A senior female doctor who works at a major public sector hospital in Karachi says that she is being harassed and blackmailed for the last several months on gender and ethnic grounds and being forced to quit her job.
The doctor is in-charge of the hospital’s gastroenterology and hepatology ward. She claims she is the only female gastroenterologist working at any public sector hospital in Pakistan.
“I’m in charge of the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Ward at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) and the only female gastroenterologist working at any public sector hospital in entire Pakistan. I have been harassed and blackmailed for the last several months on the basis of my gender and ethnicity,” Dr Nazish Butt told Waqar Bhatti of The News.
She showed several messages sent to her, accusing her of being a “non-Sindhi” and “a draconian lady”, who is not allowing ‘natives’ to work at the hospital. She said she was constantly receiving calls from unknown numbers.
“First of all, I’m a Pakistani citizen who was born in Karachi. I have studied in this city and graduated from the Sindh Medical College. I even married a person who is Sindhi-speaking, but still, some people, including some staff members [of the hospital], are harassing me. They are doing negative propaganda against me, which has made me mentally disturbed,” the publication reported her as saying.
“I have filed several complaints with the relevant authorities against this harassment and blackmailing. but now I want to make my ordeal public and urge the high authorities to take notice of this hooliganism. They call me a Punjabi woman, hurl abuses at me, put baseless posts on Facebook, and then send it to me and my colleagues on WhatsApp. This should end now,” she added.
Dr Butt stated that she was bringing this issue to the notice of the newly-appointed executive director at the JPMC, Dr Shahid Rasool. She also urged provincial health minister Dr Azra Pechuho to take notice of this harassment.
According to a recent study, Pakistan lacks trained and qualified female gastroenterologists even though more than 80% of students who graduate from medical colleges are women.