ISLAMABAD - When panic seems to be running high among the residents of Islamabad ahead of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) protest rally on Sunday (today), the senior management and specialists of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Medical University-PIMS were absent from their duties despite the fact that the hospital was on red alert .

To deal with any sudden health emergency in the wake of announced protest, all public sector hospitals in Islamabad have been put on high alert. Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, Federal Government Polyclinic and Capital Hospital were announced to remain on high alert from November 29 to December 1.

Weekly offs and leaves of all the staff members were announced to be cancelled and Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Medical University-PIMS Vice-Chancellor Dr Javed Akram had issued circular directing all the heads of department to remain in hospital and the offices of administration including vice-chancellor office were supposed to be opened round the clock during the red alert .

But on Saturday the senior management of the hospital including the vice-chancellor, administrator and specialists in major departments were absent from their duties, leaving the patient on the mercy of junior doctors and staff. The vice-chancellor does not come on Saturdays and Sundays, so his office is closed, informed his staff members.

There was no specialist at gastro department and a medical officer (MO) was dealing with dozens of patients. “What is the purpose of coming to outdoor patient department in the morning if an MO has to examine us? People come from far-off areas to get themselves checked by specialists. By the time the patients reach the hospital, the specialists are gone after marking their presence,” complained a patient.

Another patient at dentistry department decried that after a long wait of hours he had been advised to go to a private clinic. He added, “Here the patients have been given appointment till February next year while the instruments are not safe here for any treatment.”   

PIMS being the largest tertiary care hospital of the federal capital caters to the patients from Azad Jammu and Kashmir and other adjoining areas, but it’s a common complaint that in routine days too specialists are hardly found on their seats and there are only junior doctors to treat the patients. “They just come for half an hour to the hospital as they all practice privately in the evening,” explained an official from the administration requesting not to be named.      

“People coming from the twin cities and adjoining areas are sometimes so poor and illiterate that they event don’t know how to get a receipt and where to go for check-up. There is no information desk or guidance for such patients,” he said.  

When contacted, PIMS Spokesperson Dr Ayesha Essaani said that the Administrator Dr Altaf was out of the hospital for some reasons and would be back. She added that the VC had a lot of issues to deal with and therefore he sat at his office off and on, especially on Saturdays. But everybody including the specialists must be there as the hospital is on high alert till December 1, she concluded.

Containers placed due to security concerns: IGP

Inspector General of Islamabad Police Tahir Aalam and Chief Commissioner Zulfiqar Haider visited D-Chowk to review arrangements for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) rally on Sunday.

Talking to media, the IG Islamabad said that shipping containers have been placed around the rally venue due to security concerns.  Intelligence agencies had alerted that an explosive-laden vehicle could enter the venue.

He said four entry points have been established where around 50 walkthrough gates will be installed. PTI has already arranged 25 walkthrough gates.

Tahir Aalam said that entry in rally venue will be allowed after three phases of search. He said 11,000 police and FC personnel will be deployed while aerial monitoring will also be carried out on the occasion.

Meanwhile, Islamabad Administration has issued an advisory for the diplomats and foreign nationals to restrict their movement on Sunday (today) when the PTI will hold its rally in the federal capital. The advisory said that it was necessary that the foreigners should avoid unnecessary movement because there could be incidents of lawlessness and it is necessary that they should not come in the harms way.