SUKKUR: While many healthcare professionals in Sindh were still protesting against the kidnapping of two doctors from Jacobabad, another one was abducted from the Piyaro Magsi village, near Larkana on Tuesday.
Dr Abdul Rab Sangi, who was in charge of the Basic Health Unit Sajjan Sangi in Larkana, was travelling to Kothi for an anti-polio campaign with his driver, Wajid Ali Sangi, on Tuesday. Health authorities in Larkana lost contact with the doctor that evening. When he did not arrive at Kothi the next day, it became evident that he and his driver had been abducted.
This is the second case of the kidnapping of doctors within three days. On Sunday, Prof. Dr Imtiaz Wagan of Dow University of Health Sciences in Karachi and Dr Azhar Ali Shah of Ghulam Mohammad Mahar Medical College in Sukkur were kidnapped while they were traveling from Jacobabad to Sukkur.
Scores of doctors and paramedics boycotted their duties on Thursday in retaliation to the latest abduction. Led by the joint secretary of the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), Dr Usman Mako, they held a rally from Civil hospital to Minara road, where they staged a sit-in.
Several PMA office bearers criticised the poor performance of the police and said that law enforcers are still clueless about the kidnapped doctors despite the fact that five days have elapsed since the first abduction case. They also resented the fact that neither the police nor any elected representative has contacted the families of the kidnapped doctors so far. They threatened to boycott their duties further and said that they would spread the protest to other parts of the province if the doctors were not rescued within the next 48 hours.
Dr Azhar Ali Shah’s wife, Dr Nausheen Azhar, told The Express Tribune that her husband visited Jacobabad on the weekends as he was a general surgeon at the Vikram Centre there. She said that on Saturday, he and Dr Wagan left for Jacobabad in the afternoon, because Dr Wagan’s friend, Dr Leela Ram, had invited him for dinner.
She said that after having dinner, her husband contacted her at about 1:30am and said that they would leave for Sukkur on Sunday morning. After checking out from the guest house on Sunday morning, her husband contacted her again and told her that he and Dr Wagan were about to leave. “But when he didn’t turn up that afternoon, I become worried and tried to contact him. His cell phone was switched off,” she said. “On Sunday evening, I was informed that the car in which he and Dr Imtiaz Wagan were travelling in was found near a vegetable market in Jacobabad.” When questioned about whether any kidnapper had contacted her, she replied in the negative. She complained about the scant attention that the electronic media had paid to the incident. She said that it highlights other minor issues but has failed to give the kidnappings their due share of coverage. “I appeal to the government and senior police officials to give top priority to the rescue of the kidnapped doctors,” she said.
Taking note of the strong reaction of the healthcare community, the SSP of Jacobabad, Zafarullah Tharejo, has suspended the SHO of the Saddar police station, Mumtaz Sarki.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 25th, 2011.
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