SC seeks replies from provinces on patwari system

LAHOREThe Supreme Court on Sunday issued notices to all provincial governments in a suo motu case pertaining to the functioning of patwarkhanas in urban areas.A two-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, heard the matter at the Supreme Court’s Lahore registry.As proceedings commenced, Justice Nisar remarked that no serious efforts had been made for urbanisation. “According to which law is the patwar circle functioning [when the Punjab Land Revenue Authority had already been established],” inquired the chief justice.Justice Nisar asked the Lahore deputy commissioner about the role of the revenue department in urban areas. “Member revenue should tell us what Khata, Khatoni is,” said the chief justice.Advocate General of Punjab Ahmad Owais apprised the court that the issue was not only in Punjab, but other provinces as well.The chief justice said, “We will have to listen to the views of other provinces before delivering any judgement.”

Justice Nisar issued notices to all provinces, summoning their replies.

The Supreme Court had taken suo motu notice on record tampering and corruption at patwarkhanas. The next hearing of the case would be held in Islamabad.Taking up the land grabbing case, the court ordered the Lahore Development Authority, revenue department and district government to submit detailed reports regarding the overseas Pakistanis, public and private properties grabbed by the land mafia leader Mansha Bomb.Lahore deputy commissioner apprised the court that they had checked the record of Bomb’s property.“Mansha bomb had purchased 32kanal land in 1992, which he later sold,” said the deputy commissioner. “The LDA has yet to give possession of the land to the petitioner in the land grabbing case.”Later, the bench also took up a suo motu notice regarding liver transplant of children at the Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute (PKLI).PKLI chief Dr Jawad Sajid apprised the bench that liver transplant of children was not immediately possible.“If the facilities and staff are complete by May 2019 liver transplants of adults can be done, but no date can be given for liver transplant of children,” said Sajid.The chief justice replied, “Then we will have to take back our promise made to the nation that liver transplantation will be started by the end of the month.“We cannot put in danger the lives of children who are waiting for their liver transplants.“India will not give visas to our children and the people cannot afford going to China for treatment.“I am worried about the children waiting for liver transplants. God forbid if these children die due to lack of treatment.”The CJP said that 70 years had passed by but the doctors’ fraternity could not create such facilities, while India had established such facilities. “Why can’t we,” said the CJP.Pediatrician Dr Huma Arshad Cheema apprised the court that she had been trying for 20 years to provide facilities to the children, who required liver transplants.

She said she went to former PKLI head Dr Saeed Akhtar who scolded her.

On this, the CJP directed Dr Sajid to personally look into the matter of inducting Dr Huma into the governing board so that the nation could benefit from her expertise.Reprimanding Dr Akhtar, the CJP said, “I could not collect Rs10 billion for the dams fund despite all my efforts, but even after receiving Rs34 billion of the nation’s money, there is no facility for liver transplantation at PKLI. Four new hospitals could have been built with that money.”Nisar asked the advocate general of Punjab about the reason behind not filing a reference against such people. The AG replied that the new government would certainly consider it.The CJP asked Dr Amir about the nature of his work for receiving Rs1.2 million salary per month. Dr Amir replied that he looked after the administrative matters of the PKLI.

The CJP said that his additional salary would be taken back.

PKLI head Dr Sajid told the court that PKLI had state-of-the-art facilities, but lacked a team of experts. “We are not satisfied with obtaining the services of the experts in Pakistan while hiring them from abroad is also not possible at the moment,” said Dr Sajid. “The infrastructure essential for liver transplant of children is not complete.”The CJP said the PKLI had substandard infrastructure despite spending such a heavy amount. Even the project could not be completed, he added. “When we asked former PKLI chief Akhtar questions, a campaign was initiated against the SC on social media,” said the CJP, adding that overseas Pakistani Dr Khalid Sharif was ready to provide his services, but where would he operate in Pakistan.The health secretary told the court that changing the status of PKLI was being considered, but it would take at least two months, adding that the procedure for the selection of governing board members would also be changed.The CJP asked Dr Saeed Akhtar as to what he had said to get the idea of the hospital approved.Dr Akhtar confessed that he had cited example of the New York hospital from where Shehbaz Sharif was treated.The CJP said that the former chief minister had his treatment from there which was why he gave its example. “I know everything … who gave the idea and where the meetings were held. Why not have anti-corruption or NAB conduct investigation and put Dr Akhtar’s name on the ECL.”However, on the request of Dr Akhtar’s lawyer Hamid Khan, the CJP deferred the decision. The hearing will be held on Monday (today) in Islamabad.The SC also heard some cases of public interest and issued orders to different departments, while the CJP heard six cases in his chambers as well.

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