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ISLAMABAD: A doctor from Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) was robbed and physically assaulted on the hospital premises by an individual in the early hours of Tuesday.

A case has been registered with the Karachi Company police, in response to a complaint by Pims Assistant Security Officer Mehboob Abbasi, against unidentified individuals.

Police and hospital sources said the suspect intercepted the doctor in a corridor on her way to the nursing counter and held her at gunpoint. He snatched her bag and mobile phone and pulled her veil, they said.

YDA warns of strike if suspect is not arrested within 24 hours

When other hospital staff attempted to rescue the victim, the suspect also held them at gunpoint and stole a purse containing Rs7,500 and a wristwatch. The complainant, Mr Abbasi, said the suspect had robbed two doctors.

In the morning after the incident, the Young Doctors Association (YDA) discontinued services and protested in front of the administration block for four hours. The doctors resumed services at the management’s request but said they would strike if the suspect is not arrested within 24 hours.

Pims Executive Director Dr Raja Amjad told Dawn that the police had identified the suspect using the mobile phone and claimed he appeared to have been mentally ill.

YDA President Dr Bilal Awan told Dawn that the doctor was in Surgical Ward VI at around 4:30pm when an individual approached her, snatched her bag and physically assaulted her.

“The suspect seemed to be well aware of the hospital because after snatching the bag in Surgical Ward VI, which is on the first floor, he used the rear stairs and went to Medical Ward VI, on the ground floor, and then left using the rear gate,” he added.

He added that this was not the first incident in which a doctor has faced such issues. Nearly two months ago, the attendants of a patient attacked a doctor at the coronary care unit.

“At the time, the management assured us that security would be provided for doctors and at least one guard will be deputed in every ward. It was also decided that cards would be issued to attendants and no one will be allowed to enter wards without the cards.

However, this could not be implemented,” he said.In response to a question, Dr Awan said the doctor who had been attacked was injured on her forehead and shoulder. He said she was in shock and had been sent on leave to rest and recover.

Dr Amjad said the suspect was dressed in Bermuda shorts and a shirt. He said the suspect dropped his mobile phone while fleeing, which had been handed over to the police.

He said an FIR had been registered and the suspect has been identified as a resident of the twin cities.

“We are hopeful that the suspect will be arrested in 24 hours,” he said.

Dr Amjad said there were fewer security guards at the hospital because of the Eid holidays. The only guard in the ward was sitting far from where the incident took place and did not know what had happened.

He also said the security supervisor and concerned guard at the hospital were dismissed and double locks were installed in doctors’ room. Another 90 locks will be installed to increase security, he added.

The hospital has decided to increase the number of CCTV cameras at the hospital, and will no longer allow patients’ attendants to enter doctors’ rooms, particularly during night shifts.

The Karachi Company police said although thefts had occurred in the hospital, this was the first incident of its kind. They said Pims’ guards were responsible for inner security and those deployed at the hospital gates’ should properly search people entering the hospital blocks.

Published in Dawn, June 20th, 2018