The foundation stone laying ceremony for the renovation of the District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital Rawalpindi caused severe difficulties to the patients and their relatives visiting the health facility.
A rush of political workers accompanying Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed blocked the passage of patients and their attendants to the wards. Sheikh Rasheed was to lay the foundation stone of the Rs80 million project. The administration arranged the ceremony by setting up tents on the side of the Emergency and Neurological wards and the Administration Block. As per custom, the minister also had to unveil a plaque on the venue.
However, besides officials and the media, a large number of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Awami Muslim League workers also came along with Sheikh Rashid in form of a rally. There was a huge crowd that blocked the movement of patients and their attendants.
People coming to the health facility asked Sheikh Rasheed and the authorities to hold such events in a manner that the patients do not face any problems accessing the hospital. The ceremony was also attended by Parliamentary Secretary for Drug Control Sheikh Rasheed Shafiq, Provincial Minister Raja Rashid Hafeez and Dr Muhammad Omar and other officials.
During the ceremony, Sheikh Rasheed repeatedly appealed to the workers to move and sit on the side due to heavy rush and crowd in front of the stage.
On one occasion, he got angry and even announced that he would not start his speech if the people at the venue did not move from the front.
Similarly, during the media talk, when the political activists did not leave despite repeated requests, the minister asked the police and security to come forward “because these people do not understand this way.” Police and security personnel pushed the crowd out of the hospital premises.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 11th, 2020.
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