Violence erupts in Pakistan as lawyers storm hospital
The assault set off scuffles with staff and guards that caused three deaths and left heart patients unattended for several hours, police said.
Hundreds of Pakistani lawyers angered by alleged misbehaviour by some doctors towards one of their colleagues have stormed a cardiology hospital in the city of Lahore.
The assault set off scuffles with the facility’s staff and guards that caused three deaths and left heart patients unattended for several hours, police said.
According to police, the lawyers started punching and kicking some doctors at the Punjab Institute of Cardiology and beating them with sticks. Officers said the mob damaged hospital equipment and prompted the families of some patients to move them to other hospitals.
Authorities said tension had been brewing between the city’s lawyers and medics since last month, when one Lahore lawyer complained that doctors mistreated him when he took an ailing relative to the hospital. It was unclear what the alleged mistreatment involved.
Local TV footage showed the lawyers’ rampage as policemen descended on them with batons and some people at the scene cried for help.
According to witnesses and officials, two female patients at the hospital’s emergency ward died when doctors and paramedics fled for safety. It was unclear who the third fatality was.
Police later detained several lawyers on charges related to damaging hospital property, beating up doctors and clashing with hospital guards and police.
Raja Bisharat, provincial law minister, told reporters that authorities had ordered a probe into the incident: “The government will take stern action against those involved in attacking the hospital and beating the doctors.”
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. “Hospitals are not attacked even when there is a war but today lawyers attacked a hospital and caused problems for the patients,” he said.
He said a group of lawyers also tried to kidnap him when he reached the hospital. “Now the situation is under our control,” he added.
Prime minister Imran Khan has ordered an investigation into the incident.