LAHORE – Jail Road turned into a battlefield on Wednesday when police stopped paramedics from marching towards GOR to stage a a  sit in outside the Chief Minister House to press their demand for service structure.

Police batoncharged protesting paramedics and arrested 11 protesters near Punjab Institute of Cardiology when they tried to march towards their destination.

The protesting paramedics exchanged harsh words with deployed policemen and responded in same vein to the baton charge. The police took the arrested paramedics to the Shadman and Ghalib Market police stations and detained them.

On the information of police torture on their colleagues, the paramedics of all the public sector hospitals stopped work. They started agitation for the release of their colleagues. Dozens of paramedics blocked Lahore Canal near Jinnah Hospital where they staged sit-in to protest the arrests.

Meanwhile, the paramedics from various hospitals of the city started arriving PIC to further put pressure on the government for release of their colleagues.

The Young Doctors Association Punjab leaders also condemned arrests and torture on the paramedics. YDA spokesman Dr Mudassar warned of strike at the OPDs of all the teaching hospitals if the arrested paramedics were not released within 48 hours. He also asked the government to accept legitimate demands of the agitating paramedics.

On the pressure by the medical community and the paramedics, Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Health Kh Salman Rafique and Health Department senior officials reached the PIC and assured the paramedics of immediate release of their arrested colleagues.

In the evening, police released all the arrested paramedics including PPA chairman Malik Munir who vowed to continue agitation for the rightful demands.

Malik Munir said the lower cadre employees of hospitals were protesting for many years for a service structure, health professional allowance and regularization of adhoc employees. He said the Chief Minister had promised to fulfill their demand five month backs but the bureaucracy in health and finance department was using delaying tactics.

Kh Salman Rafique will hold a meeting with PPA leadership on Thursday (today) to discuss the issue of service structure.