Gilgit: A group of contractual medical practitioners gathered recently before the Gilgit Press Club in Gilgit city to protest and demand that their jobs be regularised.
The gathering included medical specialists and new appointees, who claimed that they have been working relentlessly for years for the people and the state not knowing whether they will get their salaries on time. They said they have remained victims of Pakistan’s indifferent attitude.
One contractual doctor said, “There are around 90 G-B (Gilgit-Baltistan) domicile holders out of 120 who have come here. There are a few from KPK (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and Punjab as well. There are some new appointees as well, many of them have completed two to three years in service, yet, they have not been regularised. What we are demanding is that there should be a one-time solution to the issue and that these doctors should be regularised as there is a need for it. Hospitals are not being able to meet requirements, there are hospitals where there is a requirement for at least four doctors and we have only one.”
Islamabad has denied these doctors their basic rights in spite of them working in the most treacherous and inhumane conditions. The local government which is hand in glove with the federal administration has been complicit in the systematic suppression of these doctors and has made no tangible efforts to support the cause of these lifesavers.
Another contractual doctor said, “Contractual doctors are working everywhere; you can take an example of Gultari in Skardu district which remains closed for around eight months in a year. DHQ Skardu and DHQ Gilgit are running on the services of contract doctors only, whether it is the specialist cadre or a medical officer. Medical officers in Astore and Ghanche are also not regularized. So, we have gathered here (Gilgit Press Club) to discuss the issue.”
A third doctor said, “(There are many) doctors who have been working here since 2012 and the list includes dental doctors, medical officers, lady medical doctors, medical specialists and cardiologists. The government has not been acting on their demands. It has repeatedly been making promises, but not fulfilling them. We just want these doctors to be regularised and the department to work properly.”
These protesting medicos claimed that they have already faced innumerable hindrances before making the cut to become doctors for the government, and now, are being subjected to unethical and immoral practices after finding jobs.
For decades now, no government in Gilgit-Baltistan has provided benefits to local residents and they continue to suffer at the hands of a suppressive regime. The health sector too has crumbled owing to a lack of facilities and there being no permanent medical staff at hospitals in the region. (ANI)