LAHORE: A large group of lawyers recently protested outside Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC). The protest was against a ‘mocking’ viral video that provoked legal fraternity. The protest however turned into chaos when several lawyers attacked the PIC, ransacked the hospital wards and operation theatres and tortured the staff and visitors.
The protesters were ‘avenging’ a group of lawyers who were beaten up at PIC few weeks back. The lawyers had a tiff with the staff of PIC over a minor dispute. As shown in the viral video, a doctor was seen narrating an encounter of those lawyers with the Inspector General (IG) of Police. The IG refused lawyers complaint to press charge against the ‘two doctors’. He wanted to ‘save his face’.
Lawyers, clad in their black uniforms initially blocked the entry and exit points of the hospital, which led to a violent scuffle between the staff and lawyers. The protesters damaged equipment inside and broke windows of the hospitals and of the parked cars as well.
Staff of the hospital and patients had to run to save themselves. Amidst all this chaos, at least three patients lost their lives and several others were injured. Bushra Bibi was also among the deceased, whose death was confirmed by her son present on the scene. Young Doctors Association (YDA) claimed that at least 12 patients had died during the violent clashes. Dr Salman Haseeb, Chairman Grand Health Alliance (GHA) said that the number of deceased could increase as some patients were left unattended after the lawyers barged inside emergency wards. Some of the protesters fired gunshots and pelted arriving police with stones and bricks.
Police used tear gas and resorted to baton charges in an attempt to disperse the lawyers. Lahore DIG Operations, who had also arrived at the hospital, said that those who took law in their hands would be dealt strongly.
Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Minister Usman Buzdar took notice of the incident as the report of the violent protest hit the airwaves.
The chief minister ordered an investigation into the attack and summoned a report from the Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO).
The Punjab government also summoned extra troops of Rangers personnel to maintain law and order.
Following the protest, doctors led by Young Doctor Association and lawyers of the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) issued strike calls to protest the incident, each claiming to be the aggrieved party in the case.
Picture Courtesy: Pakistan Today