NA to take up bill separating PIMS from SZABMU on Monday

Hospital’s medics, paramedics, staff welcome govt much-delayed move

Zubair Qureshi

National Assembly of Pakistan is going to take up the bill aimed at administratively separating the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) from Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University (SZABMU) on Monday. This was told by Minister of State for CADD Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhy while talking to media persons here on Friday. Federal Cabinet during the last week had formally approved the bill.
Earlier, the matter was also discussed in the Standing Committee on Cabinet and the members of the committee unanimously supported the bill. It may be mentioned here that former Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had in principle agreed to separation of PIMS from medical university in November, last year. Now the bill has been prepared in the light of the recommendations of all the stakeholders including Law Ministry, CADD, Ministry of National Health Services, Finance Ministry and Establishment Division and draft is sent to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi who has already given a go ahead to the bill. According to Dr Fazal Chaudhry, after separation of the two institutes both the hospital and the university would continue to work according to their mandate.
It may be mentioned here that PIMS medical, paramedical and non-medical staff of the PIMS observed strike in October for separation of the hospital and the university. Because of the strike the work at premiere health facility of the capital had come to a standstill. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had to intervene to restore normalcy at the hospital. Out-Patient Department (OPD) remained closed for around a month and daily around 5,000 patients had to return unattended and untreated.
Chairman Joint Action Committee Sharif Khattak, Vice Chairman Manzar Abbas Naqvi, Media Coordinator Sardar Shakeel blame the government for that impasse between the administration and the employees. The government should have done it earlier to prevent the strike, said they.
It was first time that all the departments and staff including professors, doctors, nurses, paramedics and non-gazetted employees were unanimous in their demand. When legislation can be done in one day in case of former premiere Nawaz Sharif to become the president of the PML, why it took too much time when patients were suffering on daily basis they inquired. However, they still welcomed the initiative being taken by the government with regard to separation of hospital and the university. According to spokesperson for the Pims Employees Association Dr Asfandyar Khan the bill was first tabled in 2014 by MNA Major (R) Tahir Iqbal for the separation of the hospital from the university. During the PPP government, Parliament passed the Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University, Islamabad Bill 2013 amid criticism and protest by the then opposition, PML-N and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).

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