Doctors, lawyers protest in twin cities over PIC attack

Rallies held in PIMS, BBH; lawyers boycott courts in twin cities


​ Our Correspondents December 13, 2019
Doctors march on Muree Road in Rawalpindi to protest against the PIC incident. PHOTO: EXPRESS

RAWALPINDI/ ISLAMABAD: The doctors and paramedics of the public-run hospitals in Islamabad and Rawalpindi came out on Thursday to record protest against the lawyer's attack Punjab Institute of Cardiology.

A large number of doctors, nurses, paramedics and non-technical staff of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) held demonstrations to express solidarity with their counterparts.

The demonstrators also chanted slogans against the law practitioners who had descended upon the Pakistan Institute of Cardiology (PIC) on Wednesday. The berserk on the part of the lawyers had claimed three lives.

Addressing the protesting gathering, the doctors’ leaders said that there was no such example in the history with which the barbaric incident could be matched. The mob equipped with sticks and bats forced its way inside the sensitive wards and did not even refrain from removing oxygen masks from the patients, they angrily said and added that the assaulters did just not stop there but vandalised the hospital equipment, prevented the staff from working.

The doctors contended that it was not an attack on PIC but the state’s writ, calling for the government to establish its authority.

The speakers lamented that it was further depressing to note that the assaulters were none other than those who masqueraded as the protectors of the supremacy of law.

In the joint statement issued after the protest, the doctors announced to observe three-day mourning in the federal hospitals. The flags on the hospitals’ buildings would remain at half-mast however the medics pledged to continue treating patients on all three days.

The doctors further demanded the government to beef up the security of the hospitals and to make this happen, they suggested, the legislation should be done on an emergency basis as promised earlier to them.

They also called for apprehending all the lawyers who participated in the ferocious act.

YDA demands resignations of CM, health minister

The Young Doctors Association of Punjab has demanded that the chief minister and health minister should resign from their posts. They further demanded running cases against the responsible lawyers in a military court.

The officials of the Young Doctors Association (YDA) Punjab said that they would announce their future strategy if their demands were not entertained in two-days.

The association organised a protesting meeting in the library of Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH). The officials including Rawalpindi Medical University (RMU) Vice-Chancellor Prof Muhammad Umar and Prof Rai Asghar attended the meeting.

The YDA officials including Chairman Dr Shoaib Tarar, Dr Rana Azeem, Dr Haider Akhtar lauded the display of patience by medical practitioners during the lawyers’ attack.

Dr Umar said any act of violence would divide the doctors. “We have taken an oath of serving humanity,” he added.

The official also supported the demand for approval of doctors’ security bills at earliest. Dr Umar lamented that the incident wouldn’t have occurred if the bill had been approved and implemented earlier. Further, Dr Tarar called for running the case against the incident in a military court and demanded the CM and the health minister to resign immediately. He added that they would announce their future strategy if they were not served justice.

After the meeting was called-off, the hospital staff held a rally from the library to the emergency department’s gate during which they chanted slogans against the lawyers.

Lawyers’ protest

Hundreds of litigants faced extreme difficulties as lawyers associated with the Islamabad High Court Bar Association (IHCBA), High Court Bar Association (HCBA) Rawalpindi and District Bar Association (DBA) observed a strike on Thursday.

Various cases dated the day were adjourned without proceedings, however, only a few lawyers appeared before the court despite the strike.

The Rawalpindi Bar has banned the entry of the renowned lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan at its premises for his comments against lawyers responsible for the PIC incident.

DBA President Sohail Tanveer, Secretary Shahzad Mir, and other officials addressed the meeting and said that the lawyers had not committed terrorism and asserted that doctors had been doing so on different occasions where the government remained completely failed.

The speakers asserted that the lawyers did not vandalise the medical facility and it was the staff itself that did it.

They called for removing sections of terrorism from the first information reports (FIRs) and warned to issue legal notices to those who were using derogatory terms as “Wuklagardi” or lawyers’ hooliganism.

They reiterated that they would abide by the decision of the HCBA Lahore and said that the attempts to push them would have negative results.

The speakers warned to run a countrywide movement if the booked lawyers were not released.

IHCBA Secretary gets a notice on misconduct

Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Thursday suspended the licence of IHC Bar Association (IHCBA) Secretary Muhammad Umair Baloch and issued a contempt notice to him for barring the lawyers to attend hearings as a protest against PIC incident.

The court in its verdict said that Baloch’s licence would remain in suspension until the next hearing on December 19.

Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) vice-chairman, Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president, Advocate General (AG) Islamabad Niazullah Niazi, and Baloch have been directed to appear before the court in person.

IHC charged Baloch of interfering in the court proceedings and said that he was reported to have been forcing lawyers not to appear before judges as IHCBA was observing a strike against alleged offenses against the legal fraternity.

The court further stated that the secretary’s behavior was completely non-professional when he was called to the rostrum.

Meanwhile, Baloch said that the judges should support the strike instead of stopping it.

Indian prisoners’ case adjourned

Due to the lawyers' strike, IHC adjourned hearing on a petition filed by the Indian High Commission seeking the release of four Indian prisoners on Thursday. Earlier, the court had sought a reply from the Ministry of Interior on the matter which was supposed to be submitted on Thursday.

The prisoners including Jaspal Kaka, Shamsuddin, Muhammad Ismail and Aneel Chamaar who are imprisoned in jails of Karachi, Lahore, and Gujranwala in different cases.

The petition had stated that the suspects had not been released so far despite having completed their imprisonment sentence. The court was pleaded to issue orders of their acquittal.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 13th, 2019.

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