At least 3 patients die as lawyers attack doctors in Pakistan hospital

Police gather next to a police vehicle set on fire by angry lawyers during clashes in Lahore. (AP  pic)

ISLAMABAD: At least three heart patients died on Wednesday after a group of lawyers attacked doctors at a cardiac hospital in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore, officials and ministers said.

“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.

A group of more than 200 lawyers, who had ongoing issues with the doctors of the Punjab Institute of Cardiology, stormed the hospital, vandalising property and damaging dozens of vehicles of visitors and setting ablaze a police van, Rashid said.

The incident was apparently triggered by video clips some doctors had made ridiculing the lawyers.

Punjab information minister Fayyaz-ul-Hassan who arrived at the hospital to mediate was also thrashed by angry lawyers.

“This was kind of a high-handedness which none of civilised societies can tolerate,” provincial law minister Raja Basharat said.

Private television channels showed live footage of the scuffles from the scene where some of the lawyers were also seen brandishing pistols.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, who ordered an inquiry into the incident, directed Punjab provincial government to take stern action against all those involved in the attack.

“Several lawyers have been identified from the television footage and the government will deal with all those involved in the attack with an iron hand,” Basharat said.