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Terrified doctors in Pakistan carry AK-47s along with stethoscopes

How would you react when you find your doctor carrying an AK 47 along with his stethoscope. Not a merry sight indeed, you would perhaps not make delay in paying his fee and recuse yourself

India TV News Desk [ Updated: March 25, 2015 19:04 IST ]
terrified doctors in pakistan carry ak 47s along with
terrified doctors in pakistan carry ak 47s along with stethoscopes

How would you react when you find your doctor carrying an AK 47 along with his stethoscope. Not a merry sight indeed, you would perhaps not make delay in paying his fee and recuse yourself from his services.

Doctors, living under constant threat of being abducted or killed for ransom by criminal gangs or Taliban militants in Peshawar, have taken matters in their own hand.

According to an estimate by doctors' association of the  province: in the last three years around a dozen doctors have been killed and more than 30 kidnapped, while up to 3,000 have fled in search of a peaceful life elsewhere.

Doctors are well paid but often lack the protection of influential connections that wealthy businessmen might enjoy which makes them relatively easier targets.

With worsening law and order situation in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, guns have become as important as stethoscope for doctors while guards protect their 'homes.

"I was lucky that I survived two attempts because I sensed the threats moments before they tried to attack me and I escaped," Mehmood Jafri, a Peshawar based doctor told AFP as he finished surgery at the city's main hospital.

According to the AFP report, Mehmood Jafri gets ready for work in the morning, the first thing he does is put his AK-47 in the car. After surviving one murder attempt and one kidnap bid, Jafri takes no chances with his personal safety.

"Many other colleagues were not so lucky and they were either shot dead or kidnapped." Provincial health minister Shehram Khan Tarakai confirmed to the AFP the kidnapping of 30 doctors and the killing of "a couple".

The problem is not limited to the northwest only- the  medics' association in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, says 20 doctors have lost their lives in targeted attempts in the past 14 months while 10 have been kidnapped in two years.

Kidnapping leaves most of the medics deeply traumatised after their release and thry are reluctant to open up about their experiences for fear of retribution from their abductors.

"They stop interacting with others and restrict themselves to their homes and clinics as the kidnappers tell them they will find them if they ever reveal any details at all," Doctor Amir Taj Khan, senior vice president of the Provincial Doctors Association said.

 

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