Health Secretary Fawad Hassan Fawad held a meeting on Sunday with the Young Doctors’ Association (YDA) Punjab officials and, according to sources close to the YDA, told them that the government would announce its agreement to raise doctors’ wages from July 1.
The meeting, which was also attended by Post Graduate Medical Institute principal Tariq Salahuddin, lasted for close to two hours. It was an attempt to get the doctors’ to call off their on-going strike.
According to YDA sources, Fawad told the YDA members that the strike was increasingly cumbersome for the government and patient surgeries across the province were being affected. The YDA contested the latter conclusion.
YDA sources said Fawad promised raise in doctors’ salaries after July 1 and said that the chief minister would make a formal announcement in this regard.
YDA members say they were now looking for a written agreement and a public announcement that set out the exact amount of the increase. “We can’t take verbal promises seriously,” said YDA Punjab official Dr Nasir Bukhari. “The government’s record of sticking to verbal agreements is abysmal,” he added.
Bukhari said the strike would continue.
YDA Punjab president Hamid Butt told The Express Tribune that today the YDA council and Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana Iqbal would meet to discuss the issue. Afterwards, he said, the general council will hold a meeting with YDA Punjab leadership.
Parliamentary Secretary for Health Dr Saeed Elahi told The Express Tribune that the government agreed in principal that the salaries needed to be revised. “I have never said they should not get a raise, but we cannot come up with firm proposals till July 1,” he said. Elahi said the details would have to be worked out by the government before anything concrete was announced.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 21st, 2011.