The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) in a statement submitted to the Lahore High Court on Friday blamed both the government and the young doctors for the 21-day strike.
Ahmad Nadeem Akbar, the council’s registrar, stated that the body had opposed the doctors’ strike. He then added that the doctors had done so only after the Punjab government pushed them into a corner. He also told the court that the council could only take action against the doctors if the Punjab government filed a complaint.
Akbar had been summoned by the court, which is hearing several petitions seeking action against the doctors for going on a strike.
Akbar said that the PMDC condemned the doctors’ decision to go on a strike, which had caused problems for patients. The council believed that the doctors’ first duty is to the patients, he said, adding, “There can be no justification for depriving the public of medical services.” He described the strike as “deplorable”.
He told the court that the council would take action against the doctors if the Punjab government sent a complaint of wilful negligence of duties, an offence under Section 31 of the PMDC Ordinance, 1962 and Part-V of the PMDC Regulations for Medical and Dental Practitioners, 2008.
The registrar said the council will hold personal hearing in each case before deciding whether or not to cancel a licence.
He then criticised the government, saying the government had not taken any measures to avert the strike. It was the government’s “mischief” that had left the doctors with no other choice, he said. He then reiterated that the PMDC did not endorse the strike. “However, had the government done its duty, the doctors would not have gone on a strike,” he added.
He prayed the court to reprimand the government for “creating such a situation” and requested that the court issue orders to ensure redress of the doctors’ grievances.
During the hearing, the counsel for the doctors submitted that the doctors had followed court orders but the government was still harassing them. It hadn’t withdrawn transfer and suspension notices, he said.
Additional advocate general, on behalf of the Punjab government, however, denied the doctors’ claims, saying the government had withdrawn all notices.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan issued notices to the Young Doctors Association Punjab representatives on a review petition filed by the Punjab government against an LHC order wherein the court had directed the government to withdraw suspension and termination notices.
The hearing was adjourned till July 20 after the court was told that a joint committee had yet to complete a report regarding a new service structure for the doctors.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2012.
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