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SC orders Sindh govt to implement ‘Amal Umer Act’, launch inquiry against NMC

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) has directed the Sindh government to commence implementation of Amal Umer Act besides ordering an inquiry against the National Medical Centre (NMC) over rejecting to provide medical treatment facilities to the unlucky girl fell victim of gunshots from police officials, ARY News reported.

The top court’s two-member bench headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed resumed the hearing of its suo motu notice taken over the death of a 10-year-old girl Amal Umer, who lost her life in an exchange of fire between police personnel and robbers in Karachi on August 13 last year.

Justice Gulzar Ahmed expressed severe outrage over the provincial government and Karachi police department over showing negligence in taking appropriate steps to void such incidents.

Read: New Sindh law binds hospitals to treat injured first, fulfill legalities later

Justice Ahmed questioned the Sindh’s Healthcare Commission’s (SHCC) chairman for briefing the progress of betterment in Karachi hospitals. He remarked that the relatives of the patients were usually sent to purchase medicines in emergency units which finally leads to the death of the patients. The judge said that it is the responsibility of hospitals to provide medicines to the people admitted there.

While questioning the police’s performance, Justice Ahmed remarked that many people had died by officials’ firing in Karachi. He said that the police officials are untrained which cannot even aim their actual target. He continued that weapons should be handed over only to senior officers but not to every official.

The judge also expressed his anger over the current lawlessness situation of the metropolis where street crimes and drug peddling are on the rise due to the failure of police administration.

“What is the status of police officials who had killed Amal?” questioned Ahmed.

Read: Amal Bill is not about police: Amal’s mother

The lawyer representing the girl’s parents told the top court that a case is under proceeding against the police officials. He apprised that the registration of the National Medical Centre was confirmed after the death of Amal Umer.

The SC judge turned towards the head of the Sindh healthcare commission, asking him whether the top official pays visits to the hospitals by himself or not. Justice Ahmed asked him for the reasons to delay the implementation of the Healthcare Commission Act for four years despite its promulgation in 2013.

“Why shouldn’t we register a case against healthcare commission over this negligence?”

To this, the government’s lawyer told SC that the registration process of the private hospitals is continued in Sindh, whereas, the next phase of issuing licences would be the next in line. The lawyer added that there is no licenced hospital existed in Sindh.

He continued that the provincial government approved an act, the Sindh Injured Persons Compulsory Medical Treatment (Amal Umer) Bill – 2019, which would restrict the private hospitals ‘to make provisions for medical aid and treatment of injured persons in an emergency.’

Read: Amal murder case: Probe team submits report in SC

Justice Munib Akhtar questioned, “What is the annual budget of [Sindh’s] healthcare commission?”

The chairman replied that Rs360 million has been allocated by the provincial government for SHCC.

Justice Akhtar remarked, “This will definitely be spent on salaries and rent of its offices. The provincial health department should provide appropriate resources to the commission.”

Justice Ahmed said, “There is a need to invest in human development in Sindh by spending resources in the education and health sectors.”

“Were Amal Umer’s parents given a relief package?”

The government’s lawyer replied that the parents had not sought any aid from the authorities. The recommendation was by the inquiry committee formed to investigate the case, he said.

Read: Amal’s parents should get reasonable compensation: CJP

Citing the arguments, the apex court directed SHCC to initiate inquiry against the NMC administration and submission of its report within 30 days. The court has also sought a reply from the Sindh government over non-provision of compensation cheque to the deceased girl’s parents.

The Supreme Court (SC) has directed the Sindh government to commence implementation of Amal Umer Act besides ordering the provincial healthcare commission to launch an inquiry against the administration of National Medical Centre (NMC) over failing to provide medical treatment to the unlucky girl fell victim of gunshots from police officials, ARY News reported.

Moreover, the top court also directed the provincial authorities to ensure implementation of Amal Umer Act and later adjourned the hearing for one month.

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It is pertinent to mention here that the Sindh government had approved the Amal Umer Act on January 28 this year which was later promulgated by Governor on March 11.

Amal Umer, the girl along with her parents was on way on August 13 last year, when she was hit by a bullet in her head while the robbers were looting a car next to them. Amal had rushed to the nearest hospital (National Medical Centre – NMC). The hospital gave oxygen to the injured girl by an Ambubag pumping manually. The doctor told them to shift her to another hospital.

The law had been introduced in the Sindh Assembly following the sorrowful incident of Amal Umer’s death when the NMC administration had neither provided them emergency medical aid nor ambulance and even refused to give the Ambubag to help the injured reaching another hospital. The family arranged another ambulance, however, Amal died on the way to the other hospital.

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