A group of foreign medical graduates surrounded the Pakistan Medical Commission building in Islamabad on Wednesday to protest its move to blacklist a number of foreign universities.
“The future of foreign qualified medical students is at stake because of the decisions being made by the PMC,” said one protester at the venue.
The protesters said they fail to understand why these universities have been blacklisted despite being verified by the World Health Organisation.
The flow of traffic on nearby roads was disrupted due to the protest, which escalated as the day progressed. The protesters reportedly hurled stones at the police after which water cannons were used to disperse them.
The police also arrested the chairman of Foreign Medical Graduates (FMG) group and some doctors who were among the protesters. They were later let go, according to the Islamabad deputy commissioner.
Talks were held between the FMG and the PMC, said the deputy commissioner, adding that the PMC has “agreed to accept all valid demands”.
A second round of talks will take place at 2pm tomorrow.
Protesters split into factions
In a late night development, the protesters split into two factions, with one announcing it is calling off the demonstration.
The other faction, which continued to protest, also started raising slogans against their colleagues that had chosen to stop demonstrating.
“We will not budge from here till our demands are met,” shouted the still protesting doctors.
Blocked highway later reopens for traffic
Owing to the protest, the Srinagar Highway remained blocked for most part of the day but was later cleared for traffic.
The organisers of the protest decided to continue their demonstration limited only to the PMC gate.
“If the PMC administration do not agree to our demands by the morning, we will undertake a more stringent course of action,” they said.