Gastroenterologist returns his Tamgha-i-Imtiaz to protest the government’s “ignorant attitude” towards healthcare workers

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Dr. Saad Khalid Niaz, returned his Tamgha-i-Imtiaz to President Arif Alvi on Thursday.

The famous gastroenterologist from Karachi, Dr. Saad Khalid Niaz, returned his Tamgha-i-Imtiaz to President Arif Alvi on Thursday, which he received in 2013.

Dr. Saad did it in protest over the government’s “ignorant attitude” towards healthcare workers and professionals. He said, “Health care workers lay down their lives to save hundreds of thousands of patients during the pandemic; however, they were denied their share of the recent civil awards offered by the government to different segments of society for their services.”

The senior doctor added he had formally returned his Tamgha-i-Imtiaz back to the government of Pakistan for its “failure” to honor the services and dedication of healthcare workers and professionals.

In a letter to President Dr. Arif Alvi, Dr. Niaz said, “I have returned my Tamgha-i-Imtiaz in protest. It appears that the government is unwilling to honor the healthcare fraternity’s services and efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic. Over 200 healthcare workers have so far died due to Covid-19 in Pakistan, but only two, out of 126 civil award recipients, were doctors this year, which is extremely disappointing.”

President Dr. Alvi had announced the Pakistan Civil Awards for 126 deserving people, including foreign nationals, in recognition of their services in various fields of life on the 14th of August, 2021. There were, however, only two medical professionals on the list, whose names were forwarded from Sindh.

“If the healthcare professionals, workers, and scientists who served tirelessly during the pandemic and even sacrificed their lives, are not honored, I am left with no other choice but to return my civil award to the government,” he said. 

He concluded his letter saying, “I feel extremely disappointed that there has been no response from any official despite requesting you (President Alvi) and other government officials. Sadly, medical fraternity’s efforts and sacrifices were disappointingly ignored in the recently announced presidential awards.”

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