Resolving the stand-off: Following negotiations, doctors call off strike

Published: April 8, 2011

File photo of young doctors protesting in front of the Punjab Assembly. PHOTOS: EXPRESS/ABID NAWAZ

LAHORE: 

After 37 days of protest, the Young Doctors Association (YDA) Punjab called off its strike on Thursday, after several rounds of negotiation with senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) members.

Following directions from party leadership, senior PML-N lawmakers engaged with the doctors throughout Wednesday and, after tendering apology on behalf of the Punjab government, were able to convince the doctors to call off their strike, well-placed sources in the party told The Express Tribune.

The YDA had preliminarily announced on Thursday morning to call off their strike in hospital emergencies and, after a meeting of their representative delegation with Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Shahbaz Sharif at the CM secretariat, called off the strike completely.

The CM constituted a six-member committee to submit recommendations, within two weeks, regarding the raising of doctors’ salaries and the resolution of their other demands. The first meeting of the committee would be held on Friday.

Furthermore, all show-cause notices and termination letters served to various officials have also been withdrawn on the directions of the CM.

Sources within the PML-N said that party leader Mian Nawaz Sharif had given a 24-hour deadline to his brother and Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif and senior party leaders MNA Ahsan Iqbal and Senator Pervaiz Rashid to negotiate with the doctors and convince them to call off the strike. Meanwhile, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan had been appointed by Punjab CM to negotiate with YDA on his behalf.

Iqbal held two separate rounds of negotiations with YDA in Lahore. The first one, held at a private hotel, was unsuccessful, despite his tendering an apology on behalf of the Punjab government. The second meeting, held at the residence of, and with the support of a professor from Mayo Hospital Dr Arshad Cheema, was successful in making the doctors agree to call off their strike partially.

Simultaneously, Senator Rashid negotiated with YDA office-bearers in Rawalpindi.

Later, Sanaullah met with YDA Punjab delegation at Mian Aamir Mehmood’s residence and agreed to the withdrawal of show-cause notices and termination letters. He also arranged a meeting of YDA representatives with the CM.

Apologising on behalf of the Punjab government, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif constituted a six-member committee comprising senior adviser Sardar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Khosa, provincial law minister Rana Sanaullah Khan, Senator Pervaiz Rashid and three representatives of YDA. According to YDA President Hamid Butt, the doctors have assigned Dr Nasir Abbas of Children Hospital, Lahore, Dr Muhammad Haroon of Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Hospital, Rawalpindi and Dr Abobakar Gondal of Jinnah Hospital, Lahore to represent them.

According to Butt, the committee will discuss the salaries, pay protection and job structure of the doctors.Sources add that the CM has approved health entitlement for house officers and post-graduate resident doctors.

The results of the negotiations, if agreed upon by both parties, would be announced by the CM.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 8th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (37)

  • Tahseen
    Apr 7, 2011 - 1:57PM

    “Sharif has welcomed the young doctors’ willingness to restore emergency services. As a show of appreciation, he ordered the restoration of all suspended doctors.:

    Many human lives could have been saved if merciless doctors and defiant government had agreed this earlier.

    “Sharif said the doctors have proved their sincerity to humanity.” : Is this some kind of joke? Doctors definitely, proved their “sincerity” after killing spree, extended over 37 days. Who is responsible for deaths now????Recommend

  • ovais
    Apr 7, 2011 - 2:41PM

    @Tahseen:
    ofocurse govt is responsible for deaths. after strie by young doctors punjab govt kept saying that they have arrangd alternate doctors and all ememrgencies are fully functional so how can u blame doctors for deaths bc of their strike.Recommend

