A senior female doctor is close to quitting her job at a major public sector hospital in Karachi due to persistent harassment and discrimination at her workplace.
The doctor is in charge of the hospital’s gastroenterology and hepatology ward.
“I have been harassed and blackmailed for the last several months on the basis of my gender and ethnicity,” the woman told newsmen.
The doctor has several WhatsApp and Facebook messages sent to her, accusing her of being a “non-Sindhi” and “a draconian lady,” who is not allowing “natives of the Sindh province” to work at the gastroenterology ward of the hospital.
The doctor says she has been receiving calls from unknown numbers as well as written messages to quit her job.
“I am a Pakistani citizen and 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 are harassing me,” the woman has said.
The doctor says she has filed several complaints with the relevant authorities but nothing had changed. “Now I want to make my ordeal public and urge authorities to take notice of this hooliganism,” she said. The doctor says the constant harassment has taken a toll on her mental health.
“They call me a ‘Punjabi woman’, hurl abuses at me, post things on Facebook against me and then send it to me and my colleagues on WhatsApp. This should end now,” she added.
The doctor said she wanted the case to be addressed by hospital’s new executive director and provincial health minister Dr Azra Pechuho.
“I treat patients without asking their ethnicity, gender, cast, creed, color or anything else. I want the authorities to take notice of this issue of mine,” she said.
The doctor added that she was not aware if any other female employee of the same hospital was being harassed.
The doctor says she has examined over 400 patients, mostly women at her outpatient department, as people from far-flung areas visited the hospital’s gastroenterology ward for treatment of their stomach, intestinal and liver diseases.
She added that she along with her team also performed 15-20 endoscopies and colonoscopies in an emergency when people came with internal bleeding and other issues.