LAHORE – Punjab Young Doctors Association continued hunger strike at a camp outside the Services Hospital on second day on Tuesday despite inclement weather.

The hunger strike was made to press for the demands of release of doctors detained after Gujranwala incident, withdrawal of transfer and termination of protesters, provision of free medicine and diagnostic facilities at hospitals, repair of dysfunctional equipment and implementation of service structure. To the negotiation offer of Punjab Health Department, YDA leadership has asked the government team to come to the camp for dialogue.

Over 100 doctors spent night and the whole day at camp without taking anything except plain water. Seven protesting doctors including Dr Usman Dar, Dr Ahmed Badar, Dr Sajid, Dr Ahmed Roy and Dr Usman Lalika were taken to Emergency of Services Hospital after their health deteriorated. Five more doctors were treated at the camp as they refused to leave protesting colleagues under any circumstances. Delegations of Insaf Students Organisation and Pakistan Trade Union visited the camp to express solidarity with protesting doctors.

YDA Spokesman Dr Nasir Abbas said that the hunger strike would continue till death or acceptance of all demands. He said that seven doctors were shifted to Emergency for medical care while some others were provided necessary treatment at the camp. He said that the doctors were determined to continue hunger strike till death or acceptance of demands relating to welfare of patients and the medical community.

Special Assistant to Chief Minister Punjab on Health Kh Salman Rafique said that the government was concerned over hunger strike of a group of young doctors. He said that the government was ready to hold negotiations but the YDA should accept the mistake of torturing seniors in Gujranwala. Referring to the assertion of YDA that it was fighting for the rights of patients, he said that these doctors remained on strike for 37 days to demand service structure and the masses continued to suffer during that period. He said that smooth functioning of hospitals was joint responsibility of the government and doctors.