LAHORE: Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari believes that the masses cannot forgive the Imran Khan government for its negligence during the pandemic.

He was presiding over a meeting via video link on coronavirus that was joined by representatives of Young Doctors Associations of all provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Friday. Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, PPP Punjab President Qamar Zaman Kaira, Chaudhry Manzoor and Hassan Murtaza also participated in the meeting.

“What kind of rulers are these who are consulting irrelevant people instead of medical professionals on how to deal with the pandemic?” Mr Bhutto-Zardari questioned as he was briefed about the state of the health sector during the pandemic in various parts of the country and the problems being faced by the frontline workers.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan should be ashamed that despite his announcement he did not consult a single doctor on the issue. Condemning torture of doctors in AJK, he demanded the release of arrested medics there and said it was shameful to arrest doctors for demanding personal protection kits.

He directed PPP AJK President Chaudhry Latif Akbar to provide moral and legal assistance to the arrested doctors. He also supported the doctors’ demand for risk allowance all over Pakistan like in Sindh, adding that legislation would soon be enacted for the security of doctors in Sindh.

He demanded that the federal government immediately restore the Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University in Islamabad so that medical research could be conducted at the federal level as well.

The PPP chief said doctors were not culprits but messiahs struggling to save human lives while risking their own lives, and leaving them helpless will be the most brutal act. He assured the doctors that he fully supported their demands and would continue to raise his voice for their rights.

Those who attended the meeting included Dr Karim Khwaja of the People’s Doctors Forum Pakistan, Dr Khizar and Dr Mazhar from Punjab, Dr Umar Sultan, Mehboob Imrani and Arsalan Mahmood from Sindh, Dr Rizwan Kundi, Asfandyar Bhittani and Aftab Marwat from KP, Dr Yasir Achakzai, Hanif Loni and Dr Rahim from Balochistan, and Dr Waqar Ashraf Butt from AJK.

Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2020