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January 14, 2019

Pandemonium at Civil Hospital as ‘over 15,000’ turn up for job interviews


January 14, 2019

The police and Rangers resorted to baton charge at Dr Ruth KM Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK) on Sunday morning to disperse thousands of job seekers from the entire province who had flocked to the hospital for walk-in interviews for 300 jobs.

Due to overcrowding, a large number of the aspirants could not make it to interviews. The baton charge also caused injuries to some of them.

The administration of Civil hospital had invited applications for 300 lower grade jobs at the hospital and asked the candidates to appear for interviews on Sunday. However, when the hospital staff opened their counters in the morning to register the candidates, they were astonished to see thousands of job aspirants present on the hospital premises, some of whom had spent the night there.

Interestingly, many candidates who had thronged the hospital were graduates and some of them even had masters degrees in natural and social sciences despite the fact that the hospital administration had announced that only matriculation was the required qualification for the jobs in question, which were of between grade 1 and 5.

To register the candidates, the CHK administration had established 12 counters, including seven for male candidates, four for females and one for people with disabilities. However, as the administration faced the unexpected horde of candidates, all the arrangements failed and the scene plunged into chaos with candidates pushing each other to access the registration counters.

“I had managed to reach the Civil Hospital Karachi at around 6 am but there were already a few hundred candidates waiting in the queues since dawn or even last night. By 8 am there were thousands of people who were trying to get in but there was no space left inside the OPD area where registration counters had been established,” Zohaib Alam, one of the candidates, explained.

Some of the aspirants even passed out due to overcrowding. As the administration could not handle the crowd, it had to initially call the police and later, the Rangers to control the situation. The Rangers and police used baton charge to disperse the disorganised crowd, injuring many of the candidates. Later, the job seekers held a protest demonstration against the hospital administration and provincial government.

“When I was trying to get out of the hospital as I was unable to breathe inside the OPD area, hundreds of more candidates were trying to get in. They broke the main gate of the hospital and became extremely unruly, forcing the police to start beating them with batons,” Ahmed Ali, another candidate said. He added that he and one of his friends were beaten up by the police when they tried to escape.

‘Over 15,000 turned up’

The CHK administration claimed that over 15,000 candidates had turned up at the health facility for walk-in interviews.Some of them had even brought their relatives and friends with them.

As the OPD could not accommodate such a large number of candidates, pandemonium broke out and the police had to be called to control the situation.

“The number of candidates who emerged this morning was beyond our expectations and this caused some mismanagement. However, we did our best to control the situation,” said CHK Medical Superintendent (MS) Dr Sabir Memon.

He added that the administration nevertheless managed to interview over 8,000 applicants for 300 jobs of BPS 1 to 5. The MS denied use of force and baton charge by the police. He said law enforcement agencies had been called to control the situation and maintain law and order, adding that by 6 pm, the administration had managed to interview over 8,000 candidates.

Several candidates, especially females and people with disabilities, returned home after chaos and use of force by the police in the morning hours. Disappointed by the episode, some candidates even alleged that the whole exercise was an eyewash as the hospital administration was appointing those who were bribing them.

Former Pakistan Peoples Party MNA from Lyari Shahjahan Baloch on his Facebook page alleged that according to his sources, the hospital administration was demanding Rs250,000 for jobs at the hospital. The hospital sources could not be reached for comments after such allegations surfaced as they were busy with the interviews.

Meanwhile, the CHK administration has also invited online applications for jobs between BPS 5 and 15. Hospital sources said over 38,000 online applications have so far been received for the jobs. They, however, maintained that better arrangements would be made for the job interviews in the future.