Frustrated YDA calls off protest


By Hassaan Ahmed

The newly appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Mayo Hospital Dr Asad Aslam Khan visited the Young Doctors Association (YDA)’s sit-in outside the Chief Minister Secretariat and persuaded them to call off their demonstration on Saturday. The protesting doctors, however, termed the visit a victory for them and celebrated in Mayo Hospital after calling off their protest that started five days ago after the termination of two doctors.

According to the sources, the junior doctors decided to end their protest just as the government had made up its mind to use force in order to clear Mall Road that had been blocked for the past five days because of the protest camp. On Saturday the Lahore Police Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Operations Dr Haider Ashraf, along with the Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Amin Wainas visited the sit-in urging them to call off their protest, and promising strict action if they did not comply.

“Dr Asad Aslam is a well-reputed person and our demands have been met,” Dr Zafarullah Khan Lashari, a spokesperson of the YDA from Mayo hospital, told Pakistan Today. He further added that the doctors have been assured that the decision of their termination will be reversed very soon. He was of the view that the doctors decided to call off their protest after getting assurances from the hospital management. According to him, the lack of security measures in the public sector hospitals was a major demand of doctors and it has now been decided that the security of Mayo hospital will be ensured under the ‘Punjab Safe City Project’. He further added that another reason for calling off the protest was that a petition was filed in the Lahore High Court against the protest of doctors and they feared notice from the court.

An insider told this scribe that the doctors were completely frustrated sitting in their camp and eagerly waiting for a government official to come to them to call off their sit-in. Their frustration was also evident on their faces during visits of their camp repeatedly by Pakistan Today.

Upon being contacted, the Health Department Spokesperson Ikhlaq Khan said that not a single demand of the protesting doctors had been accepted. “It would have been better for these doctors to end their protest 15 days ago to lessen the sufferings of their neglected patients,” he said. According to him, a high-level committee will be formed to decide the fate of the terminated doctors and they will be given a proper chance to plead their cases. He was of the view that these doctors would not join their duties until a decision by the health department is announced.

The decision to send Dr Asad Aslam was an appropriate one as he a mentor and teacher to hundreds of doctors in the city, and commands great respect among them.