Paramedic staff of public hospitals on Thursday staged demonstrations in various cities of the province in protest against non-issuance of a service structure.
In Lahore, the protestors were beaten up by police on attempting to cross a security barrier set up near Nawaz Sharif’s Model Town residence.
Besides Lahore, rallies were taken out under the banner of Punjab Paramedics Alliance in Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Sargodha, Sialkot and Gujranwala.
Speaking on the occasion, PPA leaders reproached the provincial administration for delaying the notification of a service structure for paramedical staff (in basic pay scales-1 to 16) in public hospitals of the province. They said over three months had passed since Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had assured the PPA that a service structure would soon be notified.
DG Khan chapter president Abdul Hamid Shah called for a boycott of work for two hours every day.
The boycott would not extend to emergency departments, he added. Shah said government’s failure to take notice of the situation would lead to a comprehensive boycott of work at public health facilities.
A protestor told The Express Tribune that the government had promised to issue a suitable service structure but backed off later. This time, he said, the PPA was prepared to continue the protest drive for as long as it took for the demand to be met. “We would not resume work until we have a service structure,” he said.
Speaking at a demonstration in front of Nishtar Hospital, Multan chapter president Tahir Iqbal accused the Finance Department of obstructing the issuance of the service structure. Later, he led a rally from Nishtar hospital to Iftikhar Ali Chowk.
In Sialkot, the PPA demonstrated in front of the office of the executive district officer (Health).
Speakers said that if the demand was not met, the PPA members from all districts would gather in Lahore and observe a sit-in in front of the Punjab Assembly on September 7.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2011.