KARACHI: Dr Aftab Qureshi’s killing during a police encounter on Wednesday raised security concerns among the medical community in Karachi.
“The government has turned a blind eye towards the crimes against us [medical fraternity] and towards law and order in general,” lamented Dr Samrina Hashmi, the Sindh Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) president.
Representatives of the PMA, Pakistan Islamic Medical Association, Pakistan Society of Neurosurgeons and Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS), offered their condolences to Qureshi’s family while asking demanding answers.
“Should we keep our own guards, wear bulletproof jackets or leave the country altogether?” asked the angry doctors.
The Sindh PMA announced that all public hospitals will observe a complete strike for three days, with the exception of the emergency wards.
Mentioning the two kidnapped doctors, Dr Shabbir Dayo and Dr Faisal Iftikhar, Hashmi warned that if the government does not take any action within three days, the association would likely extend the protest.
The Sindh PMA general secretary, Dr Hadi Bux Jatoi, who visited the crime scene, said that Qureshi’s body had the same size and type of wounds as the kidnapper’s body.
“The bullets were also on the same side from where the police was firing and from the same weapon. The kidnappers had a different weapon,” said Jatoi. He criticised the Citizens-Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) for not informing the DIG or other police station as per procedure before conducting the raid.
The doctors demanded a judicial inquiry.
Dr Mirza Ali Azhar, the PMA centre general secretary, called Qureshi a pioneer of neurosurgery since he introduced the field in Hyderabad. “Before him, there were no specialised services for healthcare in neurosurgery in the city.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2012.