The Sindh Grand Health Alliance (GHA) withdrew its call to close emergency services at government hospitals from Kashmore to Karachi after police released their female members who had been arrested during protest in Karachi. However, they continued their protest outside the Karachi Press Club even as the government lodged an FIR against several members of the alliance whom it claimed had attacked police.
The arrested health workers were released after the protesters moved to demonstrate outside the Artillery Police Station in Karachi where most of the arrested suspects were held. The health workers demanded that the police release their comrades.Despite the release of the detained health workers, they vowed to continue their protest for the fulfillment of their demands.
Young doctors, paramedical staff and nurses across Sindh, have been protesting for the provision of Sindh Risk Allowance for more than three weeks. Parliamentary Secretary Health Muhammad Qasim Soomro while talking to the media said that the protest of GHA for 26 days is immoral as there is no justification for their protest and it should end immediately. He added that the patients in the hospitals are facing severe difficulties.
He further said that they were trying to resolve the issues as soon as possible through discussions. He claimed that 300 to 400 of our health workers had been detained after which no one contacted them for further negotiations. Shahid Iqbal demanded that the government resolve the issue amicably through dialogue instead of forcing poor patients to suffer due to the closure of OPDs and routine operations in government hospitals. An FIR was also registered against leaders of GHA on behalf of the state for attacking police and other state functionaries.
The FIR was filed against GHA leaders Ajaz Kaleri and Sulaiman Memon. They were booked under sections Sections 149, 147, 427, 186 and 337-A of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). Section 147: Punishment for rioting: Whoever is guilty of rioting, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.