After every crisis that Pakistan comes across, the optimists of this country (and I consider myself part of them) cling on to the hope of the people of this country. Whenever the issue of a failed state crops up, the counter argument is given that, it’s the Government that is failing, not the people. The people will move in the positive direction. However, this current crisis of the young doctors versus the Punjab government has somewhat jolted my belief in the strength of the people. The combination of blunt emotions and amnesia is pushing us in the pit. We have yet to develop the ability to look at an issue in a dispassionate manner.
In no time the general public has placed the entire blame on the doctors and has labeled them as greedy, unethical, criminals, killers and what not. All this display of emotion is entirely based on the dose of misery that is being dished out by the media for the public appetite. From the entire animated public reaction one could assume that we are such a conscious society that the plight of the poor is the top priority of every living soul. What gets me confused is that where were these poor loving majority, when CM Shahbaz Shariff was distributing laptops like peanuts at the expense of ignoring the condition of Government schools and primary education? The only reaction I saw then was ‘Laptop Shahbaz da, par vote Imran da’. Here’s your morally upright society for you.
As far as the media and its ethics are concerned, I am not going to waste time and space by getting into its detail. How balanced a coverage they provide is not a secret. Media gate is not that old even for our collective amnesia prone condition. Even with all this out in the open the media propaganda was successful in portraying the young doctors as the villains. The counter efforts of the doctors through the social media were being labeled as the real propaganda by the people is reflective of our twisted minds. Suddenly, the torture of one of the most educated class is justified and well deserved.
The question of who is to blame for this chaos and the loss of life still remains. Somehow I have not been able to side with the popular conclusion. The Hippocratic Oath is being referred to time and again in an attempt to remind the young doctors of their duties and how they are violating it. Shouldn’t the government be reminded of the oath that they have taken instead, of looking after the civil right of the people they govern, of providing them with the basic facilities of life and protecting their lives; most of all of proper governance which is missing from the start and the root cause of all the crises including this one as well. The Punjab government does not have a health minister, or a formal documented health policy for that matter is ample proof as to where the fault is, but you don’t say.
Everyone has a right to peaceful protest and the medical community is no exception. They are asking for a proper service structure which is their due. Their strike is not a unique one as a similar case in UK would testify. For all those who have been following the issue from the start would know that these protests turned violent when the state machinery unleashed its wrath and the police started raiding the hospitals as if in search of criminals (which should be noted that they are never able to get a hold on). Closing down the outdoors does not put at risk the lives of the patients as those needing immediate attention are shifted to emergencies. The emergencies and the indoors were operating, until they were raided and the young doctors hunted. How are they expected to be the messiahs under such circumstances and frankly speaking why should they?
Today it is this professional class that is being brutalized, next it could be some other profession as well. It is high time that some collective sense is developed and they be not left alone. To me this seems like a message by the government against demanding our just rights, while they go about unaccountable for whatever they do, from corruption to abusing women MPAs all in the name of democracy.