GILGIT (ET): The doctors’ strike in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) entered its fifth day on Sunday, compounding the miseries of patients in the region. The strike started on Wednesday after the government failed to address doctors’ demands of bringing salaries and perks at par with medical professionals employed by the federal government.
“The strike will go on till our demands are accepted,” said Dr Ghulam Haider of the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) in G-B.
As part of the action, doctors stopped treating patients in private clinics as well as government hospitals in Diamer, Hunza-Nagar, Astore valleys, among others. However, emergency and operation services are operational at government hospitals – doctors have threaten to boycott these in the coming week if their demands remain ignored.
In addition, medical professionals also threatened to protest outside the governor’s office to mount pressure on the government.
Locals claim at least one child died at City Hospital for want of treatment while the boycott was underway.
Chief Minister (CM) Mehdi Shah has sought support from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders to convince doctors to resume work. Fida Nashad of PML-N was one of the party members contacted by the CM for support. “Nashad hasn’t replied to CM’s request,” said a PML-N spokesman.
Minister for Health Gulbar Khan shared Rs500 million has been sought from the federal government for the region’s doctors. “Doctors are aware of this, but instead of showing some patience, they have resorted to boycotting work, which was uncalled for,” said the minister, explaining the financial constraints of his government.