Peshawar High court orders status quo on Post Graduate Medical Institute dissolution

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Thursday directed the lawyer for PTI chairman Imran Khan to produce the footage of his client’s news conference in a contempt of court case.

In the news conference, the PTI chief had allegedly criticised staff members of public sector hospitals for moving the high court against a new health-related law introduced by the provincial government.

A bench consisting of Chief Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel and Justice Mohammad Younas Taheem observed that after going through the said footage, it would decide whether the statement of Mr. Imran Khan amounted to the contempt of the court or not.

On Nov 5, 2015, another bench of the high court had taken notice of the issue while hearing several writ petitions filed against enactment of the Medical Teaching Institutions Reforms Act, 2015, and had issued contempt of court notice to Mr Khan asking him to submit written explanation.

PTI chief allegedly flayed staff of govt hospitals for moving court against a new health law

Mian Muhibullah Kakakhel, lawyer for several petitioners, including Pakistan Medical Association, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, had pointed out that Mr. Imran Khan had hurled threats at the hospital staff members and petitioners, who were against the MTIRA and had threatened to ‘stage dharna (sit-in) against and gherao (besieging) of few unhappy doctors and management of the main teaching hospitals, who were in the way of its implementation of health reforms agenda.’

Barrister Waqar Ahmad, appearing for Mr. Imran, submitted his written explanation stating that his client had the highest respect for the courts and could not even think of committing its contempt.

In the statement, he added, Mr. Imran had stated that he was not aware that any petition was pending in the court against the MTIR Act.

He pointed out that health reforms were part of the manifesto of the provincial government and Mr. Imran had criticized those staffers who were creating hurdles in way of implementation of the reforms. He added that the high court had also declared the MTIR Act a valid piece of legislation.

The bench observed that it would examine Mr. Imran’s explanation but the lawyer should produce the footage of the said news conference.

CONTEMPT NOTICE ISSUED: The bench issued a contempt of court notice to the provincial health secretary in a petition filed against the secretary for de-notifying the post of the dean at the Post Graduate Medical Institute despite issuance of order by the court to maintain status quo on the PGMI dissolution.

It directed the secretary to file a written explanation on the matter, and fixed Mar 16 for the next hearing.

The petition, filed through PMA provincial president Dr Hussain Ahmad Haroon, states that the alleged contemnor/ secretary health, Yousaf Jamal, had issued a controversial notification in back dates so as to frustrate the earlier order issued by a division bench of the high court on Jan 28.

In a writ petition filed by the petitioner challenging the dissolution of PGMI by the provincial government, a bench of the high court had sought comments from the provincial chief secretary and health secretary and had fixed Feb 17 for next hearing. The bench had also directed that in the meantime status quo shall be maintained.

The petitioner in the contempt of court petition said the contemnor had fraudulently issued a notification and dated it as Jan 27, 2016. He claimed that the order signed by the secretary had in fact been signed on Feb 1 and had immediately been faxed to the PGMI instead of its communication through the routine official mail.

STAY ORDER EXTENDED: Also, the bench extended the stay order issued against dissolution of the PGMI and ordered the maintaining of status quo on the issue of de-notification of the post of PGMI’s Dean.

Mian Muhibullah Kakakhel, lawyer for the petitioner, contended that dean Dr Riaz Anwer was a senior cardiologist and despite the court order, his post was de-notified.

Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2016

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