Slacking service: K-P government asked to replace or amend transfer policy

Peshawar: The Peshawar High Court on Thursday issued its first directions for the newly-elected government of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) – to replace the policy adopted in 2011 for the transfer, posting and deputation of health and education officials.

 

While hearing a suo motu notice taken over the current policy, a division bench comprising PHC Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan and Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth said if the policy could not be replaced for any reason, drastic changes should be made. It observed doctors and teachers posted in the districts they hail from did not perform duties as efficiently as those posted in other districts.

Additional Advocate General Obaid Razzaq told the bench the policy, which had been drafted upon the court’s orders, made it mandatory for doctors and officials of the education department to be deputed in their respective districts for the first three years of service.

The bench, however, maintained that since the guidelines provided by the court were not adopted in the policy, the desired objectives could not be achieved. It added ghost schools were being discovered and thousands of teachers remained absent from schools situated in their hometowns.

“Doctors refuse to serve in far flung areas which results in an additional burden on hospitals of the provincial capital,” said Justice Khan, adding courts would never interfere if the government formulated policies in the public’s larger interests.

The court then directed the newly-elected provincial government to either replace or amend the existing policy, adding that, if need be, a task force comprising experts should be set up to examine the policy. It later disposed of the case.

In a separate case, the court sought a reply from K-P chief secretary and secretary health after being informed health units had now become private health centres after being handed over to non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

The directions were issued by the court while hearing a petition filed by Dr Hussain, provincial head of Pakistan Medical Association. Hussain’s counsel, Mian Muhibullah Kakakhel, claimed a number of basic health units and rural health centers have been handed over to NGOs.

He argued it was the state’s responsibility to provide free medical facilities, adding privatisation was posing an additional problem for the poor masses. Kakakhel urged the bench to veto the decision taken by the provincial government.

The bench later directed K-P chief secretary and secretary health to submit their replies within 15 days.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2013.

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