What Happened in DHQ Gujranwala Today?

by Abdul Majeed

Today, on 2nd January 2013, there was a scuffle in District Head Quarter Hospital(DHQ), Gujranwala between doctors and Medical Superintendent, the administrative In-charge of the Hospital. Later on, there was a fight between doctors and Media personnel as well. As a result of this brouhaha, Medical Superintendent, Dr Anwar Amanullah got injured. This news has been highlighted throughout the day by Pakistan’s electronic media and some of the twitterati have taken to criticizing doctors and YDA for its ‘Badmaashi’ tactics. A province-wise strike of OPDs(Out Patient Departments-where stable patients are treated) has been called by the Young Doctors Association Punjab. I took it upon myself to find what ACTUALLY happened as I don’t trust anything reported by our erstwhile media unless confirmed by Independent sources. As it turns out, Pakistan’s rogue media played its favorite game: providing selective information and reaching conclusions based on them. There is much more to this whole story than has been reported till now.

There has been an ongoing dispute between doctors working at DHQ Gujranwala and the MS. The issue is renewal of contracts for doctors(which are renewed each year-something that was demanded to be abolished by YDA in its demand for service structure) working at the hospital. The MS, in typical bureaucratic style has been denying doctors new contracts for the last two months. A few days ago, the few people who still had their jobs, got their pays, with massive exemptions,on false pretexts like Mess Charges, Conveyance Charges etc. In such atmosphere, dispute was inevitable. Talks about this issue were ongoing for the last two days. Today, even the Assistant Commissioner of the area intervened and things were close to getting sorted out. According to my sources, the impetus for a physical fight was provided by a certain local journalist named ‘Shafqat Imran'(Correspondent for Geo TV-No surprises there btw) and it ended with a scuffle between doctors and Media Personnel. As a result of this, many doctors were brutally beaten(including one who had injury to his spinal cord and is in an ICU in Lahore right now). That part was not shown by our erstwhile media. The morality of our impartial media perhaps finishes when it comes to one of their own. The videos that are circulating on the internet all show doctors as the accusers. Interestingly, a Geo TV video clip shows a doctor getting beaten up and the frame moves to a different shot within a second. We have not forgotten the role of this very media(accepting hundreds of millions for false advertisements against doctors) in our previous strikes. I do not endorse physical violence by anyone; doctor or not, but I am all for a holistic view of things. YDA and all doctors are not angels but if you slap someone in the face, you should be ready for a punch in your face. In this chaotic society, a single flare of disagreement can lead to major fights, so incidents like these are not exceptional.

I am writing all this just to get some facts clear. I don’t demand sympathy for either YDA or the MS or the corrupt media. This is simply a symptom of how dead our society has become and how there is no light at the end of the tunnel(or to quote Masood Hasan Sb: There is no Tunnel either).
Doctors are leaving this country in droves, like any sensible person would. Many, like myself, are considering change of profession. This nation doesn’t deserve Messiahs, it deserves Quacks, which is all it would get, in a few years time. Let our children die of Polio, Let our patients die of water-borne illnesses, Why Care?

P.S. Political Figures like Maryam Nawaz and Bloggers/Twitterati should know better than jumping on the bandwagon of “Qaatil Qaatil , Doctor Qaatil” without considering the other side of the story.

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