Not even two full months after assuming control of three major hospitals in Karachi, the federal government has decided it cannot manage and wants to return control to the Sindh government.
The Centre says it doesn’t have enough money to operate the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), the National Institute of Cardio Vascular Diseases (NICVD) and the National Institute of Child Health (NICH). It now wants to hand over control to the Sindh government again.
Control of the hospitals has been a bone of contention between Sindh and the Centre ever since the institutions were not devolved to the province under the 18th Amendment. The issue was even taken to court.
Control of the three hospitals was handed over to the federal government in May after the Supreme Court rejected on January 16 the Sindh government’s plea seeking control of JPMC. It ordered that the hospitals would be run by the federal government.
But a federal cabinet meeting on Saturday decided to hand over the hospitals to the provincial government “in principle” because of financial constraints. The attorney general and Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination will inform the court that the federal government doesn’t have enough money to run the hospitals.
In order to transfer control of the hospitals, the federal government will submit a review petition to the Supreme Court. The actual decision will be made by the court.
The decision to file the petition, however, was met with a smug reaction by the Sindh government. Information adviser Murtaza Wahab said he knew the federal government wasn’t capable of running the hospital.