visit the mines in their respective districts and notices were issued to owners for violating the safety policy. He said the majority of the labourers changed the place of work as they did not work at one mine. However, he informed the House that the government was working on a policy to register the miners and streamline their affairs, particularly in the merged districts.

Minister for Labour and Culture Shaukat Yousafzai said laws were being framed to ensure protection and safety of the miners and register them with the EOBI and WWB. The privilege motion of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)’s Sahibzada Sanaullah about the behaviour of the station house officer (SHO) Jagam in Upper Dir district was referred to the committee concerned.

He recalled that he called the SHO but despite his repeated calls the police officer did not listen to him, saying he was busy. He said this had breached his privilege and that of this august House. The matter was referred to the committee concerned as the treasury did not oppose it.

The House unanimously adopted a resolution paying tributes to nuclear scientist and Mohsin-e-Pakistan, Dr Abdul Qadeer. It asked the provincial government to recommend to the federal government to observe his death anniversary officially.

The adjournment motion of Rehana Ismail of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUIF) about the rising number of dengue fever cases in the province was admitted for discussion. She believed the government was not doing enough to control the spread of the mosquito-borne disease

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Partnership (amendment) Bill, 2021 was adopted unanimously while the KP Mines and Minerals (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and the KP Public Property (Removal of Encroachment) (amendment) Bill, 2021 were introduced in the House before the sitting was adjourned to meet today (Tuesday) at 2 pm.