PM clips Zafar Mirza’s financial powers
Prime Minister Imran Khan has ordered to clip the financial powers of his Special Assistant on Health Dr Zafar Mirza, reported a private TV channel on Tuesday, quoting its sources.
The development came after the prime minister took notice of the scandal regarding the import of medicines from India.
As per the TV channel, the prime minister has now directed the Ministry of National Health Services to reroute all its summaries to the PM Office.
It may be mentioned here that recent media reports suggested that Pakistan is importing over “450 medicines” from India, said a document of the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS).
The import continued despite the fact that the federal government, after India annexed Kashmir on Aug 5 last year, had suspended all kinds of trade with its eastern neighbour.
The report said that initially, the pharmaceutical industry had appealed to the government to relax the ban decision for clearance of those goods already imported from India that had reached the country’s airport/seaport. In the wake of the appeal, it was decided by the government to relax the rules and goods were cleared.
However, as a large number of medicines and its raw material used to be imported from India, the pharmaceutical industry started demanding that the ban should be lifted on Indian medicines and the raw material because otherwise within a few weeks, the country might face a severe shortage of medicines especially life-saving drugs.
The government succumbed to the pressure.
Later it emerged that all kinds of medicines are being imported in the name of life-saving drugs.
The document of the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS), presented before the federal cabinet on May 5 stated that the prime minister in his capacity as Minister In-charge for NHS has sought a list of drugs being imported from India.
The document, signed by MHS Secretary Dr Tanveer Ahmed Qureshi, showed that a number of vaccines, including BCG, Polio and Anti Tetanus Vaccine, have been imported. Moreover, a number of vitamins, including B1, B2, B6, B12, D3, Zinc Sulphate Monohydrate, are also being imported from India.
An official of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan, requesting not to be quoted, said that initially it was claimed that cancer patients would suffer if the import of medicines and their raw material from India were stopped. However, later on all kinds of medicines were imported from India.