Imran asks CM to lodge case against Muqam for instigating medics

Source: Published in Politics on Wednesday, February 10, 2016

PESHAWAR: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan has asked Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak to register a case against PML-N leader Amir Muqam for instigating doctors at Hayatabad Medical Complex on Tuesday.

“He had tried to incite the doctors and be charged for contempt of court because we have acted upon the decision of Peshawar High Court, which had asked the government to make health an essential service,” Mr Khan told a news conference here on Tuesday.

He said that nobody had the right to hamper smooth treatment of patients at the hospitals. The government had not invoked the law on its own but in the fulfillment of court’s directives to ensure treatment of people, he said.

Hours after Mr Khan’s news conference, the province’s biggest health facility Lady Reading Hospital posted out 16 employees for going on strike in violation of the Essential Service Act.

They include Employees Coordination Council secretary Syed Roidar Shah, Shehzad Jamila, Gulshan Ara, Shamsur Taj and Sartaj, who have been placed at the disposal of director-general health office.

The PTI chief, however, wowed to go ahead with health reforms programme of the government according to the manifesto of his party.

Meanwhile, the Employees Coordination Council extended strike to all hospitals in the province, accusing the government of not listening to its grievances.

PTI chief vows to go ahead with health reforms programme

“Our plan of reforms at hospitals can’t be compared with PML-N’s privatisation programme of PIA. We have granted autonomy to the hospitals and there is no privatisation,” Mr Khan said.

He said that they were not going to privatise the hospitals but wanted to provide quality services there at par with private ones. The PIA’s privatisation bill was bulldozed hurriedly without listening to employees’ grievances or opposition’s demands, he said.

“We held discussions with employees and an Act was passed unanimously by members of the provincial assembly. Then we brought more amendments in it on the advice of doctors, nurses and paramedics which delayed the process but we arrived at consensus,” he added.

Mr Khan also asked chief minister to lodge FIR against PML-N leader Amir Muqam for instigating protesting employees at HMC.

“The Peshawar High Court ordered the government in 2010, 2012 and 2015 to declare health an essential service. We have acted upon the court’s directives,” he said.

He said that they raised salaries of doctors. “A few people can’t stop our reforms programme,” he added. He said that standard of public hospitals had fallen to the extent that doctors brought their children to private hospitals for treatment.

Chief Minister Pervez Khattak said on the occasion that the new system would improve standard of services due to which rich people would also visit public sector hospitals and the money taken from them would be spent on poor.

The employees, who observed partial strike in Lady Reading Hospital, Khyber Teaching Hospital and Hayatabad Medial Complex Peshawar and Nowshera and Charsadda hospitals vowed to continue their protest throughout the province from Wednesday.

“There was complete strike in all hospitals. There was no operation and investigations etc,” said Syed Roidar Shah. He said that they sought a meeting with Imran Khan to apprise him of the real situation. “The government has kept him in the dark,” he claimed.

He rejected Imran’s claim about taking stakeholders into confidence prior to enforcement of the new law.

However, complete strike was observed at LRH because the leadership of the council is based there. In KTH and HMC doctors examined patients and emergency operations were performed.

Meanwhile, Insaf Doctors Forum has condemned interference by politicians in hospitals. In a statement, it said that institutions should be strengthened and free of political and bureaucratic interference to improve health delivery.

The relatives of patients also held protest against doctors outside LRH and asked the government to take action against them. They burnt tyres and blocked the road briefly. “Doctors never go on strike at their clinics but make the patients suffer only at the public sector hospitals,” they said.

Meanwhile, Adviser to Prime Minister Amir Muqam has said that a case should be lodged against the PTI government for violating the labour law and exploiting employees in the province.

He was Addressing a rally of doctors and paramedical staff at Hayatabad Medical Complex.

Responding to Imran Khan’s call to lodge a case against him for instigating the employees to boycott duty, Mr Muqam said that he was not afraid of FIRs. He said that the demands of doctors and paramedical staff were justified and the provincial government should not usurp their rights.

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