MULTAN-Defiant medics refused to call off their agitation against the proposed MTI Act and the doctors remained on strike for seventh consecutive day on the call of Young Doctors Association (YDA) here on Friday.

Dozens of poor patients were seen wandering in the corridors of Nishtar, Children Complex and Burn Unit hospitals as no one attended them due to the ongoing strike. The doctors of Nishtar Hospital split on the issue of strike and a partial strike was observed in the hospital. The OPDs of Nishtar and Children Complex remained shut due to the strike. Some young doctors assembled up at the outdoor of Nishtar Hospital and staged a token demo. However, doctors from other organisations, paramedics and nurses refused to join them.

The protesting YDA members raised slogans and dispersed. Poor patients burst out against government and said that the poor policies of the rulers further added to their miseries. “I have come from Muzaffargarh for a check-up but no doctor is available here,” lamented a patient Allah Ditta.

Talking to the media, Nishtar Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Ashiq Malik said that peaceful protest is the right of doctors but no one would be allowed to force others to strike. He added that the administration would give protection to those doctors who want to serve the patients.

Meanwhile, the Nishtar Hospital administration released the salaries of 800 doctors which were pending due to shortage of funds. Nishtar Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Ashiq Malik issued cheque worth over Rs35.2 million for the payment of salaries to 800 House Officers and PGRs. Hospital sources disclosed that the Finance Department Punjab had released hospital’s budget worth Rs. 500 million two days ago which enabled the hospital administration to pay the salaries of PGRs and House Officers pending for the last one month.

Meanwhile, the office bearers of Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) hailed the release of salaries and said that the efforts of the PMA brought fruit and doctors got their salaries before Eid.

Don’t make moon sighting controversial: Jalandhri

Secretary General of Wifaqul Madaris Al-Arabia Qari Hanif Jalandhri has said that the sighting of moon should not be made a controversial issue, adding that the ministers create non-issues to divert public’s attention from real issues.

Talking to the media here on Friday, he said that several Ahadis (the sayings of the Holy Prophet SAWW) are there which confirm that the Holy Prophet (SAWW) used to celebrate Ramazan and Eid after sighting moon. “It’s a pure Sharia issue. Don’t divide the nation further by making it an issue,” he underscored. He said that many Muslim countries already had Qamari calenders and the government could develop one if it desires but still the decision regarding start and end of an Islamic month would be made after seeing the moon.

He made it clear that it is a religious issue than a technical one. He said that a Qamari calender would only anticipate the expected birth of moon, adding that the decision regarding start of an Islamic month in Saudi Arabia and other Islamic states is still made after sighting the moon.

He pointed out that there could be a difference between the birth and sighting of moon. “Sometimes the moon is so thin at the time of its birth that it can’t been sighted. In this situation, Royat-e-Hilal Committee is the only forum that can decide the start of Ramazan, Eids, Muharram or other Islamic festivals,” he noted.