Daily The Business

3 die many other critical patients leave unattended as outside PIC protest of lawyers protest turns violent 

PM Imran Khan takes notice, sought the report and vowed action against responsible

By K A Mian

LAHORE: Around three critical patients died, and many others critical patients left unattended as an outside protest of lawyers at the Punjab Institute of Cardiology Hospital turned into violent, Daily The Business has learnt here on Wednesday.

Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan took notice of the incident and sought the report. PM also vowed action against the responsible. Punjab Chief Minister, Usman Buzdar on Wednesday ordered an investigation into an attack by a group of lawyers on the government-run Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) in the provincial capital Lahore.

According to media reports, a large number of lawyers gathered outside PIZC and later the mob of lawyers forcefully entered into the PIC premises and damaged inside the precious worth millions of the life-saving equipment, broke windows of the main reception, emergency ward, ICU. Protesters set on fire public, privets cars, the vehicle including police officials van, which were parked outside and insides the PIC. The protesters also shamed doors of emergency theatres and healthcare provider’s including specialized professionals, doctors, paramedics, nurses, technicians and all others left the critically ill patients unattended due to the chaos.

Moreover, large numbers of Police personnel including contingents of Anti-Riot Police Force were also detained to control the mob. Another attendant talking to media said that at the same time, the operation of his patient was continued, but the doctors left his patient unattended and fled away to save themselves as they adjured them to implore the patients. Similarly, a male escort said that his mother died over the suspension of medical treatments even no healthcare providers were available to treat in an emergency after happening this incident.

To a question from YDA leader Dr Haseeb, why were precarious patients scampered at larch even than the doctors cannot deprive of their obligations during a civil war or another’s relevant scenarios? He admitted that most of the doctors were escaped from the hospital to save themselves due to the threat of attack. He asserted that some lawyers tortured and injured them, but some of them remained alert on their duties. An elderly man speaking to media expressed that doctors should also be held responsible equally with lawyers as they unturned from their oath. He added that even during the time of the civil war the patients cannot be left unattended as a shameful act was done by all on-duty doctors.

The lawyers also attacked media personnel including a lady reporter on the site with stones who were deputed on the coverage of the event, said the president Punjab Union of Journalist, Qamer-u-Zaman Bhatti in a press statement. He condemned the lawyer’s attack on PIC, patients, healthcare providers, even on the patients and attendants. The PUJ president also appealed to the government for taking strict action against those who were involved and also set an example in this regard.

While addressing a conference at Chief Minister Punjab secretariat, Provincial Law Minister Raja said that Punjab Government would take stick action against finding responsible for creating unrest in this brutal incident. The law minister expressed that that government cannot allow anyone taking the law into the hands. He added such incident should be ended in the country and condemned the brutal incident.

While speaking at the occasion, Health Minister Dr Yasmeen Rashid said that she reached at the PIC instantly after coming into her knowledge. A group of doctors didn’t allow her to enter into the hospital and she waited for around two hours and also faced the cretic, she said, adding that she is standing with doctors and her institution. She assured that the Punjab government will not leave the doctors alone in these particular incidents. Health minister also informed that all protesters would be punished according to the law who found responsible.

Provincial Minister for Information Mr Fayyaz Ul Hassan Chohan while briefing the media said that upon the special directions on the Punjab CM, he reached outside the PIC, as he understood that being most educated segment of society both (lawyers and doctors), the matter will be resolved through his mediation role, but unfortunately, lawyers reciprocally tortured him badly. He also claimed that some of them (lawyers) try to kidnap him. Fortunately, he was removed from mob due to timely intervening of media-men. He asked the police personnel to stop immediately, shelling, teargas-shell to avoid any incident same like Model Town. Information Minister further said he planned a strategy with a police officer to disperse the mob. Finally, they succeeded to disperse the gathering of lawyers through the use of only water cannons. The minister also expressed that he also played a keen role to save the lives of around 10 lawyers who were being tortured by the police and local citizen in a reaction. If he didn’t try to save them, then the consequences to be the difference. Chohan also thanked the media personnel for rescuing him from the mob.

Later on, Punjab Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar chaired a high-level meeting and expressed his severe condemnation over brutal violence committed by lawyers at Punjab Institute of Cardiology. He took notice of this incident also sought a report from CCPO Lahore and Provincial Secretary for Specialized Healthcare & Medical Education. The Chief Minister ordered to investigate the violent incident of lawyers and directed that action should be initiated against those found responsible for creating unrest and violence according to the law as no one is above the law. Such a sorrowful incident occurring in cardiac hospital is highly intolerable, he lamented. Creating obstructions and hurdles in the treatment of patients is an inhuman and criminal act. Punjab government will take strict action against those found responsible, he emphasized. He also constituted an investigation committee headed by Provincial Law Minister Raja Basharat. Provincial Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid, Inspector General Police, Additional Chief Secretary Home and Secretary Specialized Healthcare & Medical Education will be included in the committee.

The committee would conduct an inquiry of violence and destruction committed by lawyers and later submit a report to the Chief Minister. The committee would ascertain those lawyers who committed violence and indiscriminate action would be taken against those who also committed violence in the hospital. He further said that those taking the law into their hands will be brought into the strong grip of law. A highly deplorable and condemnable incident has occurred in the hospital. Usman Buzdar also ordered to take stern legal action against those lawyers who committed violence at PIC.   

While talking to media, PPP senior leader of PPP and renowned lawyer, Aitzaz Ahsan, condemned the lawyer’s violence outside the PIC and said that “shameful act”. He said that should be condemned. After this incident his head is bowed with shame, he said. Atizaz said lawyers destroyed the good reputation of all those lawyers who earned respect during five decades after continued endeavours in this professional including himself. Even in the past during the Restoration of Judiciary Movement, neither any single flowerpot was broken nor carried any stone by the lawyers, he quoted. He expressed that such people cannot gain respect after the attack on the hospital which is dedicated to heart patients.

Later on, Chairman Grand Health Alliance Punjab ((GHAP), Dr Salman Haseeb while talking to media said that they called many times to police, minister health, health department and all others concern authority and informed about the possible situation which had to be faced but all in vain. Only a very few police personnel who were present at PIC gate to tackle the situation but they failed to stop the lawyers at the gate, he asserted. He also criticized the whole functionaries about their least interest into the matters which ultimately faced to healthcare providers as well as to the patients and their attendants. He also made an announcement that PGHA would observe a black day for the next three days as well as protect in all public hospital across the province.

He also warned the Punjab government and gave them an ultimatum of next 24 hours during which if their demands including resignation of the Chief Minister Punjab, Health Minister and Law minister, issuance of security bill ordinance, deployment of Pak Ranger at public hospitals, registered FIRs and cancellation of all lawyers license who were held responsible and their arresting would not be accepted by Punjab Govt. in next two days. Otherwise, it might be utilized other options as like suspension of Indoor, Outdoor and Operations services through a protect call, he warned.

Meanwhile, Secretary (I&C) Punjab, Mr Masood Mukhtar issued a directive to all Admin secretaries, Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners to ensure the protection of Government Properties and buildings in the wake of violent protest by the lawyer’s community. He also directed that appropriate measures/steps be taken to protect buildings and properties of the government.

On the other hands, a large number of people from every walks of life include human right activists, religious scholars, social mobilizers, political leaders, athletes, sport men, students unions, journalists unions, journalist communities, artists, musicians, research scholars, writers, people of civil society, and members of the legal fraternity took to twitter and expressed their concern and called for action to be taken against the lawyers for attacking a hospital.

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