LAHORE - Nurses held a protest rally against sacking and non-regularization on Tuesday.

The rally was initiated from Club Chowk to Egerton Road which was also participated by PTI chairman Imran Khan.

They held banners and placards while chanting slogans against the government for not fulfilling their demands. The traffic remained blocked during the protest, which caused great inconvenience to motorists.

The nurses informed the media that Punjab Health Department had been using delaying tactics to fulfill demands of job security to nurses, working on contract and ad hoc basis as well as those who had completed their qualifications from private institutions or other provinces.

Besides, they said that Health Department was also reluctant to give assurance on regularization of nurses.

The nurses had withdrawn their services from OPD and indoor wards, which badly affected patient care in hospitals. However, they continued their duties in the emergency.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan along with provincial leadership joined the protest to express solidarity with the nurses and demanded fulfillment of rights of nursing community in the province. "Instead of making world records such as eating 100 Naans, or breaking walnuts, the Punjab government should pay attention to the rights of nurses, who support the healthcare system," he observed.

Therefore, the YNA President Rozina Manzoor vowed to continue protest till the fulfillment of their genuine demands, adding that if government didn't respond to the demands of the nurses they would be forced to withdraw services from emergency wards as well.

Meanwhile, Young Doctors Association (YDA), Punjab Paramedical Alliance (PPA) and Health Support Staff Association (HSSA) also expressed solidarity with the nurses and urged the government to fulfill the genuine demands of the nursing community in the province immediately.

The YDA, Pakistan, General Secretary Dr Salman Kazmi, in a press statement on Tuesday, said that the patient care work had been badly disturbed in all wards and Operation Theatres (OTs) at all hospitals due to the ongoing strike of nurses.

He urged Chief Minister to ask Special Branch to give correct feedback of the situation because Health Department is misleading by portraying smooth functioning of the healthcare system despite nurses' strike.

Meanwhile, according to a hand out issued here on Tuesday, Punjab Chief Minister, Mian Shahbaz Sharif constituted a committee to look into the grievances of the nursing cadre of Health Department. Chief Secretary Punjab will be the convener of the committee while Advisor to Chief Minister on Health Khawaja Salman Rafique, Parliamentary Secretary on Health Khawaja Imran Nazir, Secretary Law and Parliamentary Affairs and Secretary Health will be its members. The committee will present its recommendations within 10 days.