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Doctors Strike In Balochistan Intensifies After Crackdown On Protest

QUETTA, Pakistan -- Doctors demanding better security in Pakistan's southwestern Balochistan Province remained on strike on November 21.

The strike intensified after local authorities arrested several protesting doctors this week.

The walkout began last month after a senior ophthalmologist, Saeed Ahmed Khan, was kidnapped.

The kidnapping of doctors for ransom is an ongoing problem.

At least 27 doctors have been killed and 12 more kidnapped in the sparsely populated Balochistan Province over the past five years.

The doctors' strike stopped almost all emergency services in the hospitals in the provincial capital, Quetta.

Thousands of patients are turning to the military hospital, which is the only working medical center in the city of 1.5 million people.

The region is plagued by a separatist insurgency and sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shi'ite Muslims.

With reporting by and BBC Urdu

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