National News, Opinions

Scoring Points: Is the medical community under fire amid political drama?

by MH

It is a known fact that the quest to achieve political score can make any political leader, ministers, and workers go head over heel. The federal government will try its best to come out clean against the ‘allegations’ poured over them by opposition parties. It’s an ongoing routine, witnessed by citizens of Pakistan over the past 73 years. Many people and organizations have found themselves amid this chaos of politics, but the show has been going and will continue so. However, this time around, it’s the medical community that has caught itself in the political fiasco, raising many questions.

 The incident erupted when recently, one of the federal ministers said in a press conference that how they will exhaust all legal opinions to ensure the return of opposition leader, Nawaz Sharif. He further said that the medical reports on the ground that the opposition leader was allowed to seek treatment abroad were also “fudged.” In response to which, another federal minister, Dr Yasmin Rashid, the provincial health minister who happened to be the head of the committee reviewing Sharif’s medical report came in defence, citing how the reports were verified. She stood by all the reports, yet the members of her ruling party left no stone unturned to prove otherwise.

 The whole debacle between federal government ministers was witnessed by the people of Pakistan, who struggled to form an opinion. The TV channels aired these conferences, making money out of the TRPs. But it’s the medical community’s credibility and top medical professionals that were the hour’s question. Is it that easy to make a ‘fake’ report and get approval from the committee? Keeping in mind that the committee included Pakistan’s top medical practitioners and renowned cardiologists constituted by the federal government themselves. Were all the doctors wrong in compiling the conclusion? If this report not correct, were the previous reports verified? 

 It takes aeons of efforts and struggles to reach a position where medical professionals can call themselves established ones. Many doctors spent their lifetime to achieve excellence in their craft and skills. But just for the sake of point-scoring, it doesn’t seem justified to malign reputation, especially of those who are the cream of the medical fraternity. Distinguished and credible haematologist like Dr Tahir Shamsi who also visited the ailing ex-prime minister could not escape the wrath of this political crossfire. The medical board also comprised of Mahmood Ayaz, Principal PIMMS Lahore and honorary fellow at the American College of Surgeons, Brigadier Abdul Hameed Siddique, classified cardiologist of the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology, and Brigadier Azmat Hayat, classified electrophysiologist of the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology and National Institute of Heart Diseases, Rawalpindi, Dr Saqib Shafi of the Punjab Institute of Cardiology and Dr Mahmood Ayaz, Principal PIMMS Lahore. Last but not the least, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Information and Broadcasting, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan also confirmed that Dr Faisal, who is currently appointed as SAPM on health, further examined Nawaz Sharif’s health and medical reports on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s order. When such derogatory remarks are passed by the ruling and opposition party, it definitely raises many suspicions on the struggles of the esteemed medical professionals who worked tirelessly for the sake of the medical community and public health. The remarks passed by the politicians will further discourage young doctors who are striving to work for the national interest.

 

It is unfortunate that our political leaders are not giving due consideration to the fact that this will tarnish the image of Pakistan Healthcare internationally. If the medical committee came out with wrong and ‘fudged’ medical reports, then the only solution is to first haul up those officials from within its ranks. Otherwise, the logic of protesting against report just based on strengthening one’s political career is pointless. 

September 7, 2020

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