ISLAMABAD: The government should make one uniform policy said the chief justice during hearing of the suo motu case in the coronavirus.
A five-member apex bench, presided by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed, resumed the hearing of coronavirus suo motu case.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial said that they are giving the government a week to form a uniform policy. If they fail to make any policy, the court will give its interim verdict, he added.
He remarked that unity between the federal and provincial governments is the need of the hour. “You can’t run any government with ego and stubbornness.”
The judge suggested that it’s about time transport services are restarted as people are paying more than what airplane tickets cost just to travel from Islamabad to Karachi.
The Supreme Court (SC) again expressed complete dissatisfaction over the federal and provincial governments’ performance in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.
The chief justice also had serious reservation regarding the transparency process of spending billions to control the pandemic.
“Nothing is being told as to how departments are working. Everything seems to be just paperwork,” the CJP said.
“How can billions be spent on the purchase of masks and gloves? If there is an audit, things will become clear.” the CJP added.
The top judge added that it seems that the federal and provincial governments are conspiring against the people of the country.
The bench expressed dismay over the absence of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) officials during today’s hearing and the court also grilled the deputy commissioner of Islamabad over the lack of facilities in quarantine centres in the federal capital.
The attorney general, advocate generals of the provinces, officials of the Ministry of Health and other concerned departments also appeared in the court on behalf of the federal government.
“Ten thousand people are being tested daily for coronavirus,” the health secretary said. “One thousand out of them test positive.”
Irked by the blame game, the top judge expressed his displeasure and the current condition is “incomprehensible”.
“A provincial minister says he will file a case against the prime minister,” CJP Ahmed said. “Is the federal government’s policy only limited to 25 kilometres?”
In response to a query from the top judge regarding the Haji Camp quarantine centre, the health secretary said that it was not being used during his visit.
“A room would be partitioned to accommodate four people,” the health secretary said. “A 48-room girls’ hostel was designated as a quarantine centre by the Islamabad’s district administration.”
The court also remarked that the federal government should provide funds to the provincial government as they have asked for extra funds to combat the spread of the virus.
“There is nothing in the federal and the provincial governments’ reports. The performance of the institutions has not been mentioned. Same was the case with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) report.”
The health secretary maintained, “The nature of the virus varies in different countries of the world. The pandemic is more dangerous in America and Europe where thousands of fatalities are occurring.”
The chief justice reprimanded the health secretary and directed him to not compare Pakistan with America at all. We cannot turn a blind eye to the situation, Justice Gulzar Ahmed stressed.
Justice Sajjad Ali Shah said, “No province has come with a policy. Double standards are being observed as mosques have been opened while traders are complaining that they will be starved if the lockdown continues. The government is allowing those sectors to work from which it is scared.”
The court said the government needs to devise a national policy on the reopening of businesses and summoned a report on it.
It will be decided at the next hearing if the audit of coronavirus funds will be given to NAB or the FIA, the court remarked. The hearing has been adjourned for two weeks.