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Agencies
December 12, 2019

Three patients die as lawyers storm Lahore hospital

Top Story

A
Agencies
December 12, 2019

By News Desk

ISLAMABAD: At least three heart patients died on Wednesday after a group of lawyers attacked doctors at a cardiac hospital in Lahore, officials and ministers said.

“Three patients including an elderly woman died after doctors failed to provide them timely treatment and remained engaged in averting the assault,” Punjab health minister Yasmeen Rashid said at a televised press conference here.

A group of more than 200 lawyers, who had ongoing issues with the doctors of the Punjab Institute of Cardiology, stormed the hospital, vandalising property and damaging dozens of vehicles of visitors and setting ablaze a police van, Rashid said.

Authorities said tension had been brewing between the city’s lawyers and medics since last month, when one Lahore lawyer complained that doctors mistreated him when he took an ailing relative to the hospital. It was unclear what the alleged mistreatment involved. Wednesday’s violence was apparently triggered by video clips some doctors had made ridiculing the lawyers.

Punjab Information Minister Fayyaz-ul-Hassan who arrived at the hospital to mediate was also thrashed by angry lawyers. “Hospitals are not attacked even when there is a war but today lawyers attacked a hospital and caused problems for the patients,” he said. He said a group of lawyers also tried to kidnap him when he reached the hospital. “Now the situation is under our control,” he added.

Private television channels showed live footage of the scuffles from the scene where some of the lawyers were also seen brandishing pistols. Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat said: “This was kind of a high-handedness which none of civilised societies can tolerate.”

Prime Minister Imran Khan, who ordered an inquiry into the incident, directed the provincial government to take stern action against all those involved in the attack. “Several lawyers have been identified from the television footage and the government will deal with all those involved in the attack with an iron hand,” Basharat said.

Police later detained several lawyers on charges related to damaging hospital property, beating up doctors and clashing with hospital guards and police.

Later, the paramilitary Rangers were deployed at important locations of the city. According to the interior ministry, 10 platoons and two companies of the paramilitary force had been deployed in the city, Geo News reported.

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