Top court judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa on Wednesday urged the government to get all the public sector as well as combined military hospitals operationalised to treat general public suffering from Covid-19.
Earlier on Saturday, Justice Qazi Faez Isa was admitted to a hospital on the advice of his doctors for treatment of Covid-19 infection. At the time of admission, Justice Isa was in good health with mild symptoms, such as cough.
Issuing a statement on Wednesday, Justice Isa said that Pakistan is in a situation that is “no less grave than a war” and a healthcare system where not everyone has access to hospitals would lead to more deaths and sufferings.
The Supreme Court judge expressed if all hospitals are not opened for public “class and social divides will further be exacerbated and people continue to suffer and die because of an unequal system”. He further said that the constitution guarantees the right to life as a “fundamental right, of which health is an integral part”.
While sharing his Covid-19 “ordeal” in the statement, Justice Isa said, “My wife and I were one of the initial lucky few (less than 2 percent) in the country who were fully vaccinated as both of us were above 60 — courtesy of the Chinese government. We took every precaution, including always wearing masks in public places, yet contracted the highly infectious Delta variant of the disease. Even with the vaccination, I still had to be hospitalised.”
The top judge thanked “very competent doctors and attendants at the Quaid-e-Azam International Hospital all of whom have been integral to the treatment”. He further said the treatment he received was not within the reach of majority of the country’s citizens.
“My wife and I are truly blessed for the prayers and support we have received, and bow in abject supplication to Almighty Allah,” he added.
Justice Isa criticised the lack of effective social distancing measures by the government. He said, “Internationally recognised and World Health Organisation mandated preventive social distancing measures are not being followed [in the country].”
“The nation’s health needs to be relegated to expert pulmonologists and other Covid-19 experts who should be brought on TV and radio to explain, warn and educate the nation,” the judge suggested.
He added: “Urdu, as well as all other spoken languages and dialects, should be used to communicate. Even the equivalent for the acronym ‘SOP’ [Standard Operating Procedures] has proved elusive. Could ‘Hidayet’ [instruction] or ‘Tibbi Hidayet’ [clinical instructions] not be a start?”
He further said that the government high-ups themselves were not serious about following the anti-virus protocols.
“Flouting of SOPs is not permissible. Yet it is done by those who should be leading by example… [they were] saying Eidul Azha prayers in the Faisal Mosque, Islamabad, by standing shoulder to shoulder, which sent out the wrong message that the government’s own SOPs are not important,” he said.
Justice Isa maintained that Islam also lay down “clear preventive measures during epidemics which have also been completely discarded”.
“Allah has showered His grace and mercy on us and it is now our duty to come together as a nation to collectively fight this epidemic,” he concluded.
The writer heads a leading news wire service ‘The Law Today Pakistan’ commonly known as TLTP. He has a special focus on news relating to superior courts adjudication, access to right of information, civil, political, social and economic rights under the approach that existing cyber regime realization ensures procedural fairness in administrative law. He can be reached at email@example.com