KARACHI: Police resorted to baton-charge in an attempt to maintain order at the Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi, where thousands of young jobless persons, who came from all over Sindh, congregated on Sunday for walk-in interviews the hospital had announced for 300 lower-grade jobs.
The hospital administration said more than 12,000 people had arrived for interviews. The police, however, offered a figure of around 30,000.
It was beyond expectations for the hospital administration, yet the happenings reflected how grave the issue of unemployment was.
While witnesses said police resorted to baton-charge, a senior police officer denied that the police took such an action against the people gathered there.
The witnesses said the candidates had begun arriving outside the hospital since the early hours of Sunday morning. Many of them had graduate degrees, yet they wanted the jobs because of unemployment.
The long queues soon turned into unruly gatherings before all that merged into a mob that was restless and raucous, yet they restrained themselves from becoming violent.
Some of the candidates came for walk-in interviews were seen climbing the barricades formed by the hospital administration and the local police. A number of them clambered to the rooftop.
Police’s decision to adopt mild tactics saved the day and stemmed the situation from going even graver and, fortunately, the general anguish remained suppressed and failed to create stampede.
The situation, however, warranted for further fortification and the paramilitary Rangers were called in.
The hospital had established 13 places — eight for men, four for women and one for the disabled persons — to take interviews of candidates.
Witnesses said although the counters for men, women and disabled persons were safely distant from each other outside the outpatient department of the hospital, yet, the hullaballoo at the men’s counters created concern on other areas.
“There were dozens of disabled persons and some of them could not get the tokens for interviews because of the chaos and they returned,” said a witness.
Another said the situation at the women’s counters remained normal where it was ensured — both by the candidates and the administration — to maintain calm.
SSP-City Muquddus Haider told Dawn that the police had advised the hospital administration that they should conduct interviews of the candidates in phases on different days to avoid a stampede-like situation and ensure the order but their advice was ostensibly not entertained by the authorities at the health facility.
The officer said people had arrived from across Sindh along with their relatives.
He also denied reports that the police resorted to baton-charge.
Another officer, Eidgah SHO Nadeem Haider said several thousand people had gathered outside the hospital for interviews.
The medical superintendent of the hospital said they had offered 300 jobs for lower grades for which they had called direct interviews.
“Rest assured,” said hospital’s medical superintendent Dr Sabir Memon, “everyone who has come here will be interviewed; no matter, how much time it takes. We are here to manage all this.”
A senior health official said: “Everything is normal now. The recruitment is being made in accordance with the set SOPs [standard operating procedures].”
Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2019