islamabad - The employees of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) on Wednesday welcomed the federal cabinet’s approval of separating the hospital from Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University (SZABMU), however, they announced to continue the protest until its ratification from the parliament.

Representative Employees Association Dr Asfandyar Khan said that it is a big achievement for PIMS employees as the federal cabinet has approved the SZABMU amendment bill. However, he said that the token strike has not ended so far.

He said today a meeting of employees association will be called to discuss future strategy.  Talking to The Nation representative Employees Association Imam Din said that it is a pleasant moment for employees that cabinet has approved the bill of separating PIMS.

“But, we have not decided to end the protest until all legislation is completed and notification is issued,” he said.

He said that the token strike at PIMS will continue till finalisation of the legal process.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Capital Administration & Development Division (CADD) Tariq Fazal Chaudhary, in a statement, confirmed the development and said that the federal cabinet principally approved the separation of both entities.

He said that no objection was raised from any corner and the bill was approved unanimously. He also added that the name of SZABMU is not being changed and both departments will work better than before in future.

He said that around 4000 employees had a concern on the merger of university and hospital and now PIMS administration will be separated from the university.  PIMS employees are on strike for the last 25 days where the Outdoor Patients Departments (OPDs), schedule surgeries and new emergency are functional for only three hours a day.

The PIMS and SZABMU were merged in 2013 through an act of parliament while the protesting employees are demanding to issue a Presidential Ordinance to immediately separate both entities.

Two weeks ago, Prime Minister (PM) office also issued a notification to place the proposed draft bill of amending SZABMU Act 2013.

Vice Chancellor (VC) SZABMU Prof Dr Javed Akram said that separation of PIMS from SZABMU is a legal matter and he has no objection if the government separates it. “The university administration in its syndicate meeting had approved the proposal of separating PIMS and University,” he said. The VC also stated that patients must be given priority in the hospital not strikes. He also stated that it is now on behalf of the government to separate the PIMS and university has no role.

Meanwhile, patients faced difficulties on the 25th day of the strike at the hospital. Since the announcement of a token strike by PIMS employees, a large number of patients thronged the hospital for medical care.  Long queues were observed outside OPD of the hospital, but a large number of patients remained deprived of the medical examination due to the limited time of OPD. A patient Aslam Mehmood talking to The Nation said that he waited long to get a slip for the medical examination but the time was over. He also added that all doctors have not joined the duties despite token strike’s announcement. Hundreds of PIMS employees including doctors, paramedics and supporting staff daily stage protest outside administration block and have vowed to continue the protest until the PIMS is separated from the university.