QUETTA - Doctors boycotted out-patient departments [OPDs] of state-run hospitals across Balochistan on Saturday to press for an early recovery of a renowned cardiologist, who was taken captive in September this year.

Dr Abdul Munaf Tareen was abducted by a group of armed men on September 17 near his cardiac hospital located opposite to Pishin bus stop.

Doctors have been on a strike for the past 49 days. They have not been attending OPDs after 11:00 am. The call has been backed by district headquarters hospitals and divisional headquarters hospitals in other 31 districts of the province.

But now Pakistan Medical Association has decided to intensify its protest for recovery of the senior cardiologist.

At the hunger strike camp established inside Sandeman Hospital, Pakistan Medical Association General Secretary Dr Faiz Hashmi told newsmen that doctors would not attend OPDs but they would attend emergency cases. It was the 42nd day that doctors continued their hunger strike.

In a goodwill gesture, the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association visited the camp and assured Prof Qurban Bugti, Dr Sher Muhammad Tareen, Dr Ali Dost Baloch, Dr Akbar Sufi, Prof Iqbal Tareen, Dr Faiz Hashmi, Dr Akbar Safi and Prof Baqi Durrani and other senior doctors of his complete support for safe recovery of Dr Tareen.

Almost all hospitals, including Bolan Medical Complex Teaching Hospital, Sandeman Hospital, Fatima Jinnah Chest Hospital, Helper Eye Hospital, Shaikh Zayed Hospital and Benazir Shaheed Hospital, were without doctors, sources said.

They added doctors were not present even at hospitals in Mastung, Kalat, Khuzdar, Lasbela, Kachi, Bolan, Nasirabad, Sibi, Jaffarabad, Dera Bugti, Kolhu, Barkhan, Ziarat, Qila Abdullah, Qila Saifullah, Kech, Gwadar, Awaran, Panjgur, Naushi, Chagai, Kharan, Mashkey, Zhob and Pishin.

Nevertheless, capitalizing on the situation, private hospitals have started making roaring business.

Asked about the growing business of private hospitals, PMA’s Dr Hashmi said their next step would be suspending services at private hospitals.

Dr Tareen was the twenty-sixth doctor kidnapped for ransom in Balochistan.