LAHORE – After talks with Special Assistant to Punjab Chief Minister on Health Kh Salman Rafiq, the Punjab Paramedics Alliance (PPA) has announced putting off sit-in scheduled for January 22 outside the CM Secretariat.
The PPA delegation, comprising Malik Munir, Sultam Mahmood Bhatti, Khalid Mehmood, Shoaib Anwar, Akbar Javed, Yousaf Awan, Aneesur Rehman, Ashraf Khokhar, Maqbool Tiwana, Ashiq Ghous and Dilawar Hussain, held talks with Rafiq and Health Department officials over the issue of service structure.
Rafiq urged the paramedics to postpone sit in as the government was making efforts for issuance of notification at the earliest. After mutual discussion, the PPA leadership announced postponing the sit-in.
The paramedics have raised the demand for revised service structure, health professional allowance and regularisation of ad hoc employees.
On December 6, Jail Road turned into a battlefield 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.
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.