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28 city doctors killed in targeted attacks over four years

August 30, 2014

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.—WhiteStar file photo
.—WhiteStar file photo

KARACHI: The Thursday killing of another doctor in Zaman Town was the 29th such attack on the medical fraternity in Karachi since 2010, but just once a doctor found to be lucky to survive the targeted attack, according to the data compiled by the Pakistan Medical Association and various other medical bodies.

Since the killing of Dr Haider Abbas, a resident of Incholi in Federal B Area, near a hospital in Metroville in May 2010, 27 more doctors have been murdered in the city, and police found traces of ‘sectarianism’ in most of such cases.

Also read: Three policemen, doctor among eight shot dead in city

Dr Aun Naseem Jafri, a physician of Korangi’s Zaman Town, was the latest victim of a gun attack on Thursday. He died two weeks after the murder of a colleague in the same fashion in his clinic in Landhi.

The figures show this year as the most lethal for the medical community in which 10 doctors have died so far.

Five doctors had been killed in 2010 and as many in 2012 while two more killed in 2011. Six doctors were gunned down last year. Besides, the seventh victim was Dr Syed Tahir Hussain, a homeopathic doctor, who was shot dead in an attack in Landhi in August, 2013.

Dr Amjad was the only one who survived an attack in his clinic near Kati Pahari within the remit of the Shahrah-i-Noor Jehan police station in June 2012.

Police said most of the victims had been targeted on sectarian grounds and their numbers increased this year.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan reported in its various statements showing thousands of people died in violent attacks in the city particularly since 2011.

The attacks on the medical community recorded over the years show more than 70 per cent of total 39 deaths in 41 attacks in the country were recorded in the megalopolis.

“It is a disturbing trend, as most doctors work with no security measures among the communities and are soft targets for terrorists,” said Dr Mirza Ali Azhar, secretary general of the PMA.

“This situation is persisting since long and created a sense of fear and unrest in the society in general and the doctor’s fraternity in particular,” he said. “It seems that the government is not interested to provide security to the doctors and does not want to improve the law and order situation in the province.”

Meanwhile, officials in the provincial home department said that they had received some applications from the city’s medics seeking for firearm licences for security.

“These applications are under process. We are taking them on a priority basis,” said a senior government official.

Dr Qazi Wasiq, secretary of the city chapter of the PMA, demanded the government for provision of security to all doctors before they were stretched to the limit with no other option but to go on a strike, which could only leave the patients to suffer, something that the PMA had avoided as yet.

Published in Dawn, August 30th , 2014