Chitral: Doctor backed by MNA has been absent from duty for six years

Report Gul Hamaad Farooqui

Chitral, November 9: While there has been public outcry over shortage of doctors and other facilities in Chitral, most of the issues stem from mismanagement and political interference in the working of the hospitals in the public sector.

A similar situation exists at the Tehsil Headquarters (THQ) Hospital  Drosh.  People of the area have been up in arms against unavailability of medical officers and specialist doctors at the only hospital in the town for more than 100000 population where patients also come across the border. The government says that there is acute shortage of doctors as medical practitioners do not want to serve in rural areas and prefer to work in urban areas. There are also 90 vacant posts of doctors in different health centers in Chitral. Despite this, however, an influential doctor posted to the THQ hospital of Drosh has been drawing salary without performing duty for the last over six years. It seems there is no system and authority to even ask him why he is not attending patients at his hometown and availing of all the facilities, including occupying a government house.

When medical superintendent of the THQ hospital, Dr Fazale Rabbani, was contacted, he confirmed that Dr Bakhtiar Uddin was posted at the hospital only on paper but was not performing duty. The MS said he had been working in the hospital for the last two to three years but during this period he had never seen Dr Bakhtiar Uddin on duty in the hospital.

“When I took over the charge of the hospital, Dr Bakhtiar Uddin was marked absent in the hospital but later he used to visit the hospital and by force marked his attendance by overwriting on the register,” Dr Rabbani added. But for the last many months, Dr Bakhtiar has not come to the hospital even to mark his attendance, he said.

The MS also said that Dr Bakhtiar had occupied a house on the premises of the hospital even though he had his own house in the Drosh town.

The MS said he had already reported the prolonged absence of Dr Bakhtiar to the district health officer Chitral. He said more than that, he was unable to take any action against the absent doctor.

When contacted, District Health officer Dr Israrullah also expressed his inability to take action against the doctor. He said he could only submit a report to the provincial director general health or at a maximum to the health secretary but it was up to the higher authorities to take action in this regard.

People of the Drosh town told this correspondent that the doctor belonged to a political family of Chitral and that was the reason he had avoided action for his prolonged absenteeism so far.

Local people complained that in past his brother Shahzada Muhayuddin was Member National Assembly and now his nephew Shahzada Iftikharuddin is MNA that is why  health department is helpless to take any action against Dr. Bakhtiaruddin for his prolong absence from duty.

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