QUETTA: Police arrested 19 doctors on Sunday for staging a protest sit-in and blocking roads linking the city’s Red Zone with its other areas.
Members of the Young Doctors Association, along with paramedical and nursing staff associations, have been staging a protest sit-in near the Red Zone, blocking all roads leading to the Governor and the Chief Minister houses and the Balochistan Civil Secretariat for the last one week for acceptance of their demands.
The doctors have been demanding improvement in government hospitals’ conditions, provision of medicines for patients, installation of modern medical equipment in hospitals and security of doctors and paramedical staff.
The Balochistan High Court recently ordered the protesting doctors and para-medical staff to end their protest.
Leaders of the doctors threatened to spread their protest across the province if their demands were not accepted.
They recently held a meeting with the health authorities, but the meeting produced no result and the doctors and para-medical staff continued their protest.
Police arrested the doctors in the light of recently-promulgated ordinance banning all protest processions and rallies on highways and roads.
A case was registered against arrested doctors and others under different sections and violation of Criminal Law Ordinance, corona SOPs and road blocking, police officials said.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Young Doctors Association, Dr Hafeez Mandokhail, while speaking at a press conference on Sunday warned that if all arrested doctors were not released within 48 hours, the doctors would spread their protest across the province to press the government for acceptance of their demands.
The chairman asked young doctors, nurses and paramedics working in government hospitals across the province to reach Quetta and take part in their just protest.
Aziz Kakar, the leader of Nurses Association, and Mr Usman of Paramedics Association were also present on the occasion.
Dr Mandokhail said that their protest sit-in was peaceful and there was no justification for arresting doctors who were participating in the protest for acceptance of their just demands as holding of protest rallies against injustice was their right guaranteed to them by the Constitution of the country.
He said Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo should order release of all arrested doctors and withdrawal of cases against them.
He said that these young doctors had provided services to the people during the Covid-19 and some of “our colleagues and paramedics have lost their lives while serving the masses”.
Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2021