PHC grants bail to detained doctors, directs FIA to probe torture

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Staff Reporter

Peshawar

The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Friday, through a short order, directed the government to release all doctors and paramedical staffers detained under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) Ordinance against surety bonds worth Rs50,000 each as well as written assurances of good conduct.
The detained health practitioners will also have to furnish an undertaking about resuming duties in their respective hospitals as well as provide two personal sureties before their release, according to the court order.
On September 27, 16 health practitioners had been arrested in Peshawar.
Police had resorted to tear gas shelling and launched a baton charge in the premises of the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) in order to disperse doctors who had gathered there to protest against the Regional and District Health Authorities Act, 2019.
The high court Friday also directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to probe the alleged torture of doctors in Peshawar. The director general of the FIA was directed to submit a detailed inquiry report to the PHC deputy registrar within 14 days.
Earlier in the day, Additional Advocate General Qaiser Shah had told the court that on the day of the clashes, the district administration had imposed Section 144 within the hospital premises on the request of the Lady Reading Hospital administration.
The lawyers for the doctors, on the other hand, told the court that doctors and other staffers had only been gathering to devise their future course of action when the police cracked down.
PHC Chief Justice Waqar Ahmed Saith asked under which law the doctors had refused to provide treatment to patients. He remarked that the government’s attitude towards the issue had also been inappropriate.
The PHC chief justice also reminded the AG to produce a record of the destruction of public property during the incident.
“You did a grave injustice by torturing educated people,” he reprimanded the official.