Shortage of funds: PaK officers without LP medicines

Greater Kashmir

Muzaffarabad: Gazetted officers in Pakistan administered Kashmir and their dependants, entitled to receipt of free medicines from the health department in the event of any ailment, commonly referred to as local purchase (LP), are deprived of the facility for the past two months, thanks to the insufficient allocation by the government for the purpose.
 It was however being alleged that while the ordinary mortals in the official hierarchy were denied medicines – even if costing a paltry sum of Rs 1000 – after ever six months for want of funds, those with clout rarely faced any such problem.
 Citing an interesting case, sources told Greater Kashmir that a former member of the PaK’s superior judiciary, settled in Islamabad ever since his retirement, was getting medicines worth more than 35000 every month on the basis of a timeworn prescription by some “foreign physician.”
 Contrarily, in the case of an ordinary gazetted officer of BPS-17, demand of medicines on genuine prescriptions, costing less than one fourth of that amount, raises several eyebrows in the concerned authorities in the health department, sources conceded.
 Insiders admitted that around 60 percent of the funds meant for LP medicines were consumed by the influential class of government servants, including those from judiciary, police and district administration. Some are also in the habit of obtaining medicines on self written prescriptions, according to sources.
 Sources said financial allocation for medical treatment in Pakistan or abroad of government servants was in addition to the LP funds, but that too was consumed, by and large, by the senior government functionaries including the public office holders. Last year, the PaK president had taken hefty amount for his treatment abroad while recently a minister was provided Rs 3 million for his treatment in Pakistan, sources said.
 Unavailability of LP medicines also compelled the association of gazetted officers to call on the health secretary Maj-Gen Jahangir Anwar with a suggestion that the funds for the purpose should be made part of their salaries according to their pay scales.