AS the doctors’ strike in Balochistan expands in scope, there has been a parallel increase in the people’s misery. While previously the strike was limited to government hospitals, doctors in private healthcare facilities have now joined the protest. Matters took an even uglier turn on Tuesday when emergency services and out-patient departments were shut in reaction to the rough treatment meted out by the police to protesting medics on Monday. In a related, equally disturbing development, doctors’ bodies in Sindh on Tuesday also threatened to stop work if their colleagues in Balochistan were not freed and cases against them, lodged in reaction to Monday’s protest, not withdrawn. Doctors in Balochistan have been on strike now for over a month; the protest was sparked by the kidnapping of eye specialist Dr Saeed Khan, who was abducted in October. Several doctors have either been killed or kidnapped in the restive province in the recent past.

The police action against protesting doctors is condemnable while it is well-known that security in Balochistan is very poor. We sympathise with the plight of doctors, yet there can be no justification for adding to the grief of the people by denying them medical care. Harrowing images came out of Quetta on Tuesday, of patients desperate for medical attention. Doctors in public and private facilities need to immediately return to work and pursue their rights through other methods of protest. While industrial action may be an acceptable mode of protest in other professions, when it comes to doctors it is literally a matter of life or death for patients, so shutdowns of hospitals should be out of the question. Also, instead of adopting a confrontational posture, the Balochistan government needs to respond to the medics’ demands, especially by recovering the kidnapped doctor and providing the medical community with adequate security.

More From This Section

Too much for too little

THERE is no deadlock, Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan had told the country regarding talks with the outlawed TTP....

The name of the game

WHAT’S in a name? A lot, it turns out, at least in the case of a proscribed organisation that wants to participate...

Roles reversed

THE story has been repeated ad nauseam over the decades, but is still a favourite with many Pakistanis who bemoan...

Life without dignity

CAN a family survive with dignity on the minimum wage of an unskilled worker, asked the Supreme Court on Monday in...


Comments are closed.

Comments (2)

Cyrus Howell
November 23, 2012 12:57 am
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it's the only thing that ever has." -- Margaret Mead
Iftikhar Husain
November 22, 2012 11:58 am
It seems that the government has totally failed to do any constructive step to pacify the important section of the society.
Explore: Indian elections 2014
Explore: Indian elections 2014
How much do you know about Indian Elections?
How much do you know about Indian Elections?
Cartoons
E-PAPER
Front Page