The standoff between members of the Young Doctors Association (YDA) and the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government took a turn for the worse on Tuesday after the administration of the Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC) baton-charged the protesting young doctors.
The move, however, drew a mixed response from doctors while politicians used the opportunity to criticise the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led (PTI) provincial government.
“Yes, the doctors were trying to instigate the government so that the government would take action against them and the issue would be highlighted on the front pages of newspapers,” a senior doctor dealing with the issue said, adding that that now the HMC had made it easy for the doctors but tough for the government to deal with the issue since doctors, who were not part of the agitation, have now announced to stand by YDA. The YDA members have been protesting against the government for nearly a month, demanding compensation for their deceased friends, restoration of the Post Graduate Medical Institution, endowment funds for trainee medical officers and house officers, implementation of security act for doctors, time scale promotion and accommodation for doctors.
They had even set up a hunger-strike camp, but the government had not budged on their demands. Unions of doctors including the Provincial Doctors Association (PDA) Malgari [Friends] Doctors, Insaf Doctors Forum (IDF) [the medical wing of PTI] and others stayed away from the protests, isolating the YDA. But on Tuesday the police and YDA staff clashed at HMC.
“I don’t think they [other doctors] will stay away [from the protest] anymore, at least they will protest the baton-charge,” a senior doctor at HMC said.
“Yes, we will not remain silent, but it does not mean we will shut down things and create problems for the patients,” PDA Chairman Dr Shah Sawar told The Express Tribune, adding that although the HMC made a grave error, the PDA would mediate between the HMC and the YDA.
YDA Patron-in-chief Dr Alamgir Yousafzai stated that they had decided in a meeting to continue their strike at HMC, adding that YDA’s Punjab chapter had also expressed solidarity with the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) chapter.