LAHORE: The World Medical Association (WMA) has written an open letter to the president and prime minister of Pakistan to play their role to get the charges related to freedom of expression against Dr Yasmin Rashid dropped and to deliver justice.

The letter signed by WMA President Dr Lujain Alqodmani urges the top government functionaries to ensure adequate treatment to Dr Rashid for her cancer.

On behalf of the WMA – an international, independent confederation of free professional medical associations representing physicians – Dr Alqodmani stated Dr Rashid was in a critical situation since she was in administrative detention as a part of the crackdown on the riots of May 9 and her ‘inflammatory speech’.

“She has a track record for her good work in healthcare, including WHO acknowledgement for her work during the Covid-19 pandemic. Her integrity and commitment to the ethical values of our profession are unquestionable,” Dr Alqodmani asserted.

“We are informed that the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) has allowed her to undergo cancer- related treatment while in detention. We urge you to monitor the situation and to ensure that she effectively receives adequate treatment for her cancer in accordance with her wishes,” she urged the top Pakistan government functionaries.

Furthermore, she stated that Dr Rashid was in detention for expressing an opinion. “Such denial of liberty constitutes a violation of the freedom of speech, a fundamental human right, enshrined in article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” Dr Alqodmani added.

She demanded that all charges be dropped against Dr Rashid related to her freedom of expression and a fair trial be held as guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that Pakistan has ratified in 2010.

The PTI official Twitter handle had also tweeted the WMA letter.

Published in Dawn, October 27th, 2023

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