Docs in Pak to get guns for self-defence

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KARACHI: An alarming rise in the trend of abductions and killings of doctors for ransom across Pakistan, has led to the decision to provide all medical doctors with arms licences and training to handle weapons in Karachi.

The News quotes senior journalist- Kamran Khan as saying on Geo News channel, a private TV network in Pakistan, that the biggest victims of the lawlessness in Karachi today are the doctors- 130 doctors were killed in Karachi and 150 kidnapped over the past two years, he said. Terrorist organisations use target killers, who send warning notes demanding money and threaten of deadly consequences in case of refusal. The criminals never shy of carrying out their threats he said.

Kamran Khan said that in one such incident on Tuesday night- 18th Mar 2014, a doctor, Shaukat Ali Miani, was shot dead in Azizabad. The community of doctors is extremely perturbed and many have lost the courage to run private clinics. Sectarian terrorism against the doctors is not confined to Karachi alone. Doctors were targeted last month in Lahore and in other cities. Doctors are the easiest target for sectarian terrorism because they interact with a lot of people Khan said on his show.

A leader of the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), Dr Qaiser Sajjad, said on the programme that doctors sometimes receive threatening calls from foreign countries, including South Africa. Callers order doctors to deposit money into a certain bank account or threaten them with adverse consequences like murder or kidnapping. He said even now, two doctors are being held hostage. Dr Qaiser Sajjad said that in such circumstances, doctors have stopped going to their clinics, many have left the country and many others are planning to leave.

The News reports that a high-level meeting was held between senior officials of the PMA and DG Rangers, Major General Rizwan Akhtar at the Rangers Headquarters on Wednesday, 19th Mar 2014. After discussions over the increasing threats and harassment being faced by the medical community, it was agreed that immediate steps must be taken to improve both personal and state protection of doctors. These measures include complete facilitation of all doctors applying for arms licences. They will also be given proper training to handle guns and be allowed to carry their weapons without any legal or administrative hindrances.

The Sindh Rangers will be training doctors to use their fire-arms and they will also set up an anti-extortion cell at the Pakistan Medical Association or PMA House. A special Rangers cell will also be started at the PMA’s main office- dedicated to deal with extortion calls or threats to doctors. This cell will function round-the-clock and also be networked with the police. Smaller networks will be established across the city which will connect directly to the PMA cell. Doctors have also been advised to install CCTV cameras at clinics and hospitals.

On his show, `Aaj Kamran Khan Kay Sath’ Kamran Khan also spoke about the case of the 35 missing persons which is before the Supreme Court. The apex court was running out of patience in the matter and was about to have the instructions written, when the attorney general requested the court to give the government some more time after which another 24 hours were given to investigators, he said. Justice Jawad S Khawaja is expected to issue, contempt of court notices to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak and to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor in this regard.

Kamran Khan said that another meeting to take stock of the country’s internal security situation was held on Wednesday, 19th Mar 2014, in the backdrop of direct talks between the government and the Taliban scheduled to begin in the next few days. Trans Asia News

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