Doctors in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa continued their strike second day running across the province to protest the KP Health Minister Dr Hisham Inamullah’s highhandedness against Dr Ziaulddin Afridi, a senior faculty member of Khyber Teaching Hospital.
Dr Afridi, was of the view that he wanted to meet Dr Nowsherwan Burki but the latter never gave him time. Burki is a cousin of prime minister Imran Khan and Lady Reading Hospital Board of Governors Chairman. Dr Zia admitted that when Dr Burki refused him audience he felt hurt and hit Burki with eggs as he was chairing a conference. Soon after he was confronted by Dr Inamullah’s guards who allegedly beat him up. Doctors’ associations demand registration of an FIR against the health minister while some have also demanded resignation of Dr Burki. Some doctors said they might consider closing down private clinics if Dr Burki was not removed from his post.
The provincial health minister was of the view that only a handful of doctors are against the reforms the PTI introduced in the health sector as they do not want to work.
In a related incident, another doctor was physically tortured by Town Police in Peshawar when he along with other doctors visited the police station for registration of FIR against the minister and his guards for injuring Dr Afridi. They were released only when some politicians from the opposition parties intervened.
Dr Burki’s appointment has been in the news earlier as well, and people have been pointing out the apparent nepotism in his appointment. Going by the claims, the PTI has been making, no matter how eligible Dr Burki is this appointment needs to be strictly judged against the rules of business. As for the doctors’ protest, patients are suffering as a result of this strike that is getting out of hand with every passing hour. The information minister Shaukat Yousafzai has warned the protestors to call off the strike or face action. A wiser course will be to listen to their demands and find an amicable solution.