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LAHORE, July 6: The health department on Friday initiated disciplinary proceedings under the Punjab Employees Efficiency, Discipline and Accountability (PEEDA) Act against 11 ‘disobedient’ office-bearers and activists of the Young Doctors Association, Punjab.

The government said these 11 doctors were directly responsible for the ongoing crisis.

It issued show-cause notices under PEEDA Act to YDA Punjab President Dr Hamid Butt of Services Hospital, Dr Ajmal of Lahore General Hospital, Dr M. Arshad of Children’s Hospital, Dr Rashid Ali, Dr Shabbir Warraich of Shaikh Zayed Hospital, Rahim Yar Khan, Dr Ali Waqas of Nishtar Hospital, Multan, Dr Maroof of Allied Hospital, Faisalabad, Dr Nasir of Benazir Bhutto Hospital, Rawalpindi, Dr Salman Shakeel of LGH, Dr Usman Zafar Dar of Mayo Hospital and Dr Zulqernain Dar of Services Hospital.

Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Health Khwaja Salman Rafique confirmed action against the doctors, saying the proceedings would continue even if all young doctors resumed duties. He said these doctors had violated the Essential Services Act 1958 invoked on June 27.

A source said the senior doctors, who had been backing the young doctors from day one on the service structure and other issues, did not oppose the health department’s action. On the assurance of heads of the teaching institutions and other senior doctors during the July 4 meeting, Law Minister Rana Sanaullah had announced that strike had been ended by the YDA.

After getting out of jails, the YDA leaders had again refused to resume duties even at emergencies of all teaching and district hospitals till the release of their four other colleagues who were arrested in a murder case of an infant.

The source claimed that the health department had taken on board representatives of senior doctors before initiating proceedings (under the PEEDA Act) against the YDA leaders. It said the ‘arrogant’ young doctors had put the integrity of the whole community at stake and jeopardised the health system.

Another factor which prompted the health department to take action were the signals it had received from some quarters about links of top leaders of the YDA with two rival political parties, the source said.

He said the YDA leaders were also facing charges of provoking their colleagues to prolong strike and hurling threats at the doctors who were willing to provide treatment to the patients.

The 11 YDA leaders had led the strike at their respective institutions and most of them were members of the general council of the association which was fully empowered to take final decisions on issues like strike, service structure and dialogue with the authorities concerned.

TERMINATION: The health department has terminated 14 ad hoc women medical officers (WMOs) of the Faisalabad District Headquarters Hospital for not joining duties despite repeated instructions by the institution.

A source said these WMOs were reluctant to discharge their duties in the absence of the striking doctors at the Indoor, OPD and emergency departments of the hospital due to threatening text messages sent by a group of YDA activists. He added that the messages carried threats of “dragging the ad hoc doctors in the corridors of the hospital”.