More than 30 trainee nurses at District Headquarter Hospital (DHQ) staged a protest against harassment and lack of facilities at the hostel on Thursday.
They held banners and placards, inscribed with slogans against the “unacceptable attitude” of the DHQ Deputy Medical Superintendent (DMS) Dr Akhtar Bugti and hostel administration.
Talking to the media, they alleged that the DMS “never let go the chance of sexually harassing trainee nurses” and routinely used abusive language while delivering lecture in class. “Our tolerance has been tested to the fullest. We can’t bear this harassment anymore,” they said.
The nurses said that the hostel administration is not providing them with any facility and they have to manage everything on their own. “Whenever we complain, we are threatened against our careers. This insecurity is keeping us from performing our professional duties,” said one nurse.
The nurses demanded the Punjab government to dismiss the DMS as soon as possible, and also press the hostel administration to provide them all basic facilities. They said their protest will continue till their demands are met. They also boycotted classes and chanted slogans against Dr Akhtar and the hostel administration.
The DMS, while rejecting the allegations levelled against him, said, “The trainee nurses are just like my daughters and that I could not even think about committing such acts [of sexual harassment]... It is a pre-planned campaign against me, because some persons holding professional jealousy are pushing nurses to defame me.”
He said he is “too busy delivering lectures at different institutions and had no time for such amoral activities”. He claimed that the nurses had not received their dues from the district account office for the last five months and this drove them to making “lame excuses to seek attention”.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2011.
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