Rights bodies flay doctors for suspending emergency services
LAHORE: National and international human rights organisations on Monday condemned the young doctors for jeopardizing the human lives by halting healthcare services in hospital emergencies while expressing concern at the way the Punjab government approached the issue.
Provincial Coordination Officer of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Jamil Ahmed Chaudhry was of the view that the measures taken by the young doctors had defiled the image and sanctity of the profession at large. He said every patient that suffered due to their actions was a burden on their conscience which they might never be able to shed. He said that even the doctors who wanted to dissociate themselves from the inhumane strike could not do so because of the pressure on them by their peers.
Proposing alternate and less fatal means of protesting to the doctors, he was of the view that even considering that the government might have mishandled the matter of service structure, endangering public health and lives could not be justified.
Concerned Citizen Society of Pakistan head Justice (Retd) Nasira Javed Iqbal said that leaving people to die for one’s lust for money could not be justified in any court of society. She said that although it could be argued that the Punjab government could have been more persuasive in its approach towards a solution yet the doctors’ act was utterly inhumane. She went on to say that the doctors were only fulfilling formality in the emergency for the past 16 days.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) too, noted with concern the suffering heaped on the people by the prolonged strike of doctors in Punjab and the provincial government’s failure to amicably resolve the matter, calling upon both sides to stop their wrangling for the people’s sake. The HRCP was of the view that protests and strikes by doctors were not unheard of in Pakistan but they had never led to suspension of the emergency care and that had changed since the last year. It stated that doctors’ abandoning their life-saving vows to press for their demands was utterly indefensible and had contributed to the loss of sympathy for them among the people.
Some of the protesting doctors’ demands might be justified but the ongoing wrangling was symptomatic of anarchy of thought and practice in the country where neither side was willing to abandon its stance, the commission held. Both sides had shown no inclination to budge and sought to achieve a stronger bargaining position by resorting to threats, it maintained. The HRCP also did not support the coercive tactics by the Punjab government aimed at finding a solution.
Nabeela Malik, head of the Rahnuma, an NGO working on health issues, said that the government’s mishandling of the matter had pushed the doctors to take drastic measures. She, however, was of the view that whatever the doctors had done could not, in any way, be justified.