Islamabad : Pakistan's Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry has accused the government of "apathetic procrastination" in promulgating an ordinance against the human organs trade, saying a "mafia" had made the country "a haven" for this trade.
He also lambasted the government for being quick in legislating when it came to protecting "vested interests" and on bills "pertaining to their own liking".
"These people are not doing their job while our job is not to encroach upon their area, but for god's sake they should do their work," the chief justice was quoted as saying Thursday in The News.
Chaudhry, with a record of observations and verdicts critical of the government, returned to his post last week when the apex court annulled his suspension by President Pervez Musharraf six months ago.
Chaudhry summoned the health secretary and cabinet division secretary on a 24-hour notice, seeking explanation as to why the ordinance had not been promulgated despite clear directives from the apex court.
He observed that illegal trade in human organs – particularly kidneys – was thriving unchecked in the country and said that it was against human rights as well as the fundamental rights of citizens.
He took suo motu notice of the practice about a year ago when Muhammad Asghar, a resident of Yazman village in Bahawalpur district, alleged that some people had forcibly removed the kidneys of his son Muhammad Amjad, but the district and sessions judge exonerated all the accused, including the doctor.
The Supreme Court had directed the government to legislate against the organ trade. On Feb 1 this year, the deputy attorney general informed the apex court that the government had prepared the draft 'Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissue Ordinance, 2007' and that it would be approved by a "competent authority". But the draft law has still not been approved.
The chief justice said the draft legislation should have been the first priority of the cabinet. To this the deputy secretary said the cabinet meeting's agenda was not available, Daily Times said.