FAISALABAD: Five government health institutions have been functioning without security since April 4 when the contract of the company was terminated.

More than 400 security guards had been serving these institutions where thousands of people visit daily from as far as Mianwali, Khushab, Sargodha, Chiniot, Jhang and Toba Tek Singh. The company was hired to provide security to the Faisalabad Medical University, the Allied Hospital, the DHQ Hospital, the General Hospital, and Ghulam Mohammad Abad nursing college. Scores of students are enrolled in the FMU and the nursing college.

The contract of Zulfiqar Security had been terminated on April 4 last following the alleged misbehaviour of a security guard with a lady doctor. However, the administration has made no security arrangements after termination of the contract.

The Young Doctors Association (YDA) had taken up the issue (of misbehaviour of the guard) with FMU Vice Chancellor Dr Zafar Chaudhry and warned him of protest if no action would be taken against the guard and the company.

The VC immediately called a meeting that decided to do away with the company on the basis of its overall performance.

On the other hand, the company filed a petition in court and pleaded that the contract had been terminated without assigning any reason and providing an opportunity of hearing to it.

A YDA office-bearer who spoke to Dawn on the condition of anonymity claimed that “we are struggling to get the documents submitted to different quarters against the company. We have come to know that the company was not fulfilling the legal criteria and still it had been awarded the contract.”

Many doctors allege that the security guards would take bribe from the attendants of the patients at the gates and other entry/exit points on the pretext that they had to pay money to their higher-ups for duties. They said there were frequent complaints about the guards who were found involved in misconduct and manhandling.

“Most guards promoted a culture of violence on the hospitals,” alleged a doctor.

The FMU counsel said serious complaints against the company had been received and its contract had been terminated after deliberations over the issue. The court noted that prima facie the letter had been issued without providing an opportunity of hearing to the company and directed the university administration to decide the issue after recording the stance of the petitioner.

As the court fixed April 20 for compliance by the FMU, its administration and officials of other institutions met on April 19 and discussed the issue and decided to stick to the original stance of terminating contract with the company.

Allied Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Khurram Altaf said the administration had submitted its reply in court that had withdrawn the stay granted in favour of the company. The order copy would be available on Monday (today), he said.

Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2019