Security concerns: Doctors observe strike, protest against colleague’s murder

Published: January 24, 2013

The doctors refused to provide services in Out-Patient Departments (OPDs) in three major hospitals of the city. PHOTO: SANA.

PESHAWAR: The Provincial Doctors Association (PDA) and Young Doctors Association (YDA) observed a strike on Wednesday to protest against the killing of eye specialist Dr Shah Nawaz Ali who was gunned down inside his clinic on Tuesday.

The doctors refused to provide services in Out-Patient Departments (OPDs) in three major hospitals of the city. As a result, thousands of patients were deprived of medical attention at Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC), Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH) and Lady Reading Hospital (LRH). Doctors only treated patients in emergency units and wards in these hospitals.

“I brought my two sons for treatment because they were not feeling well, but no doctors are available in OPDs so we will have to go to a private hospital now,” said Ismail Khan, a resident of Charsadda Road.

A student from Dir Lower, Usman Ali had come to the LRH for treatment too. He complained that many people are killed in bomb blasts and no strikes are observed. “But when a doctor is killed they shut down hospitals and create problems for patients. This is unfair.”

A demonstration was also held in KTH by doctors protesting over Dr Ali’s murder.

“The provincial government has totally failed to provide security to the medical fraternity. Two senior doctors have been killed in broad daylight, compelling us to stop working at the hospitals,” PDA President Dr Abdul Qadir told The Express Tribune.

He added that Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s (K-P) inspector general of police and capital city police officer (CCPO) were not able to protect the lives of common people, particularly doctors.

“We have asked the government to increase security in places where doctors are practicing and in front of hospitals. Dr Shah Nawaz and Dr Riaz Hussain were killed in busy localities and the killers escaped freely,” said Dr Qadir.

YDA’s provincial president Dr Alamgir Khan said they had submitted their proposed security plan to the government almost 15 days earlier, but none of the health department officials were ready to take concrete steps.

“Routine work in all OPDs will resume on Thursday, but we will also hold a demonstration in LRH and will further form a strategy on whether to extend the strike or not,” said Dr Alamgir.

Two prominent doctors have been murdered in the last few weeks. Dr Shah Nawaz Ali, an eye specialist, was killed in his clinic located in Saddar bazaar on Tuesday while Dr Riaz Hussain, a gastroenterologist, was shot dead en route to his clinic in Dabgari Garden on January 8.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2013.

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