  • Naveed Javed
    Apr 7, 2011 - 3:03PM

    Thanks to ALLAH ALMIGHTY!Recommend

  • suhaib
    Apr 7, 2011 - 3:22PM

    Doctors should be given more pay than any other profession as now a days a peon is taking 35000 in judicial courts matric pass policeman who is taking 35000 + extra unfair earning.doctors pay must be more than judges and police and should me given all other facilities and it should be like in rest of the world where doctors are paid better than any other profession accrding to the circumstances.and if budget problems are there then pay of all others should be kept below doctors not more.which is also i dont think is possible.i was in usa ,there doctors are paid most.i was in dubai ,turkey,india,japan,china,malysia,west indies,latvia every where doctors are paid better than other professionals.i m nt a doctor but i know how much duties they have to do.and in current circumstances there pay as a medical officer is 28000 which should be at least 80000+ houses should be alloted plus electricity and other utilities should be provided free of cost to this cream of nation.people who r writing against this cream of nation are showing negative state of mind which is currently a problem in our society.Recommend

  • Wasim Ahmed
    Apr 7, 2011 - 3:24PM

    While the young doctor’s actions were not the best way of having their demands met, I guess they had no other way to convince the government. Unfortunately, our leaders spend a hugh amount of money on themselves and when it comes to improve the standard of living for their people they don’t have the money for it. Inflation is all time high and they want the doctors to live with Rs 18000 per month, while they themselves live and enjoy the most luxurious living. They try to exploit the doctors by giving them moral lessons about not serving the humanity etc, whereas they have forgotten their own moral responsibilities.

    Our leaders need to understand that they need to cut their own expenses and to give that money to the people who deserve it and are finding it difficult to have their ends meet, otherwise there will be many more educated people looking for strikes! Recommend

  • MAD
    Apr 7, 2011 - 3:25PM

    Still a bunch of quacks as far as im concerned.Recommend

  • Tahseen
    Apr 7, 2011 - 3:37PM

    @ovais:

    You mean doctors bear no moral responsibility. They do not have a professional code of ethics? Doctors are equally, and if their profession is considered more responsible alongwith punjab govt.

    Come on, doctors are not babies. They know, more than a coomon person, repurcussions of their actions.

    In any civilized society, Human life is valued more than anything. Life and death is in Hands of Allah. But doctors have forgotten this….

    Young doctors have tarnished a noble professions. After all this I do not feel any difference between doctors and other professions. Recommend

  • Choas A.D
    Apr 7, 2011 - 3:45PM

    If you live in Pakistan, you should know this by now, nothing in Pakistan gets resolved without blood or loss. It is hardwired into the Dna of this corrupt govt. Do not blame the Doctor’s community, they have the right to stand up for their rights as well, especially after the way the Sharif govt. Handled the healthcare crisis.. Telling the Doctors that they can easily be replaced for peanuts… And lathii charged like common criminals. It’s about time these sticks were turned against these illiterate, unqualified and corrupt ‘blood’ royals. Recommend

  • Z
    Apr 7, 2011 - 3:52PM

    Many people lost their lives & their beloved ones , where is humanity? they are as shameless as our politicians …Recommend

  • Haseeb
    Apr 7, 2011 - 4:14PM

    Thank God, the forced enslavement based on moral obligations will finally be over for the highest educated but least paid professionals of PakistanRecommend

  • irnab
    Apr 7, 2011 - 4:21PM

    Punjab govt. has handled the doctors in extremely shameless manner..and obviously if any thing has happened wrong during strike,govt. is responsible.Recommend

  • Mady
    Apr 7, 2011 - 4:59PM

    So finally the decision has been taken on the life of all those who died while our worthy doctors were protesting for their SALARY INCREASE.
    Why it tooked “39″ days for The Government of Pakistan to take any decision?
    Why doctors didn’t realized their responsibilities?
    Now who are going to be next Protestors?
    My plea is just simple. Why we are destroying our own nation at the benefit of our personal interests?Hospitals,emergency wards,infact all departments remained closed and patients were left all at their own to beg and die. Who is responsible? Either doctors or Government? No one is ready to take the blame. In my view,all of us are responsible,because we are one nation,we share the same land and deserve equality. Its my request to all the Pakistani’s to please envision the worth of every single person living & sharing this land. Lets be UNITED!Recommend

  • paindo
    Apr 7, 2011 - 5:34PM

    Thumb up for Tehseen and Z. Doctors callously used their nuisance value, Shame to punjab government deafness as well. One used the dead bodies as fuel, while the other was contended that they are ordinary ones.Recommend

