The failure of government authorities to secure the release of Bolan Medical College (BMC) surgeon Dr Din Muhammad Bangulzai resulted in another doctors’ strike being observed in the provincial capital on Friday.
The Out Patient Departments (OPD) of all state-run hospitals remained closed on Friday as striking doctors refused to treat patients. Sources revealed that OPD facilities at Provincial Sandeman Hospital, Bolan Medical Complex Hospital, Civil Hospital and Helper’s Eye Hospital remained deserted during the day causing severe hardships for patients, many of whom had travelled from far-flung areas of Balochistan for treatment.
However, the emergency departments of government hospitals remained opened as doctors agreed to treat patients requiring immediate medical care only.
Dr Bangulzai had been kidnapped by unknown assailants from the Ganji Dori near Lak Pass in district Mastung on Sunday. According to family sources, the kidnappers initially demanded Rs50 million in ransom for the surgeon’s release, however negotiations brought down the ransom amount to Rs8 million.
The strike, called by the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) Balochistan, follows a similar strike called by the Baloch Doctors Forum earlier in the week. Meanwhile, activists of the All Parties Steering Committee of Kech district held a demonstration against Dr Bangulzai’s kidnapping outside the Quetta Press Club. Protesting activists chanted slogans against the government and demanded all out efforts for Dr Bangulzai’s immediate release.
Addressing the gathering, party leaders of NP, BNP, JUI-F and PPP lamented the deteriorating law and order situation of the province and demanded an immediate crackdown against elements involved in kidnapping, targeted killings and other crimes.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2012.