Doctors give 48-hour ultimatum for salary increase

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LAHORE – Young doctors on Tuesday issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the Punjab government warning that if their demands were not met, doctors across Punjab will also stop working in Indoor Patient Departments (IPD). The doctors gave the ultimatum after their talks with Punjab Health Department officials failed. Young doctors also held a protest by blocking Jail Road for an hour demanding a raise in their salaries.
Citizens criticised the doctors for blocking a main road during peak hours. Jail Road, which houses many offices and educational institutions, remained choked from 12:15pm to 1:30pm while long queues of vehicles were seen from Zafar Ali Road to Shadman Chowk. A large number of cars, school vans, buses and ambulances were seen trapped in the gridlock. “It’s complete chaos, I don’t know what the doctors are up to now”, Kinnaird College (KC) student Madiha Inayat said.
The Young Doctors Association (YDA) disowned the road blockade by doctors. Talking to Pakistan Today, YDA spokesman Dr Aftab said that the road blockade was not scheduled. “It was totally spontaneous”, he said. Aftab said that the YDA had to support senior Dr Saqib who had taken to the streets to sell one of his son, as the salary given to him from the Punjab government was not enough. The spokesman said that the YDA could not let Dr Saqib go on his own.
“He is our senior and we had to stand by him”, the spokesman said. He remained adamant that the incident happened in front of Services Hospital only which proved that it was not planned. Endocrinology specialist Dr Saqib Ali had brought his son for sale, as he claimed that he could not afford his expenditures anymore. Saqib also displayed a banner saying that he had two sons and was willing to sell one of them, as he could not provide for his family on a monthly salary of Rs 22,500. After Saqib started protesting in the bizarre manner, young doctors also joined him. Citizens criticised the doctors for causing problems to the general public.
Banker Asma Imtiaz, who was stuck in the traffic mess, said, “The doctors have wasted all the sympathy they gained by checking patients for free in the relief camps”. She said that there are other ways of protesting and the young doctors should handle the salary issue with care.