Islamabad:The 57th day of the ongoing protest being staged by employees of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) was action-packed.
Senator Rehman Malik turned up at the protest ground, urging PIMS employees to knock on the doors of the Supreme Court for reversal of the government’s ‘atrocious’ decision regarding implementation of the Medical Teaching Institutes (MTI) Ordinance; the leadership of the Grand Health Alliance (GHA) had a meeting with the Speaker of the National Assembly, who assured that a bill that does not incorporate the demands of PIMS employees will not be tabled; and finally, a brief interaction with Maryam Nawaz also materialized amidst assurances that her party would side with PIMS employees. She also asked for a copy of the Act.
Addressing the protestors, Rehman Malik termed the privatisation of PIMS as unfortunate and unacceptable. “My party and I will stand by your side till you get you rights. You should also go to the Supreme Court against this atrocity. In December, as Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior, I took notice of the privatisation of PIMS, which is a violation of the Pakistan Service Act. The privatisation of PIMS will affect families of doctors, nurses, paramedics, and other employees. The Senate Standing Committee on Interior will take legal action against this politically motivated decision and will hold a public hearing on the issue,” Rehman Malik stated.
The GHA leadership also met with the Speaker of the National Assembly in his chamber; he told the protestors to rest assured that a bill that does not reflect the aspirations of PIMS employees will not be tabled. Moreover, the Deputy Chairman of the Senate Saleem Madviwala also assured GHA that the PM’s Special Assistant on Health Dr. Faisal Sultan would address the issue soon. The GHA’s Chairman Dr. Asfandyar also conveyed the employee’s point of view to Maryam Nawaz Sharif, who assured that she would read the Act and support PIMS employees.
Delivering a speech at the protest ground, Dr. Asfandyar Khan said, the government will have to surrender sooner or later. “It would have been better if the government withdrew the Ordinance and sat with the stakeholders for finalization of reforms, but Dr. Nausherwan Burki’s interference is destroying everything,” he alleged.
The GHA’s Spokesperson Dr. Hyder Abbasi pointed out that with the placement of medical colleges under MTI, the very existence of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University is at risk. “There is a lot of unrest among students also. The government should revert this Ordinance,” he urged.
Prof. Naeem Malik, Dr. Faiz Achakzai, Dr. Tahir Abbas, Dr. Urooj, Sharif Khattak, Sheikh Nadeem, and Tanvir Noshahi, among others, also addressed the crowd. With the government showing no signs of surrendering to the demands of PIMS employees, the opposition is gaining maximum mileage by supporting the protestors, forgetting the multiple occasions when similar protests were staged in their tenures.