LHC orders doctors to call off strike, directs Punjab govt to address concerns – Pakistan

Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday, while ordering young doctors to resume their medical duties immediately, rebuked the secretary of the Punjab Department of Medical Care and Specialized Medical Education, Momin Agha, for the government's delay in Address the concerns of doctors.

Judge Jawad Hassan issued the order while listening to a petition filed by lawyer Azhar Siddique against a medical strike, which had been ongoing for 29 days to date. The strike had been called by young doctors against the promulgation of the Ordinance of the Pakistan Medical Commission, 2019.

During the hearing, Agha informed the court that the government had set up a committee yesterday to discuss the matter. Judge Hassan rebuked the secretary, asking him why the committee was formed yesterday when the strike had been ongoing since early October.

Meanwhile, the doctors' lawyer opposed the committee, noting that it does not include any representative of the striking doctors. The court confirmed the objection and ordered the provincial government to include in the committee the president of the Young Physicians Association (YDA), Dr. Qasim Awan and the Secretary General, Dr. Salman Hafeez, his lawyer Abid Saqi and Dr Ali Race of YDA.

Judge Hassan ordered the committee to hold consultative workshops on the matter and take into consideration all interested parties, including doctors.

Meanwhile, the court prevented the government from taking action against the protesting doctors. To this, the secretary informed the court that a justified cause notice had already been issued for some people, to which the court said doctors would have to send their answers.

Judge Hassan also reprimanded the doctors for their strike. He commented that professionals are subject to some rules and regulations and reminded their lawyers that the Supreme Court had already issued a ruling on such strikes.

In response, doctors assured Judge Hassan that court orders on the strike will be followed in letter and spirit.

Judge Hassan also offered that, at a later date, the court can issue a detailed judgment on the rules for strikes organized by professionals.

The court will resume hearing the case on December 2.


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