Three patients die as lawyers clash with doctors in Pakistan hospital

Patients are seen through a broken window of PIC following an attack by lawyers in the premises in Lahore. — AFP

At least two heart patients died at a hospital in Pakistan on Wednesday after hundreds of lawyers besieged the complex in retaliation for what they said was an assault by doctors on one of their colleagues, authorities said.

According to police, the lawyers started punching and kicking some doctors at Punjab Institute of Cardiology and beating them with sticks.

Police officers gather next to a burning police vehicles that were set on fire by angry lawyers during clashes in Lahore, Pakistan, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019.

"Three patients including an elderly woman died after doctors failed to provide them timely treatment and remained engaged in averting the assault", Punjab provincial health minister Yasmeen Rashid said at a televised press conference in Lahore.

The Lahore Bar Association on Monday went on strike over the incident while lawyers also staged a protest demonstration outside the Central Police Office in Lahore, demanding registration of a criminal case against the responsible doctors and paramedics.

An eyewitness outside the Services Hospital said a group of lawyers fired shots outside the hospital. "Now the situation is under our control", he added.

The lawyers accused the doctors of circulating a video that showed them beating their colleague when he refused to get in a patient line at the hospital, Lahore government official Kamran Ali told the outlet.

Fayaz-ul-Hasan Chohan, provincial information minister, said he was also beaten by the protesting lawyers when he arrived at the hospital to assess the situation.

An eyewitness said the police moved away as the club-wielding protesters entered the hospital and ransacked different departments one by one.

The lawyers also attacked media personnel on the site with stones.

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar ordered the formation of an investigation committee under Law Minister Raja Basharat. A police mobile was also burned, as was a police check post.

Prime Minister Imran Khan summoned an emergency meeting in the wake of the attack. "The vandalism by lawyers is highly condemnable", he said.



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