  • suhaib malik
    Apr 7, 2011 - 5:52PM

    Historically, doctors have been treated as second class government servants who were not given the same pay and perks as the elite government servants in other departments. In 1976, the doctors finally received equivalence in pay but again were not given the same perks as other civil servants. These perks are worth more than four times the salary. By 1980, the wages of the junior doctors were not liveable and they started private practice after working hours, which according to rules was illegal. Just teachers (assistant and associate professors and professors) are allowed private practice but only at their residence. This rule has been openly flouted and teachers not only visit private clinics, some have even opened hospitals. Some junior doctors have drifted into the stock market and real estate. Today, with the huge inflation suffered by Pakistan over the past number of years, the present wages have become insufficient for survival. The buying power of the Rs 100 note of the early 1980s is now equal to Rs 1,000.Recommend

  • Wasim Ahmed
    Apr 7, 2011 - 6:43PM

    @suhaib:
    Thank you Suhaib. Agree with you totally.Recommend

  • Apr 7, 2011 - 6:46PM

    Being a pre-medical student student I stringly believe that there pay should be raised because the study at least 18y and after all this tough compettion they get only 18000/- It just disguistingRecommend

  • QB
    Apr 7, 2011 - 7:11PM

    Docs deserve respect and a decent salary. All those speaking of ethics and morality here … please don’t teach ethics to some one who can not even feed his family that too after going through the most rigorous education and working more hours than most of the other professions.

    I think doctors deserve better and its the government responsibility to meet the reasonable demands.

    Has any one on this forum worked an 80 hr/week job without any salary??? Only that person has the right to post comments against doctors here.Recommend

  • ovais
    Apr 7, 2011 - 7:57PM

    to all above,
    i repeat when govt. itself is saying that emergencies remained functional all the time of young doctors strike as govt had immediatly arranged the alternatives so how the deaths are doctors responsibility. i dont understand that.Recommend

  • Chilli
    Apr 7, 2011 - 10:40PM

    Blood suckers on both sides…Blackmailing have won…Recommend

  • paindo
    Apr 7, 2011 - 10:40PM

    QB,
    you said
    “Has any one on this forum worked an 80 hr/week job without any salary??? Only that person has the right to post comments against doctors here”

    I solemnly promise that I am working honestly and rigorously in a private organization since last August without salary. Though its 48hr/week. I am not a naive in my field, My experience in the profession is at least 10 years.Every month management promise to “oblige” but soon forget. I too have family to feed. Should I become a suicide bomber then?
    Anyway our respected doctors talked about exploitation in public medical hospitals, I am convinced that their demands are justified but I am not convinced the path the had adopted. what if their dispute with the government should not translated into deaths of innocents, the innocents who have nothing to do with doctors exploitation and Punjab government as well.
    regardRecommend

  • saleem ullah
    Apr 7, 2011 - 11:59PM

    @Tahseen:
    tell me any other way to get right
    and study history doctors all over world go to strike
    in isa doctors were on strike in 1960
    make budget in 18000 rs
    doctors are all also human beings
    they feel hunger, they need sleep, they ve families.
    can u ever think of 36hrs of continuous dutyRecommend

  • khalid naim
    Apr 8, 2011 - 1:03AM

    you will never get my vote again nawazRecommend

  • Tariq
    Apr 8, 2011 - 1:32AM

    @saleem ullah:
    add one another attibute: “doctors can kill people without any fear of God”Recommend

  • Tariq
    Apr 8, 2011 - 1:34AM

    @paindo:
    The people effected by doctors’ strike earn even less than doctors. Whose fault ik sthis. doctors have shown stubborness. No more human like behaviourRecommend

  • Imran
    Apr 8, 2011 - 1:35AM

    After a few days, doctors would feel like jackass, and would wonder why they trusted Shahbaz Sharif. This guy is hardcore politician and habitual liar.Recommend

  • Zulfiqar Haider
    Apr 8, 2011 - 2:26AM

    i believe that peace of mind is necessary to succeed in any profession. Doctors being an important part of our society also need the peace of mind, for delivering their best. I am not a doctor, but feel for them. Recommend

