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Pervaiz’s pat to YDA alarms Punjab govt

LAHORE, Oct 20: Deputy Prime Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi has put his weight behind the protesting young doctors seeking a service structure, causing a stir in the ranks of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz that runs the Punjab government handling the issue.

Frustrated by what it sees as the Punjab government’s failure in bringing medics under a comprehensive service structure, the Young Doctors Association (YDA) Punjab seems to have changed its strategy and decided to take on board major political parties to win their sympathies for its cause.

A delegation of YDA led by Dr Muhammad Arshad called on the deputy prime minister at the State Guest House on Saturday and apprised him of a criminal case registered against some doctors and the “tactics” being used by provincial government to delay service structure for medics.

Talking to the media after the meeting, Mr Elahi said Shahbaz Sharif had destroyed the health department and doctors were leaving the country because of the chief minister’s “anti-doctors policies”.

Assuring the young doctors of PML-Q support, he said the party would stand against any injustice and would raise their voice both inside and outside the Punjab Assembly for solution of their problems.

Mr Elahi regretted that in spite of being considered builders of the nation, the doctors, nurses and teachers, were out on the roads seeking solution to their problems. They were being treated like criminals and false cases were being instituted against them, he deplored.

“Under Shahbaz Sharif, thousands of doctors are leaving the country and going abroad, whereas during our tenure we had brought the doctors back to the country from abroad”, Mr Elahi said.

However, the deputy PM also appealed to the doctors to maintain sanctity of their profession and avoid resorting to strikes. He urged them to look after the patients to the best of their capability.

The delegation also included Dr Matloob, Dr Imran, Dr Javed Malik, Dr Abu Bakr Gondal, Dr Jawwad, Dr Mudassar, Dr Aamer and Dr Nasir Bokhari.

Expressing their annoyance over the meeting of the delegation of young doctors with Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, the PML-N leaders said the young medics were politicising the health issue against the oath they had taken before joining the government service.

Special assistant to chief minister on health Khawaja Salman Rafique said leveling false allegations against Punjab government was part of Pervaiz Elahi’s strategy as PML-Q was perturbed over the successful policies of PML-N in Punjab.

He said the delegation which met the deputy PM was not representing the medical community. He said the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), Medical Teachers Association Punjab, General Cadre Doctors Association and some other organisations which were “actual” stakeholders were in contact with the Punjab government on the issue. He claimed a service structure for doctors was in its final stage.

Mr Rafique said the YDA leaders were playing in the hands of those who wanted to do politics on the issue instead of getting it resolved at departmental level.

He said the Lahore High Court had strictly barred the YDA from holding protests but its leaders were ignoring the court orders by staging demonstrations which was a matter of grave concern.