Gilgit - Baltistan

The doctors’ strike enters the 7th day, health system in Gilgit-Baltistan cripples

Gilgit, January 13: Doctors across the Gilgit-Baltistan have been on strike, demanding pay-raise, at par with doctors working under the Federal government.  The regional chapter of the Pakistan Medical Association had started the strike last Wednesday, after demands of the doctors were not met by the Gilgit-Baltistan government.

Early in December 2013, the doctors had announced a series of activities, to register their protest. They had been going to the hospitals wearing black strips on their arms, as a mark of protest. However, their demands were not met by the Gilgit-Baltistan government, and the doctors decided to close their clinics and OPDs at hospitals across the region. Emergency services at government hospitals were conditionally been kept open by the PMA’s Gilgit-Baltistan chapter.

However, the doctors have threatened to close the emergency services and opt for collective resignation if their demands were not met. “If we are victimized for raising voice for our legitimate demands we will resign collectively”, officials of the  PMA told the media in Skardu, where they had organized a protest demonstration and a rally.

Protest rallies were also held in Diamer district. A large number of doctors also protest in front of the Governor House in Gilgit city. They were holding placards and  chanted slogans in favor of their demands.

The Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan and the Health Minister have urged the doctors to not play with the lives of the patients and wait for fulfillment of their demands. The Chief Minister had also urged the Federal Finance Secretary to release funds for ensuring fulfillment of the doctors’ demands.

Meanwhile, patients are suffering due to absence of the doctors.

It is pertinent to note that the Gilgit-Baltistan government is completely dependent on Islamabad for finances.

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