LHC orders protesting doctors, paramedics to end strike

LHC suspends ECP's order of de-notifying 43 PTI lawmakers

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday ordered postgraduate training doctors – who were protesting against Medical Teaching Institutions (MTI) Act and possible privatisation of the hospitals – to end their strike by noon today and banned their strikes in the future.
Justice Jawad Hassan presided over hearing of a petition filed by advocate Azhar Sadiq, and remarked that in case doctors refuse to follow the court’s orders, they would go to jail for the contempt of court.
“The doctors in uniform instead of being present in the courtrooms should be [treating patients] in hospitals,” he said.
The petition had made the provincial government of the Punjab and others parties in the case against doctors, while complaining that patients, including those who had come from far-flung areas, had been undergoing severe difficulties in getting appropriate treatment.
As the hearing of the petition resumed, Justice Jawad asked representatives of the protesting doctors that why they went on strike as only ordinance was introduced yet and no law was legislated?
“Until legislation is performed, the strike is unreasonable the new draft should be made in consultation with all stakeholders,” he added.
“Professionals need to serve the society the court will also take into account the future of the strike,” the judge added, while warning that the situation would lead to severe consequences for the doctors if they choose to continue strike.
“In the light of the Law, the doctors can’t go on strike,” he pointed out.
Responding to the court’s displeasure, a lawyer representing the doctors told the court that they would follow its order and end the strike today for imparting a positive impression.
The doctors present in the courtroom assured the court that they respect the judiciary and that they were standing by the court’s side.
Importantly, the court also ordered the health secretary to initiate consultation with all stakeholders to resolve their concerns about the ordinance.
Besides, the court has sought a report in writing regarding the ending of protest by the doctors.
Earlier, the judge remarked: “We will issue the detailed order today only cowards speak loudly I speak of the law and will ensure its implementation.”
The court further directed the health secretary to hold a workshop with all stakeholders including young protesting doctors.
The court also observed that it was a failure of the health secretary to delay the matter. “Until all stakeholders sit together and talk, the matter won’t be resolved.”
Scores of doctors were present outside the court during the hearing.
Yesterday, the judge expressed strong anger over postgraduate training doctors for suspending treatment to patients and not appearing in the hearing today despite of court’s orders.
Justice Jawad Hassan had presided over hearing of a petition against protesting doctors and remarked: “I will see which doctor refuses treatment to patients we will direct crackdown against protesting doctors today.”
“There is no concept of doctors going on strike all over the world who gives license to these doctors?” the court had asked.
Health department officials had told the court that the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) issues license to the medical practitioners.


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