LAHORE - Influential accused in corruption cases continue to manage their hospitalisation to evade investigation with the connivance of investigators, jail officials, administrative doctors and consultants at public sector hospitals.

Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) and Services Hospital are usual venues for National Accountability Bureau (NAB) accused to rest, sometimes for months and even years.

In certain cases, the accused stay at a hospital for some days or a month and later move to the other health facility owing to other managed complications to delay investigation.

The glaring example is hospitalisation of a NAB accused at PIC during the last month for cardiac reasons, and later shifting to nearby Services Hospital on diagnosis of pneumonia where he is still under treatment.

The Services Hospital administration violated all rules and set procedures to accommodate Muhammad Riaz, owner of a sugar mill undergoing NAB investigation. The administration admitted the patient referred by PIC on August 6 and he is still under treatment at a private room in Medical Unit 2.

Insiders say the administration accommodated the influential patient merely on discharge slip of PIC and a hand written letter of Jail Superintendent carrying no number and date, a blatant violation of set procedure.

“As per procedure, report of medical board, court order and letter of Jail Superintendent on official letter head bearing number and date are necessary for admission. If discharged by one hospital, the same procedure is needed to be followed, but it did not happen in the case of Mr Riaz,” said a senior doctor who wanted not to be named.

“Mr Riaz was admitted to PIC for cardiac ailment. Doctors there diagnosed pneumonia and referred the patient to Services Hospital. Instead of following the set procedure, the administration accommodated the patient directly,” he added.

When contacted, Medical Superintendent Dr Salahuddin said that he was not aware about the exact number of under treatment NAB accused. “I can share details after checking from the relevant department during office timings,” he told The Nation. Later he did not respond to the repeated calls on his cell phone.

Presently, Mr Riaz is one of the two NAB accused under treatment at the Services Hospital. But there is long history of influential accused staying at Services Hospital for evading investigation or imprisonment. Double Shah and owner of Haris Steel Mill managed stay at Services Hospital for one and half year with the support of people in the power corridor.

Anti-polio campaign

The Punjab Health Department will hold Sub-National Immunization Day (SNID) as per plan from August 29-31 in 10 districts, reports APP.

EOC Coordinator Dr Munir Ahmed said that the SNID campaign, synchronised with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Afghanistan, would target districts deemed to be at greater risk of polio virus transmission.

He said Punjab had have four positive environmental samples this year, two in Faisalabad, one in Rawalpindi and one in Dera Ghazi Khan.

He said that "Within last six months, this is the second positive environmental sample in Faisalabad, the first one in February this year. The virus is genetically linked to polio virus circulation in Gadap Area of Karachi."

Dr Munir further said, "Compliance with National Emergency Action Plan would be ensured and provincial team would monitor the activities.

The parents in the areas must get their children vaccinated. In  case of any problems, parents may contact helpline 0800 99000 during campaign days."

Meanwhile, an anti-polio drive has been launched in Faisalabad's four districts from August 22 as part of case response to positive environmental sample has been lauched.

The campaign will be held in 451 union councils of Faisalabad division.