PM signs summary separating PIMS from SZABMU, but protests continue

ISLAMABAD: Though Prime Minister (PM) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has signed the summary for the restoration of the status of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) hospital, the poor patients will continue to suffer because the hospital employees have yet to end their protest sit-in.

The employees of PIMS continued their protests for the 11th consecutive day and vowed that their protest would continue until the government accepted their one-point agenda of separating PIMS from the Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University (SZABMU). Owing to the ongoing protest by the medical and para-medical staff of PIMS, the patients had been passing through a great ordeal due to unavailability of medical staff inside the wards.

Sensing that the situation was getting out of hand, PM Abbasi took timely action and approved the placement of the proposed draft bill to amend the Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University Act 2013.

According to the summary, a copy of which is available with Pakistan Today, “The PM has seen, and in his capacity as minister In-charge of the Cabinet Secretariat, has been pleased to approve the placement of the proposed draft bill to amend the Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University Act 2013 (Annex-X) on priority agenda of the Cabinet Committee for Disposal of Legislative Cases (CCLC).”

However, the protesting employees have termed the move as a mere diversion, stating that the official move to send the case to the cabinet after the prime minister signed a summary in this connection, was evidence of the government’s shallow attitude towards this issue.

Talking to Pakistan Today, the PIMS Employees Association spokesperson Dr Asfandyar Khan, said that the employees would continue their protest till the acceptance of their demands. He said that in the past the government had followed the same tactics without finding a solution to the problem.

Talking to this scribe, a protestor said that they did not trust the government as about one year ago, the Capital Administration and Development Division minister, while inaugurating a new medical test collection centre in pathology department of PIMS, had said that the prime minister had approved the summary of separating PIMS from SZABMU. But the matter is yet to be resolved, he added.

The protestors alleged that ever since the merger was completed, most of the resources were being shifted to the university, which led to the increase in prices of tests and medicines, thus multiplying the woes of poor patients admitted in the hospital.

Dr Asfandyar said that the PIMS employees have given a three-day deadline to officials concerned to resolve the issue or else they would shut the Polyclinic and National Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine (NIRM) hospitals, till their demands were accepted.

The ongoing strike has brought activities in the hospital to a standstill since the last 11 days, because the outpatient departments, clinical services and scheduled surgeries have been suspended, while only the emergency services are functional.



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