RAWALPINDI: Young doctors and other medical staff of the Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH) on Wednesday blocked the Murree road over the Punjab government’s decision to suspend the hospital’s medical superintendent.
They announced that they will continue their protest until the suspension notification is withdrawn.
Earlier in the week on February 4, the Punjab government had suspended the BBH Medical Superintendent (MS) Dr Tariq Niazi for alleged negligence and misconduct. He was replaced by Dr Samina Shaheen, who was holding a post as additional charge.
On Wednesday, members of the Young Doctors Association (YDA) held a meeting in the BBH to deliberate over Dr Niazi suspension. After the meeting, they staged a rally and walked out of the hospital and blocked the Murree Road in front of the facility in protest.
Around 300 YDA members, paramedical staff and other hospital staff carried placards inscribed with their demands of restoring Dr Niazi immediately. They were led by the heads of YDA wings of all the three allied hospitals in Rawalpindi, including Holy Family Hospital (HFH) YDA Wing President Dr Ashfaq Niazi and District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ) YDA Wing President Dr Shahid Fida.
They raised slogans in favour of the ousted BBH medical superintendent such as ‘tyrannical rules unacceptable’, ‘political influence unacceptable’ and ‘restore Dr Niazi’.
YDA BBH Chapter President Dr Rana Muhammad Azeem said that suspending Dr Niazi, who did not bow to political pressure, is a clear case of the government interfering in the affairs of the hospital. Such interference, he said, will not be tolerated.
He conceded that Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rasheed had called Punjab YDA Chairman Dr Shoaib Tarar and had given verbal assurances that Dr Niazi will be restored later in the day. But her assurances came to nought.
“We will not accept verbal assurances,” Dr Azeem said, adding that they were giving the government additional time to restore Dr Niazi.
He further warned that unless Dr Niazi was restored, they would expand their protest province-wide.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 7th, 2019.
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