KARACHI: Around 350 nurses of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) protested Wednesday against the alleged rape of a second-year student by a Medico Legal Officer (MLO).
Nurses from different departments of the hospital and students from the JPMC nursing college wore black armbands and gathered outside the emergency department at 10 am to express their solidarity with the 22-year-old trainee nurse. She underwent two hours of surgery after she jumped from the balcony of the MLO’s flat in Doctors Colony on Tuesday. Her condition is critical and she is still unconscious, said the JPMC casualty chief.
The demonstration was called by the Pakistan Nursing Federation (PNF) and the Provincial Nurses Association (PNA), who blocked the main road outside the hospital and shouted slogans against the alleged culprit, currently being held at the JPMC. Nurses also went to the JPMC director’s office and demanded strict action against him.
“[He] should be awarded exemplary punishment so that no one dares commit such heinous acts in the future,” demanded representatives of the PNF and PNA, including Ajaz Ali Kaleri, Jahanzaib Khan, Dia Ram, Afshan Nazli and Akhtar Joya.
The MLO belongs to a political party, which is trying to save his skin, they alleged, warning that they would continue their protest until his degree was cancelled and all doctors living illegally in Doctors Colony were expelled.
Conclusions cannot be drawn until the chemical report is obtained, said Sindh health additional secretary Dr Abdul Majid. A committee, which will submit its report by Friday, was constituted by Sindh health minister Dr Sagheer Ahmed to ascertain the facts and identify the actual culprits.
JPMC officials must conduct a probe into the incident and give the nurse justice, said human rights minister Nadia Gabol. Sindh minister for women’s development, Tauqeer Fatima Bhutto, demanded a report from the JPMC medical superintendant and the TPO. “Doctors are equivalent to messiahs for patients, who will stop trusting people from the field of medicine if such things take place,” said Bhutto.
Meanwhile, patients admitted at 28 wards went without nursing care.
The victim will not be able to make a statement for the next 48 hours, as she has a head injury and is therefore not wholly conscious, said Saddar IO Rao Mubashir.
The police has been unable to find any witnesses to the incident, said Mubashir. He admitted that no one was ready to make a statement against the MLO.
In his statement, the MLO has denied any involvement in the alleged rape and said that a conspiracy was being hatched to malign his reputation. “There were no bottles of alcohol in my room,” he said, adding that he was in his room, sober, when a large number of people starting knocking on his door insistently. “I thought that someone wanted to beat me, which is why I tried to escape from the window, but fell when my hand slipped.”
WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT BY APP/PPI
Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2010.