Class IV employees in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province have been protesting against the Medical Teaching Institute Reforms Act (MTIRA) at Lady Reading (LRH), Peshawar’s largest hospital, for the past five days.
Employees across the province want not only the abolition of MTIRA but also the implementation of their demands.
The employees took out a rally from LRH on Tuesday and took out a protest walk in front of the Provincial Assembly. He said that so far no one has agreed to accept their demands.
Muhammad Waris Khan, Legal Adviser and Chairman of Provincial Paramedical Level IV Association, told Independent Urdu that the protest will continue at Lady Reading Hospital until their demands are met.
The protesting employees say that their demands include ‘repeal of the MTI Act at the Centre, end of private management, restoration of the old system, reinstatement of dismissed employees, return of illegally transferred Class IV employees to their hospitals, These include restoring the tax quota for Class IV employees, giving 40% promotion rights to educated employees, giving pension rights through change in fund and giving 10% share in health card.
There are also reports that the caretaker government has decided to abolish the MTI Act in government hospitals in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and its draft is being prepared. However, in the caretaker government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Chief Minister’s Health Advisor Prof. Abid Jameel has made it clear that his government has no intention of abolishing MTIRA 2015 or amending it.
On the other hand, the law says that the provincial assembly has the power to repeal this act, so the governor’s ordinance will be a temporary step in this regard.
Be it doctors’ unions or Class IV employees’ unions, what is so bad about the MTI Act that they are so worried about and want its repeal?
Waris Khan, chairman of Class IV Employees’ Union, says: ‘Not only there are dismissals and transfers on unjustified political grounds, but taking revenge on them for trivial matters has become quite easy under the MTI Act.
“In the MTI Act, since the board has its own decisions, there is no one to ask when to fire or transfer whom.” If someone takes leave due to illness or necessary work, then our salary is deducted or some other retribution is taken. Employees with 35 years of service have been deprived of their right to pension under the MTI Act. Not only this, the tax quota has also been abolished, in which the son was employed on the father’s retirement. We want the restoration of the old system.’
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s position regarding the MTI Ordinance
When the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf started working on the MTI Ordinance and its pilot project began in 2015, groups opposed to the act in public hospitals said hospitals were being privatized and the burden would fall on patients.
Former Prime Minister Imran Khan had said in response to this on one occasion in 2019 that the purpose of the MTI Act or Ordinance is not to privatize government hospitals but to reform government hospitals by bringing reforms in administrative affairs and provision of medical facilities.
According to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, since even after the 18th Amendment, the districts have not benefited significantly, especially in the backward areas where there are no medical facilities available, the majority of doctors are interested in living in big cities and vice versa. There is no interest to work in hospitals and dispensaries in rural and backward areas, therefore the district hospitals of the entire province were running without doctors.
The PTI has maintained that it decided to change the system after 2013 and a cousin of Imran Khan, Dr Naushirwan Barki, came to the US ‘voluntarily’ for health and reforms.
However, doctors’ organizations protested against him and accused him of taking high salary, wasting money on travel, staying in five-star hotels and damaging the government exchequer.
But the PTI claims that in fact he did not take a single penny and was criticized only because he is ‘Imran Khan’s cousin.’
According to PTI, the MTI was implemented because of the belief in complete autonomy of the health sector and the elimination of political interference, but it has come under severe criticism, even from PTI’s former health minister Hisham Inam. A bitter verbal spat between Allah Khan and a doctor at Lady Reading Hospital escalated.
The opposition of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf Health Minister and Naushirwan Barki on behalf of doctors has continued since the introduction of MTI till now.
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‘Who was affected by MTI?’
On this whole situation, Independent Urdu spoke to former Health Minister Taimur Jhagra and asked him whether the MTI Act is people-friendly and whether he thinks it is a successful model, to which he replied that M. The TI Act was and is people friendly.
‘The MTI Act was not VIP and health union friendly. For those who want to work in the system and see it grow further, the MTI Act is made. Unfortunately in our country corrupt groups take over the entire system, MTI did not allow this to happen and that is why all these elements have come out against it.’
The former health minister said that the MTI Act empowered the management to take decisions on its own, which benefited the patient and the hospital.
Still, who is affected by such a good system? Senior Officer who used to get VIP treatment before MTI. Senior doctors who were spending their free time in the hospital ran their own private clinics. Now they are being held accountable. So how can people who were benefiting from the old system be in favor of MTI now?’
Taimur Jhagra continued and said that the new doctors are also opposing because the government wants to make them employees of the hospital.
‘Since they are accountable in the hospital, they are also against this new system and they are mostly political doctors. You look at the world’s successful health systems and compare how they operate.’
The former health minister of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf further said that what can be a greater argument for the success of the MTI Act than that the members of the opposition provincial assembly from Kirk and Kohat requested for the MTI system in other hospitals. .
‘Abolition of MTI Act is not easy’
When the former health minister was asked by Independent Urdu what would be the harm to the public and doctors due to the termination of the MTI Act, he replied that MTI cannot be abolished because if anyone tries to do so, they will It will be challenged in court immediately.
‘Remember that the only job of caretaker government is to conduct elections. She cannot give such judgments. This is written in the Election Act 2017. However, if ever the act is repealed by a two-thirds majority in the assembly, it will do a lot of damage, as if you look at non-MTI hospitals, where there is government control, it becomes even more difficult because the British have set up the system in such a way that these people is not to benefit but to benefit the government employee.’
In response to the allegation that the directors covered by the MTI Act carry out dismissals and transfers on political grounds without any justification, he said that this allegation is baseless and is driven by the same elements who benefited from the old system. was arriving
‘Transfers and dismissals are not without reason. To fix the system, checks and balances were put in place, strictness was exercised, and unnecessary spending was eliminated. MTI was introduced to eliminate political interference. The committee that has been formed under this act includes doctors and non-doctors, one woman has also been included in each board.
There was a long protest against the MTI Act in Islamabad’s Pims Hospital and finally the old system was restored by repealing the Act, after which those who opposed it in other such government hospitals got courage and now they They are also starting to give the example of the center.