RAWALPINDI, June 30: Showing no sign of retreat, the young doctors on Saturday threatened to march on Lahore and lay siege to Chief Minister Secretariat on July 5 to force the Punjab government to announce proper service structure for them.
Addressing a press conference at Holy Family Hospital, Young Doctors Association (YDA), Punjab, President Dr Hamid Butt asked Lahore to avoid confrontation and come to the negotiating table otherwise the movement would prove disastrous for the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government in the province.
Dr Hamid Butt was accompanied by YDA General Council Chairman Dr Mohammad Haroon, Dr Nasir Bukhari and district presidents from across the province. The young doctors called the meeting of general council at Holy Family Hospital to chalk out future plan. He demanded a similar service structure provided to judges and bureaucracy.
YDA leaders said that the doctors were forced to observe strike after the provincial government failed to fulfill its promise regarding the improvement of service structure.
Last year, the doctors ended the strike on the assurance of Punjab Law Minister but the provincial government failed to keep their words. They said that Pakistan Medical Association and senior doctors were supporting their demands.
“The Punjab government is spending millions of rupees on the advertisements against the doctors and did not ready to give their due rights. If it fulfills its promise, the strike would end within a day,” they said.
YDA Punjab spokesman Dr Nasir Bukhari said the way Lahore was dealing with the doctors issues showed that the provincial government was being run by dictators. He said the invocation of essential services act also substantiated their views about the government.
“If the government terminates the services of and arrests young doctors, complete strike will be observed in all departments of government hospitals including ICU and wards,” he said and added at present only 10 per cent of hospital services had been affected.
Replying to a question, he said inviting army doctors to run the government hospitals was tantamount to declaring martial law.
He said the government would also invite army to run the ministry and the government as a next step.
The YDA spokesman dispelled the impression that opposition parties were patronising the YDA. He challenged the government to prove any political link behind the doctors’ movement.
Earlier, a large number of male and female doctors attended the meeting of general council and doctors’ convention at Holy Family Hospital. Professor Dr. Mohammad Umer, Dr Jamal Nasir of Green Task Force, Professor Dr Matiullah and others also came in the convention to express their solidarity with young doctors. During the meeting, the young doctors chanted slogans against the Punjab Chief Minister.