AWP stands with the doctors of Balochistan, as well as healthcare providers across the country, and particularly in under-serviced regions like Gilgit-Baltistan
The Awami Workers Party (AWP) has condemned in the strongest possible terms the arrest of young doctors after subjecting them under brutal physical assault by police in Quetta for demanding personal protection equipment (PPE) so as to equip themselves adequately against the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The AWP has demanded their immediate release and an unconditional apology by the authorities for reprehensible repression against the health professionals that is, across the world, acknowledged as a singularly most important force in the struggle against COVID19.
In a joint press statement issued by the AWP President Yousuf Mustikhan and Secretary-General Akhtar Hussain Advocate termed the use of force against doctors and para-medical staff who were demanding the provision of protective equipment and their arrests a shameful act and state repression.
“While the whole world is acknowledging the sacrifices of doctors, nurses and other medical staff who are fighting against the deadly virus on the frontline, in Pakistan they are baton-charged, humiliated and put behind bars which show the callousness, insensitivity and incompetence of our ruling class and bureaucracy.
Various countries are providing financial incentives and protective equipment to their medical professionals, in our country they are baton-charged, dragged on the streets and tortured, the two leaders said.
Two doctors and a number of health workers have already lost their lives in Gilgit-Baltistan, Sindh and Punjab while providing treatment to people infected by COVID-19.
They questioned the rulers about the cash and consignments of essential equipment given by our friend China to help Pakistan. Why those protective gears, gloves and masks are not given to the doctors?
The AWP leaders said, instead of supporting doctors, nurses and other essential workers by procuring PPEs and diverting all non-productive state expenditures towards the public health emergency, the government is offering property developers incentives to whitewash ill-gotten wealth in the name of stimulating the construction sector.
Recent disclosures about sugar and wheat mafias with close links to the governing confirm that the serious lack of political will by the ruling elite at a time when there is a need to redress the long-term structural deficiencies in the welfare apparatus of the state.
The AWP stands with the doctors of Balochistan, as well as healthcare providers across the country, and particularly in under-serviced regions like Gilgit-Baltistan as well as rural areas of the four provinces, the statement said.
“Our volunteers remain committed to doing what they can to help supply PPEs, as well as rations and other forms of support to struggling working people everywhere.”
However, the pandemic exposes the criminal neglect of health, education, housing and other sectors through which the basic needs of Pakistan’s people are met, and the continuing capture of the state and ostensibly public resources by the military and civil elite.
The use of force against doctors in Quetta is one of many such instances in recent days where law enforcement officers mandated with protecting the people have been guilty of visiting repression on them instead.
“We call on all pro-people, democratic political forces along with the citizenry at large to come together to address the immediate crisis at hand and to build popular power for the transformation of state and society moving forward.
The two leaders asked the Balochistan government to release the doctors and accept all their demands and punish all police personnel involved in the torture of the doctors.
Issued by: Information secretary