‘No private clinics’: Paramedics of Swat protest in defiance

MINGORA: Activists of All Swat Paramedical Association (ASPA) took to the streets on Wednesday against the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government’s decision to prevent them from practicing at private clinics.

Hundreds of paramedics participated in the rally that started from Mingora and culminated in Saidu Sharif. They were holding placards and banners inscribed with slogans against the government.

Speakers said the district administration is conducting raids on their clinics. “We have fulfilled all legal requirements, yet they are sealing our clinics,” said ASPA President Dr Khalid Mahmood.

“The K-P Medical Faculty Peshawar (MFP) has issued permits to us. If they are unacceptable to the government, then it must shut the institution down before taking action against us,” he maintained, adding the government should instead launch a crackdown against illegal clinics. “We will assist the district administration in closing them down,” he said.

Mahmood said the government has no issues with paramedics working at hospitals. “Is practicing at authorised private clinics a sin?” he questioned. The APSA president said most of the clinics are situated in remote areas of the district.

“They will deprive the underprivileged of affordable health care,” said Farooq Khan, a protester.

Participants warned they will protest outside K-P Assembly if the government does not stop targeting them.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 26th, 2015.

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