QUETTA: The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) warned on Wednesday of closing casualty and emergency wards of all major hospitals if the government failed to recover kidnapped senior psychiatrist Dr Ghulam Rasool within 48 hours.
Addressing a protest demonstration in front of the Quetta Press Club, PMA president Dr Sultan Tareen said that despite a lapse of 15 days since Dr Rasool was kidnapped, no government representative or minister has come forward.
“We are, therefore, going to close hospitals and will not provide any medical
aid to any government representative and their families in order for them to realise our importance,” Tareen said.
He added that the PMA wanted the immediate recovery of all missing doctors, including Dr Din Muhammad Baloch and Dr Akbar Marri.
Baloch and Marri are listed as ‘missing’ persons.
Tareen said that if the doctors were not safely recovered, they would expand their protest and would request PMA Pakistan to close all hospitals country-wide in protest.
The PMA president regretted that the army has failed to take action against kidnappers, despite having the capability and modern technology.
Tareen also said the doctors are aware of the kidnappers in Balochistan and those who threaten the doctors.
“If we know, how come the FC Inspector General and other security quarters are unaware of [the kidnapped doctors’] whereabouts,” he said, adding the government was deliberately not taking action only to ‘punish’ and ‘insult’ doctors.
He said the chief minister and other authorities were reluctant to take action in fear of losing their posts.
“We want missing doctors back even if they are in the custody of government,” Tareen demanded.
He also noted the silence of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, expressing his surprise at the fact that suo motu notices are taken on every petty issue but not on the kidnapping of doctors.
For the past 15 days, doctors have been holding rallies and addressing meetings in protest against the kidnapping and the government’s failure in recovering Dr Rasool.
The entire healthcare system in the province was paralysed as striking doctors closed OPDs, cancelled all scheduled operations, and stopped treating admitted patients in hospitals across Balochistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2012.