A doctor in Pakistan was assaulted by nurses at the Mirpur Khas Civil Hospital over alleged acts of sexual harassment.
According to hospital employees, patients and visitors, several emotionally charged nurses along with their supporters grabbed the on-duty anaesthetist, and started beating him up in the operating theatre on Monday.
The incident took place at the major government hospital in Mirpur Khas, in the province of Sindh.
On Tuesday, the Out Patient Department (OPD) of the hospital was shut down as doctors and paramedic staff boycotted their duties in solidarity with their colleagues, the nurses who accused a fellow doctor of sexually harassing them.
A video recording of the incident shows the doctor in a torn up shirt being beaten up by several people as some people make efforts to rescue him.
Talking to local media, a sobbing nurse claimed that the doctor in question had been sexually harassing her, along with her colleagues, in the operation theatre for over a week.
In a video released on YouTube, the nurse Reema said the doctor had been harassing young female nurse stuff for some time and also threatened her to withdraw her inquiry appeal that she sent before the hospital staff.
“I waited till Monday but no action was taken by the hospital administration against the doctor” she said.
The doctor, in his defence, said he had only stopped the nurses from “doing make-up” in the operation theatre, after which they “attacked” him.
The colleagues of the doctor and hospital staff intervened to save the physician accused of resorting to sexually harassing female nurses during the night.
As the situation turned violent, the hospital staff intervened to calm the infuriated crowd and to rescue the injured doctor from the enraged group.
Later, the staff also summoned the police to take action.
After the incident, an inquiry was ordered by Civil Surgeon Dr Iqbal Bhurgari and assigned to a three-member committee comprising Dr Saeed Arain, Dr Jhamandas and Ms Maqboola.
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On Tuesday, Pakistan's GeoTV reported that the committee had found the doctor guilty of sexual harassment.
It was also revealed that the doctor had been accused of and subsequently found guilty of sexual harassment in the past as well.
Hospital documents show that back in 2014, the doctor was accused of sexual harassment and, upon investigation by the hospital authorities, found guilty of engaging in inappropriate behaviour with a woman.
He was then ordered to be dismissed in a notification issued by the hospital chief secretaryBut he was able to stay despite the removal order because of his influence.
Taking notice of the incident, Sindh Health Minister Dr Sikandar Mandhro, said if found guilty, the doctor would be give the strictest punishment.
“In this profession [of serving humanity], such [behaviour] is unacceptable. We will ensure [if found guilty] he will be given the strictest punishment,” Dr Mandhro told local media.
However, if he was restored despite being found guilty of questionable morals before, then “we are answerable”, said the minister.
The incident has brought into focus the effectiveness of Pakistan’s sexual harassment laws that requires organisations to set up a three-member inquiry committee, of which one has to be a woman, to deal with cases of harassment.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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