SC summons reports from Punjab government over PIC related cases

The Supreme Court on Tuesday while seeking reports from the Punjab government and Federal Investigation Agency over Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) medicines related deaths till February 26, also allowed a Judicial Commission set up by the Lahore High Court to continue its inquiry.

A three member-Judge bench comprising Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali and Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on a human rights case, directed the Punjab government to submit an interim report indicating causes of deaths.

The bench also allowed that two owners of pharmaceutical companies out of three accused including Nadir Khan and Dr Tahir Khan could be released on bail after furnishing personal bonds to the satisfaction of judicial officers of Lahore High Court.

It also directed the FIA to submit its report over alleged arrest of PIC MS Jaffar Saleem. During course of proceedings, Advocate General Punjab Ashtar Ausaf assured that an interim report in the case would be submitted on February, 6.

To bench’s query, he replied that samples of the drugs had been dispatched to Switzerland, Belgium and England for tests and their results were awaited as there was no facility in Pakistan to ascertain the reaction of these drugs.

He said that so far, they could not make any headway as nothing concrete was surfaced in the investigation and an autopsy of the victims’ bodies would also be required to determine the actual cause of deaths.

To Justice Saqib Nisar’s query, he replied that the provincial government had contacted the Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court to constitute a tribunal to investigate the case which had now been functional.

He apprised that the ministry of health in Punjab was headed by provincial chief executive Mian Shahbaz Sharif. The bench observed that the provincial government had not taken any action regarding the issue.

Ausaf further said that another investigation team was also constituted with Zulfiqar Cheema, a police official, who was heading it and a case was registered under Section 322 (Katal e Khata).

Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani remarked that it would create hitch in the investigation and asked Azam Khan Director legal FIA to explain reasons for arresting accused persons in the case.

Attorney General for Pakistan Molvi Anwarul Haq apprised that after the 18th Amendment, the subject of health was devolved to provinces but under Article 270 (a) (6), the Drug Enforcement Act partially fell under the ambit of federation till the provinces legislate over the issue.

He said the cases were registered under section 23 and 27 of Drugs Act which permitted them to proceed over issues of drugs manufacturing, sale and purchase.