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Doctors, paramedics observe strike against MTI Act

By Our Correspondent
October 11, 2019

MULTAN: Medical services remained suspended at the Nishtar Hospital Multan and other south Punjab public hospitals due to strike of the Grand Health Alliance on Thursday.

All doctors, paramedics and nurses observed the strike against privatisation of public hospitals.

The protesting health professionals threatened encircling the Punjab Assembly in protest to protect their rights. All the employees of different sections of the hospitals, including OPD, operation theatres, laboratories, X-ray section, ultrasound and radiology, observed a complete strike against privatization of public hospitals. Hundreds of patients suffered because of the protest. Office-bearers of the GHA said that the government was privatising all government hospitals under the Medical Teaching Institutes (MTI) Reforms Act, under which hospitals would operate autonomously and their administration and financing would be full of political interference. The GHA members said that the strike would continue on daily basis from Friday until the government would not withdraw from the decision. The protesters said that if the hospitals were given under private ownership, they would increase medical fees. The doctors feared that they would not have job security and the new management would impose strict rules on them. The protestors warned the government to refrain from touching the civil servant laws and resolve all the issues faced by the employees. They warned closer of all departments on taking action by the government against health professionals on strike.

The protesting doctors vowed to continue their strike to refrain the government enforcing the cruel reforms that would deprive poor people from free health services. They unanimously rejected converting regular jobs of health professionals into contractual ones. The government had deceived over Medical Teaching Institutions Act against the commitments of consulting health professionals.

The health professionals said that the government should provide relief to common person and working doctors instead of snatching bread and butter from them. The health professionals said that majority of public hospitals had been established on public donation and the government had no right to privatise hospitals established on public donations. The protesters demanded Prime Minister Imran Khan intervene into the matter and save the future of public hospitals instead of depriving poor people form free and cheap medical treatment. Meanwhile, the Nishtar Health University has started preparing lists of doctors observing strikes as the Punjab government has decided dealing with doctors with irons hands, an official said at the Nishtar Hospital.

‘businessmen need single tax system’: The Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry has urged the government to ease business environment and utility tariff and mark-up rates must be reduced to cut the cost of production. Addressing the members of the Executive Committee, MCCI president Sheikh Fazal Elahi said that Pakistan had all resources to become an economic leader. Economic situation would be quite good once ease of doing business was improved in Pakistan, he assured.

He said that importance of business could not be undermined for economic development as it provides jobs to the growing population, generate revenue and attract foreign investment to the country which not only provides employment but also brings new technologies. The MCCI chief said that they need a simple, transparent and single tax system to build public confidence in its taxation regime for encouraging foreign investment so that taxpayers could understand what they were paying for and they should also be helped understand the benefits of paying taxes. He was of the view that there were different tax rates at federation and provinces level that were creating problems for business community and emphasised that government should make changes in this system across the country.

He said that the government should ensure better benefits, incentives and respect for taxpayers that would help expanding tax base in the country. Sheikh Fazal Elahi while commenting on the demands of traders said that the government must redress their grievances in the larger national interest. He said that the MCCI had done a lot of work for ease of doing business. The MCCI had already started work on EODB and brought this important factor to main streamline. They urged making collective efforts to become economically strong country. Senior Vice President Mian Rashid Iqbal, Khawaja Muhammad Yousaf, Mian Tanvir Sheikh, Farid Mughees Sheikh, Ishtiaq Chughtai, Muhammad Sarfraz, Muhammad Khan, Khawaja Badar Munir, Khawaja Muhammad Usman, Khawaja Muhammad Hussain, Sheikh Muhammad Amjad, Iftikhar Ali Shah, Aqil Ijaz Ansari, Azhar Baloch, Khawaja Riaz, Sheikh Faheem Sattar, Malik Shakil Arain, Sheikh Muhammad Yasin, Abdul Rehman Qureshi and Khawaja Mansoor Ahmed also attended the event.

Four petrol pumps sealed: As many as four petrol pumps were sealed allegedly over tampering data meters and overcharging customers in different parts of city here on Thursday.

A team of district administration led by AC City Qazi Mansoor on the direction of DC Amir Khattak conducted raids on tip-off at petrol pumps running at Old Shujabad Road, Bahawalpur bypass, Vehari Chowk and Babar intersection. All fuel sale points were collectively fined over Rs135,000.

2 suspects held during search operation: Police arrested two suspects during house-to-house search operation launched here at two different police station areas on Wednesday night, police said on Thursday.According to sources, the police team cordoned the area and blocked the traffic on the road passing through the areas of Bawa Safra, Mohallah Khawajawala and Nalla Wali Muhammad respectively in premises of Lohari Gate and Haram Gate police stations. Police teams combed the area and targeted dozens of houses and make biometric identification of 89 people.