KARACHI: The Pakistan Medical Association organised a demonstration outside the Karachi Press Club on Thursday to protest against the rising incidents of violence against doctors in the country.
Prof. Dr Aftab Qureshi Liaquat, a neurosurgeon at the University of Medical and Health Sciences (LUMHS) Hyderabad, was kidnapped three days ago as he was traveling from Karachi to Hyderabad. Dr Faisal Iftikhar was kidnapped in Karachi’s Gulshan-e-Hadeed area on the same day and became the sixth doctor to be kidnapped in the area.
The protesters said that personal vendetta is often behind such incidents. Dr Raj Kumar, who was kidnapped on May 4, spoke about his ordeal. He said that he was captured by relatives of a guard who used to work at his dispensary in Angara Goth in Gadap Town, who beat him and asked him to not visit the dispensary again. Kumar said that he had scolded the guard a couple of years back and had him transferred to another location as he was negligent in his duties.
PMA Centre member, Dr Illahi Bux Baloch, lamented that inquiries were not conducted into murders of doctors like Dr Raza Khan, Dr Baqir Shah, Dr Saleh Baloch, Prof Mumtaz Haider, Dr Saleem and others. Meanwhile, the robbers looted valuables from the residences of Prof. Fasih Hashmi, Dr Irshad Shah and Dr Zahid Shaikh in Hyderabad, but the police have been unable to trace the culprits so far. PMA Sindh members pointed out that doctors were forced to move abroad because of such incidents.
PMA Centre secretary general, Dr Mirza Ali Azhar, said that most doctors did not want to carry firearms with them. “Our job is to save human lives. I could not bring myself to carry a gun.”
PMA Sindh members announced that they would start one-hour strikes at hospitals in Karachi, Hyderabad, Jamshoro, Larkana, Sukkur, Sanghar, Thatta, Badin, Khairpur and Tando Mohammad Khan from Monday if the kidnapped doctors were not recovered.
However, the PMA Centre and PMA Karachi members said that they would not be a part of the strike.
Members belonging to PMA Centre and Karachi also met Sindh Assembly Speaker Nisar Khuhro to discuss the violent incidents facing doctors. “Doctors are criticised for not agreeing to work in rural areas, but this is because there is no security for them,” said PMA Karachi general secretary Dr Qazi Wasiq.
The doctors also discussed issues relating to time scale promotions and the health commission bill with the speaker. Khuhro assured them of his support.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 18th, 2012.
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