Karachi: Many senior doctors have recently left Karachi after getting extortion money chits and threats of kidnapping them and their children; however, the government is yet to take notice of the growing harassment of medical community in the city.
A very senior medical practitioner of the city told PPI on the condition of anonymity as he himself is facing such threats that extortion mafia of Karachi has increased their activities and sent extortion chits to several hundreds of senior doctors, consultants and surgeons. He said majority of these harassed doctors silently paid the extortion money without reporting to the police. He said the especial cell of the police and rangers formed in the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) House has just received about 45 complaints of doctors, but it was just tip of the iceberg.
Citing the case of a famous ENT surgeon, he said one day he received a letter of extortionists along with a bullet and the next day he left Karachi for Dubai along with his family. He said hundreds of senior and experienced doctors have already left the city and many more are planning so. He said that the threat to doctors in Karachi is not a fiction, as so far this year 7 doctors have already been murdered in this city.
He said the extortionists generally demanded payment of Rs0.3 to 0.5million and after negotiating they settle at about Rs0.2million. He said a bank account is provided to the targeted doctor to deposit the money. He said for a senior doctor with a thriving practice and good reputation it is rather easy to pay Rs0.2mn silently than to visit police station and lodge a formal FIR. He said sadly once a doctor pays extortion money, he again receives demand for more after a gap of four to six months. Finally, these doctors find it better to leave the city altogether.
He said that the government is concerned about the safety of only traders and industrialists but it is ignoring medical community. He suggested conducting a survey of the doctors who have left the city in recent years and it would be an eye-opener for our law and order policymakers. He urged the government to look into the matter seriously as the swift brain drain of consultant doctors from Karachi would pose serious threats to the healthcare sector of this largest city of Pakistan.
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