Rangers deployed after deadly clash between lawyers and doctors in Lahore

Policemen gather beside a burning police vehicle following a clash between lawyers and doctors at Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) in Lahore, Dec. 11, 2019. (AFP)
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Updated 12 December 2019

Rangers deployed after deadly clash between lawyers and doctors in Lahore

  • Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) is closed, patients moved to other hospitals
  • Police have registered cases against dozens of lawyers involved in the attack

ISLAMABAD: The government of Punjab province has deployed the Rangers, paramilitary law enforcement personnel, as the situation remains tense in Lahore following a clash between lawyers and doctors at the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) on Wednesday.

The PIC was closed on Thursday and patients have been moved to other hospitals in Lahore.

At least three heart patients have died after a group of lawyers attacked doctors at the hospital.

“Three patients including an elderly woman died after doctors failed to provide them timely treatment and remained engaged in averting the assault,” Punjab Health Minister Yasmin Rashid said in a televised press conference in Lahore on Wednesday, as quoted by AFP.

A group of more than 200 lawyers, who had ongoing issues with the doctors of the PIC, stormed the hospital, vandalizing property and damaging dozens of vehicles of visitors and setting ablaze a police van, she said

Reportedly, police have registered cases against dozens of lawyers allegedly involved in the attack on PIC.

On Wednesday evening, Rashid said in a tweet that strict action would be taken against the lawyers who tortured doctors and obstructed treatment at PIC.

“No where in the world is there any precedence of attacks on medical facilities even in wars. This government will not spare them. The footage clearly shows all those involved. The crime is heinous, 34 involved in violence have already been arrested,” the minister wrote.

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.

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 the provincial government to take stern action against all those involved in the attack.


Soybean dust 'likely cause' of Karachi toxic gas deaths — officials

Updated 18 February 2020

Soybean dust 'likely cause' of Karachi toxic gas deaths — officials

  • 14 people have died since Sunday night, 350 have been hospitalized
  • Pakistan State Oil temporarily closes its storage terminals in Kiamari

KARACHI: Authorities on Tuesday said that soybean dust was the likely cause of toxic gas that killed 14 and left over 300 others sick in Pakistan’s portside city of Karachi since Sunday night.
“Preliminary report has been submitted by experts at Khi (Karachi) Uni (university) which suggests that Kiamari incident happened due to over exposure of soybean dust which is known to have also caused similar incidents in other parts of the world,” Murtaza Wahab, spokesperson of the Sindh government tweeted late Tuesday.
“This soybean is in a shipment docked at Khi Port,” he added.
The report by the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), which was sent to Karachi’s commissioner and is available to Arab News, read that the deaths were caused soybean dust exposure.
“The symptoms due to exposure to soybean dust (aeroallergens) may be considered as the possible cause,” the report stated, urging bronchodilator and anti-histamine treatment for the patients and extreme care while uploading soybean containers.
The report said that soybean dust exposure-related epidemics have been reported in other parts of the world with associated morbidity and mortality.

Earlier, a government source told Arab News that the incident occurred during unloading of soybeans on Saturday evening at berth 12 of Karachi Port Trust (KPT) after MV Hercules arrived from the US. The unloading created dust which made its way toward Jackson area of Karachi’s Kiamari municipality.
According to sources, MV Hercules was fumigated on Jan. 8 at Cargill grain reserve Los Angeles, US after loading onboard with 56 degree aluminum phosphide “using one of approved methods.”
The breathing of aluminum phosphide can irritate the nose, throat and lungs causing coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath whereas repeated exposure may damage the lungs, kidneys and liver. Aluminum phosphide reacts with water or moisture to release highly toxic and flammable phosphine gas, the sources said, adding that “It is likely that exposure to particles of aluminum phosphide may have created problems for individuals passing by at that time and such unfortunate incident.”
Meanwhile, health officials said the death toll from the poisonous gas leak has reached 14.
“At least 14 people have died in four different hospitals of the city,” Dr. Zafar Mehdi, spokesperson of the health department said, adding that over 350 others have been impacted and needed treatment.
Officials at Ziauddin Hospital, where most of the affected persons were brought, said they received over a hundred patients on Sunday night, of whom four died.
“There was lull during the day and then again over a hundred visited the hospital, indicating that the gas impacts go high during humidity at night,” Amir Shehzad, spokesperson of the health facility, told Arab News.
Meanwhile, spokesperson of the Pakistan State Oil (PSO) said his company had closed operations at Kiamari storage terminals.
“PSO has temporarily closed its storage terminals in the Kiamari, Karachi due to health and safety reasons. The operations on this location will resume as soon as the area is deemed safe for the company’s staff and contractors to operate.”
“There will be as such no impact of this temporary closure on supply of POL products within Karachi, and in upcountry locations. PSO has sufficient stock available, with backup supply arrangements already in place to ensure an uninterrupted supply of the POL products,” spokesperson told Arab News.