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P L D 2007 LAHORE 346

MUHAMMAD AND AHMAD (CORPORATE AND TAX COUNSEL) THROUGH MUHAMMAD AZHAR

V/S

GOVERNMENT OF PAKISTAN THROUGH SECRETARY HOME AND 6 OTHERS

Constitution of Pakistan (1973), Arts. 199 & 9-

The learned Additional Advocate-General Punjab has also brought to my notice a recent legislation in the Province of Punjab namely, The Punjab Emergency Service Act, 2006.

The legislative and administrative measures taken recently by the Government i.e. the promulgation of the Disaster Management Ordinance, 2006, the Punjab Emergency Service Act, 2006, the establishment of Emergency Service (Rescue 1122), the establishment of Emergency Council manned by high functionaries of the Government, however, the value of “life” need to be realized with much more responsibility and duty. According to Article 9 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973 as explained by the Courts from time to time, the word “life” is very significant as it covers all facets of human existence and a person is entitled to protection of law from being exposed to such hazards as may be due to installations like Gird Stations, Power Stations, Gas Stations etc. Detailed discussion appears in Ms.Shehla Zia and others v. WAPDA (PLD 1994 SC 693). In Judicial Review of Public Actions by Justice (R) Fazal Karim, Volume 1 at page 587, there is a quotation from Osman v. U.K. (1998 5 BHRC 293) “that the first sentence of Art. 2(1) (Art. 2(1) of European Convention) enjoins the State not only to refrain from the intentional and unlawful taking of life, but also to take appropriate steps to safeguard the lives of those within its jurisdiction….It is common gro9und that the State’s obligation in this respect extends beyond its primary duty to secure the right to life by putting in place effective criminal law provisions to deter the commission of offences against the person backed up by law enforcement machinery for the prevention, suppression and sanctioning of breaches of such provision. It is thus accepted….that Art. 2 of the Convention may also imply in certain well-defined circumstances a positive obligation on the authorities to take preventive operational measures to protect an individual whose life is at risk from the criminal acts of another individual.” It shows the significance of life and duties and obligations of the State and its functionaries.

Providing adequate medical facilities for the people is an essential part of the obligations undertaken by the Government in a welfare State. The Government discharges this obligation by running hospital and health centers which provide medical care to the person seeking to avail those facilities. Article 21 imposes an obligation on the State to safeguard the right to life of every person. Preservation of human life is thus of paramount importance. The Government hospitals run by the State and the Medical Officers employed therein are duty bound to extend medical assistance for preserving human life.

Apart from the decisions taken in the meeting dated 16-12-2006 I would commend the Government to prescribe appropriate guidelines laying down ways, means and measures so that everyone charged with administration performs his duty and function, aptly :

“(i) It is a matter of common knowledge that even when there is extreme emergency very often, the emergency vehicles/Ambulances do not find way to reach the destination due to the heavy load and rush of traffic on the road. The Government needs to pay heed to this ever growing chaotic situation and traffic problem on the roads. The widening of roads, removal of encroachments and bottlenecks, construction of underpasses, strict observance of traffic rules and discipline may be of some help and relief in this regard.

(ii) During VVIP movement when traffic is stopped on certain roads and diverted to the others, it should be ensured that emergency service vehicles, fire brigade vehicles and ambulances are given way without any hindrance. Police force particularly traffic personnel should have clear instructions in this regard.

(iii) There is also a need to extend the fire brigade network/services keeping in view the expansion of the city/population. The authorities including the City Government and Town Administrations, the other Authorities like Development Authority while sanctioning new development schemes should ensure the provision of fire brigade sites and stations in such localities.

(iv) The relevant Departments of the Government should maintain record of stores/premises where explosive material is housed or sold. Observance of safety regulations and arrangements should be ensured by strict vigilance and supervision.

(v) Apart from use of crackers at the wedding parties/functions, firing has also become a common feature these days. Notice of which can be taken by the local police even. Their little vigilance and supervision can bring about positive results and loss of lives can be avoided.

(vi) It has come on record that construction of overhead bridge at Mughalpura Railway Crossing is under consideration with the Government of Punjab and feasibility was being prepared for this purpose. The implementation of such project can be expedited to alleviate the sufferance and problem of public.”

The petition is disposed of accordingly with the above observations.[p. 354, 356, 357,358 & 359] C,E,F,G,H, I.

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