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LHC moved against striking doctors

LAHORE, Jan 4: The Lahore High Court has been approached to take action against young doctors for observing strike in public sector hospitals of Punjab.

The Judicial Activism Panel, through Chairman Azhar Siddique, filed a writ petition pleading that observing strikes at the cost of patients’ lives was criminal negligence that not only showed inefficiency but was also liable to be taken to task in view of Section 300 of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 302.

He stated the Young Doctors Association (YDA) had been protesting as a trade organisation in violation of the Constitution. He said regulating bodies of the medical profession were the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC), King Edward Medical University (KEMU) and the University of Health Sciences (UHS). He said the only authorised body to represent doctors across the country was the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA).

He pleaded the YDA had not only crossed the limits but also provoked certain actions that were not only in violation of fundamental rights but also an offence of sedition according to Section 142-A of the PPC.

The petitioner said the Punjab government had placed the services of doctors under ‘Essential Services’ as provided in the Punjab Essential Services (Maintenance) Act, 1958, therefore, the doctors and the government were bound to facilitate patients without any hurdle and restriction. He pointed out that the Supreme Court had also restrained young doctors from observing strikes, but they did not pay any heed.

He prayed to the court to issue directions to the PMDC and other regulatory bodies of doctors to take punitive action, including cancellation of practicing licences of protesting doctors.

Siddique further prayed the law enforcement agencies could also be directed to take cognizance of the matter to protect the lives of citizens.