Police break up doctors’ protest, several arrested in K-P

Protesters demand withdrawal of Regional and District Health Authority Bill

​ Our Correspondent September 29, 2019
Police use force on protesting doctors at the Lady Reading Hospital. PHOTO: ONLINE

PESHAWAR: Police used teargas and brute forces against the paramedics and doctors protesting in the K-P Assembly square leaving at least a dozen injured.

The district administration imposed section 144 in the premises of Lady Reading Hospital for stopping doctors and paramedics from holding protest.

The Grand Health Alliance staged protest in front of the K-P Assembly and Lady Reading Hospital against the Regional and District Health Authority Bill, which they said was similar to privatization of public healthcare sector.

Police arrested GHA president Dr Alamghir from the Doctors’ Hostel before the protest. On the other hand the hospital has imposed section 144 to curb the protest activities in the premises of the hospital.

GHA refused to back down and moved ahead with the protest and blocked the road in front of LRH for any movement which also led to the heavy use of forces by the police and police has arrested 12 doctors from the protest while use teargas against the doctors.

Police on Friday used force to disperse protesting doctors near Lady Reading Hospital and arrested several protesters.

The doctors and paramedics were protesting against privatisation of government health facilities in the province.

The protesters were baton-charged and tear gas was used to break the protest, several were reportedly injured. At least 20 were also arrested.

Among the injured are Peshawar Young Doctors Association President Dr Rizwan Kandi and Grand Health Alliance Chairman Dr Alamgir. Several others have been detained.

Sources said the administration had left the patients at the mercy of protesting health workers who had halted all Outdoor Patient Department (OPD) services. All surgical procedures at the hospital were also postponed due to the protest.

Senator Attaur Rehman took notice of the violence and expressed deep concern over the detention of doctors by the police.

Earlier, doctors’ organisations and medical staff had announced to end the dialogue with government over the deadlock in health authorities bill. All departments excluding emergency were shut down for an indefinite period in all public hospitals across the province.

Doctors’ reaction

The GHA has strongly condemned the use of force against the doctors in the provincial capital for the due rights in peaceful manners and announced that doctor’s grand health alliance would never provide services to the police after brutal use of force.

The grand health alliance leader Dr Siraj told The Express Tribune that police used teargas in the premises of LRH which has also created hazards to the patients and their attainders and condemned the arrest of senior and junior doctors from the emergency ward in injured condition.

“We demanded the provincial government to take back the Regional and District Health Authority Bill as it would hamper the services provided to the needy and poor patients in the government hospital of the province,” he said.

The grand health alliance has announced a boycott of the OPDs and polio campaign in the province and added that future plans to be unveiled soon after meeting with the senior members of the alliance.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 28th, 2019.


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