  • Modasar
    Apr 8, 2011 - 2:38AM

    finally these losers got what they wanted . oh god pakistan is so corrupt. Even japan can rise from stone age in a day but pakistani losers need 100 years to realize sun n moon re two different objects.Recommend

  • zulfiqar
    Apr 8, 2011 - 3:31AM

    i must say doctors should go for an ethical module….they are devoid of ethical values…after completing house job 30000/ is enough…i mean in this country i’ve seen many CA inter guys who have been working for 20-25000/month after completing 3 n half year article-ship at labor rate 7200/month …. so plz justify other professions too…so far i’ve seen the most embarrassing n literate community i-e doctors n lawyers… they have forgotten their norms n values for the sake of few bucks… Recommend

  • hamza from USA
    Apr 8, 2011 - 4:46AM

    Cut the crap.. doctors get enough pay already.. I am not willing to give any more taxes to first to educate these people with public money and then give them high salaries. . n dont talk about USA , MBBS here takes about 9 years, n doctors are much more professsional, not rattooo like in PAk.. Recommend

  • irfan
    Apr 8, 2011 - 8:41AM

    Doctors are really great people. I salute them!Recommend

  • anonymous
    Apr 8, 2011 - 7:20PM

    This nation does not deserve a doctor. We, as a nation, are capable of self-prescribing, adjusting dosages and course durations based on our own hearsay knowledge, practise medicine on our young children giving them antibiotics for their viral illnesses, and confidently advise our families and friends on medical issues (knowing that a qualified doctor is already involved in the case).

    Let all these doctors go abroad and serve nations which hold doctors in high esteem, acknowledge their services and appreciate that trained educated professionals cannot be replaced by those less qualified.

    15-20 years from now, when there are no doctors in the country, things will still be the same for Pakistan. People will continue to self-prescribe and show contempt against doctors who go abroad. Well at least Pakistan will get rid of the brutal butchers that the nation hates so much.

    Nothing will change untill we as a nation learn to respect eachotherRecommend

  • anonymous
    Apr 8, 2011 - 7:50PM

    This nation does not deserve a doctor. We, as a nation, are capable of self-prescribing, adjusting dosages and course durations based on our own hearsay knowledge, practise medicine on our young children giving them antibiotics for their viral illnesses, and confidently advise our families and friends on medical issues (knowing that a qualified doctor is already involved in the case).

    Let all these doctors go abroad and serve nations which hold doctors in high esteem, acknowledge their services and appreciate that trained educated professionals cannot be replaced by those less qualified.

    15-20 years from now, when there are no doctors in the country, things will still be the same for Pakistan. People will continue to self-prescribe and show contempt against doctors who go abroad. Well at least Pakistan will get rid of the brutal butchers that the nation hates so much.

    Nothing will change until we as a nation learn to respect one another.Recommend

  • anonymous
    Apr 8, 2011 - 8:07PM

    @zulfiqar:
    some house officers earn 18000/month. others do it for free as paid seats are limited. noone gets 30000/month. Doctors who stay in the government sector earn 22500/month upto 10 years after graduation i.e till they are around 35 years old. Recommend

  • MAD
    Apr 9, 2011 - 2:09AM

    Quack quack quackRecommend

  • kk
    Apr 9, 2011 - 5:35AM

    MD in US takes 4 years not 9.Recommend

  • Spider Man
    Apr 9, 2011 - 11:28AM

    Seeing people dying in pain in front you while you have the ability to treat them. Doctors attitude was highly cruel.Recommend

  • DR SAHAB
    Apr 10, 2011 - 2:53PM

    @ MAD
    Your title describes your mental condition.
    Please keep a note in your pocket sayin that “MUJHE KISI DOCTOR KE PAAS NAHI LE K JANA CHAHAY ME MAR HI NA JAON” so that the next time you are OUT OF BREATH or in any other serious medical condition you wont have to consult the QUACK you r complaining about….
    you need a psychologist man. Recommend

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