LAHORE - Restoring normalcy, ad hoc nurses finally called off their protest after eight days on Monday, heading back to public sector hospitals across the province.

Nurses staged a sit-in outside the Punjab Assembly to press for demands of regularisation.

The protest initiated from outside Lahore Press Club eight days ago after which the nurses opted for the sit-in outside Punjab Assembly following incidents of police torture.

The government managed to split nurses in two groups on Sunday by offering three-year contract and assurance to regularise them after lapse of that period.

One group, however, refused to call off protest and vowed to continue the sit in till their demands were fulfilled.

After failure in convincing nurses, the government involved senior staff of public sector hospitals to end the stand-off that proved decisive in resolving the issue.

Hospital staff approached nurses one by one and took them to vehicles parked near Sir Ganga Ram Hospital and Regal Chowk to head to respective healthcare centres to join duties on a three year contract. The move of reducing strength of protesting nurses by using influence and threats of senior staff proved successful and the remaining nurses left with no other option except to call off protest.

 President Young Nurses Association Zarina said that the nurses had reservations over the contract which the government has addressed. She said that the nurses have an option of resuming protest if they were not regularised after the contractual period. She expressed hope that the government would honour its commitment and gave due rights to the nurses.

Advisor to Chief Minister on Health Khawaja Salman Rafiq said that the nurses would be regularised after completion of contract period and that too without examination from Punjab Public Service Commission. He said that this was the only solution to resolve the issue as contractual could be regularised not the ad hoc nurses without PPSC examination.