Balochistan doctors continue strike against abduction of colleague


Doctor and paramedics in Balochistan remained on strike on Thursday and suspended emergency services in all government hospitals for an indefinite period against the abduction of prominent psychiatrist and senior professor of Bolan Medical College, Dr Ghulam Rasool, demanding the government make efforts for the immediate recovery of their colleague.
The striking doctors also held a rally and a gathering outside the Quetta Press Club.
Dr Rasool was kidnapped in broad daylight from Quetta on Wednesday, just after two days of the release of another senior surgeon of the same college, Dr Din Mohammad Baloch, who remained in the custody of the captors for eight days.
When contacted, Medical Superintendent of Sandeman Hospital Dr Nawaz Khan Kibzai said he was helpless after the doctors announced going on a strike and suspending emergency services.
He said in support of the doctors, the paramedics also went on a strike, adding that only female nurses were available on duty. He said he and the nurses could not do anything in case of an emergency.
Dr Sultan Tareen, president of the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) Balochistan Chapter told the reporters that the PMA in its meeting on Thursday had decided that all doctors would go on a strike, suspending emergency services in all government and private hospitals for an indefinite period of time.
The meeting also decided that the PMA would evolve its future line of action in the meeting on Friday after observing the government’s attitude in the next 24 hours.
All Out-Patient Departments (OPDs) in major hospitals in Quetta, including Helper’s Hospital, Bolan Medical College Teaching Hospital, Fatima Jinnah TB Sanatorium and Sandeman Hospital were close down, as no doctor was present to provide medical assistance to patients. Thousands of patients had to return home unattended.
It was the height of callousness on the part of the doctors when a young man, Irfan was brought in a precarious condition to civil hospital. He was there for more than two hours with bullet injuries in his back, but the doctors did not attend to the emergency. The family members and relatives of the injured man blocked Jinnah Road in protest over the absence of the doctors until the administration shifted him to Combined Military Hospital for medical treatment.
Despite numerous attempts, no contact could be made with the health minister and secretary as both have turned their mobile phones off.
CM: However, Balochistan Chief Minister Aslam Raisani has taken notice of Dr Ghulam Rasool’s abduction and has directed the authorities to make efforts for his immediate, safe and secure recovery.
Talking to reporters, Raisani expressed concern and anguish over kidnapping of the doctor despite presence of security forces in the area. He directed the levies and the administration to recover Dr Rasool as soon as possible.
Upon the chief minister’s directives, the Home Ministry formed teams that started search operations to recover the abducted doctor. Meanwhile, dozens of male and female doctors took out a procession, which later culminated into a gathering outside the Quetta Press Club.
The participants were carrying placards and banners inscribed with various demands and slogans for the immediate recovery of Dr Rasool. Addressing the protesters, PMA Balochistan President Dr Sultan Tareen and other prominent doctors strongly condemned the repeated incidents of kidnapping of doctors and termed the kidnapping for ransom a lucrative business. They said doctors, traders, lawyers and professors were being kidnapped and were released only after paying millions of rupees as ransom. “Unfortunately the government has kept mum over the situation giving the impression that it did not even exist,” they said.
They said only two days had passed since the release of abducted surgeon Dr Din Mohammad Baloch, that the criminals kidnapped another doctor without any fear of the administration.
They said despite heavy deployment of law enforcement agencies, the armed groups were kidnapping people. The police had failed to arrest any gang and every citizen was now feeling insecure.
The speakers warned that if kidnapped doctor was not recovered soon, the doctors would resort direct action and all responsibility would rest on the government.
Students of the BMC also staged a demonstration outside the Quetta Press Club to protest the abduction of Dr Rasool. They shouted slogans against the administration for its alleged failure to curb the incidents of kidnapping for ransom.