ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Monday rejected a perception that he was running someone’s election campaign and explained that it was his passion that took him to visit a hospital in Rawalpindi on Sunday.
“Yesterday an impression was created as if I am on someone’s election campaign,” the chief justice said while hearing a case relating to non-completion of a Rs1.3 billion hospital project as well as a postgraduate college in Rawalpindi on a petition moved by politician Sheikh Rashid Ahmed.
On Sunday, soon after hearing Mr Rashid’s petition, the chief justice paid a visit to the Women, Chest Diseases Centre Hospital Rawalpindi which is at an advanced stage of completion.
The CJP’s visit stirred quite a controversy when an impression was created that his visit would help Mr Rashid in his election campaign. Mr Rashid is contesting the election from NA-60 and NA-62 (Rawalpindi).
Justice Nisar says he visited Rawalpindi hospital for the sake of people and not to help someone
“I have nothing to do with Sheikh Rashid or have any political relationship with him,” the chief justice said during the hearing of the case he held inside the committee room instead of Courtroom No 1 due to some health reasons.
“We have gone there (hospital) for the sake of the people and not to help someone,” the chief justice said, adding that the Supreme Court had nothing to do with whether people voted in favour of Sheikh Rashid or not.
Mr Rashid told the court that a particular section of social media was running a vilification campaign against the chief justice.
After the hearing, he told the media that construction of the hospital remained suspended for the past 13 years, adding that some people were unhappy since the construction process had commenced.
During the hearing, Additional Attorney General Chaudhry Aamir Rehman informed the court that the mobilisation process had been completed and another 18 months would be required to complete the infrastructure. He said a committee would be constituted under the supervision of doctors to oversee the project.
The court suggested inclusion of one of its senior officers Khawaja Dawood as a member in the supervisory committee and directed that a monthly report on the completion process of the hospital be furnished before the court.
Mr Rehman said the earlier plan envisaged three operating theatres, but now the number had been increased to 14.
In his petition, Sheikh Rashid had requested the court to order the authorities concerned as well as the federal government to complete the two projects — the hospital and the government degree college for women — so that fundamental rights of thousands of citizens be safeguarded by providing basic health and educational facilities.
According to the petition, the project envisaged the 400-bed women hospital in Rawalpindi which was approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council at a cost of Rs1.3 billion on Aug 5, 2005 which should have been completed within two-and-a-half years.
The project was aimed at providing basic health facilities to the patients of Rawalpindi, Attock, Chakwal, Jhelum and surrounding areas.
Despite being one of the most populated cities of Pakistan, the petition argued, Rawalpindi had only three government hospitals with a total capacity of 1,450 beds.
Published in Dawn, July 3rd, 2018