Doctors, health care workers arrested in Pakistan for protests over lack of coronavirus safety equipment

Apr 07, 2020

Quetta [Pakistan], April 7 (ANI): Across the world health care workers are first responders and frontline warriors in the battle against COVID-19, however in Pakistan, it is a different story altogether.
Police in Pakistan have arrested doctors and medical personnel who are protesting inadequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and other medical equipment in their battle to contain the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus infection.
According to Pakistan's Young Doctors Association (YDA) president Dr Yasir Achakzai, YDA and paramedical staff in Balochistan staged a protest on Monday against the unavailability of PPEs in their fight against coronavirus, reported Dawn.
They were later baton-charged by security forces and dozens of them were arrested near Red Zone, he alleged.
Razzaq Cheema, Quetta deputy inspector general police, confirmed that police had arrested dozens of protesting doctors which looks like an act of high-handedness.
Following this, YDA announced the withdrawal of services from government hospitals. Khan said, "We suspend all our services following highhandedness of police."
A video allegedly from the protest scene has also emerged as a proof of the arrests.
In a tweet, Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan announced that he met YDA doctors and assured them of his government's full cooperation in their battle against COVID-19 and in meeting their demands.
He tweeted, "I personally gave a sitting and met YDA doctors...and assured we shall solve their contract employees issue, new posts advertized and rest..and assured we are serious in solving rest matters. But, it's inappropriate to lock MS offices and put locks on them."
Khan was joined by PML-N President and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif in condemning police behaviour.
He tweeted, "Strongly condemn the torture & arrest of the doctors & paramedics in Quetta. It belies logic how those at the front lines of the fight for our collective well-being and survival are being humiliated merely for demanding protective kits. Truly shameful behaviour!"
PPP co-chair Bilawal Bhutto Zardari termed the act as "state thuggery" and lashed out at the Imran Khan-led PTI government for the violence against the doctors.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Pakistan on Monday soared past 3,600 with the maximum number of COVID-19 cases being reported from its Punjab province.132 fresh cases have been confirmed on Monday in the Punjab province, taking the provincial tally to 1,816.
Sindh reported 932, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa had 405, Balochistan, 202, Gilgit-Baltistan, 210, Islamabad, 82, and 15 cases were reported in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). (ANI)

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