KARACHI, May 30: Shocked over the killing of a noted neurosurgeon in Hyderabad, medical fraternity announced on Wednesday three-day mourning and demanded a judicial probe into the incident.
In the interior of Sindh, the protesting doctors also announced the closure of the outpatient departments in government hospitals for two more days (Thursday and Friday).
Senior office-bearers of the Pakistan Medical Association, Sindh, said that they had no option but to give a call for boycott of outpatient services, as doctors were shocked after knowing about the murder of kidnapped neurosurgeon Prof Aftab Qureshi.
The doctors said they believed the kidnappers and killers of the neurosurgeon had support of certain influential persons who, they demanded, should be exposed.
Speaking at a press conference at the Karachi Press Club, Dr Samrina Hashmi, president of the Sindh PMA, with Dr Suhail Sehto, Dr Pir Ghulam Nabi Shah Jilani, Dr Bashir Khalid and Dr Shahzad Awan, said that at least three doctors had been abducted during the last 25 days in the province, but the chief executive and the heads of the law-enforcement agencies had failed to protect them. “Finally one of them, an experienced neurosurgeon was killed this morning, while little is known about the remaining two abducted doctors belonging to Hyderabad and Karachi.”
She demanded that a judicial inquiry, which should also have the chief secretary, the Sindh police chief, chief of the Citizens-Police Liaison Committee and others as members, be launched at the earliest into the killing of Prof Qureshi, while on the other hand the government should ensure recovery of other two kidnapped doctors.
The doctors in the hospitals of Sindh, including those in Karachi, on Wednesday agitated over the killing and stopped extending services to the outdoor patients on Wednesday, Dr Hashmi said, adding that the doctors had also decided to keep the OPDs closed for another two days.
The PMA (central) and Karachi chapter said that the latest incident was extremely condemnable, but at the moment they would confine their protest to wearing of black armbands while performing duties for three days.
At a condolence meeting, the president and general-secretary of the PMA (central), Dr Syed Tipu Sultan and Dr Mirza Ali Azhar, respectively, paid tribute to the services of Prof Qureshi and also expressed their concern over lack of security and protection to doctors.
Expressing concern over the worsening law and order situation, Dr Sultan observed that there was no ray of hope and educated and highly skilled professionals were now compelled to leave the country.
Dr Idrees Adhi and Dr Qazi Wasiq, president and general-secretary of PMA Karachi chapter, respectively, said that incidents of doctors’ kidnapping were increasing day by day in the country, particularly in Sindh. The PMA demanded a judicial inquiry into the killing of Prof Qureshi and announced three-day mourning in the Karachi hospitals.
Dr Qaiser Sajjad, Dr Shams Raza and Dr S. A. Siddiqui also spoke at the condolence meeting.
Dr Misbahul Aziz, the president of Pakistan Islamic Medical Association, said it appeared that doctors had become a soft target for everyone as there had been repeated reports and information about doctors’ killing, abduction and their victimisation for want of extortion. “Unless the doctors are united and demonstrate against the criminals and other groups enjoying the cover of political parties, any check by the authorities concerned to the adverse situation is not possible,” he added.
Meanwhile, all faculty members, professors and teaching staff of the Dow University of Health Sciences also expressed sorrow over the killing of the neurosurgeon.
The university condemned the killing and said that the repeated incidents of doctor’s murders and kidnapping had created a panic in the medical fraternity.