Archive for June, 2010

Hunger knows no friend but its feeder

June 30, 2010

While a minority, born with a silver spoon living in their palatial havelis, luxurious farm houses and bungalows, can talk about the problems being faced by the country such as fake degrees, terrorism, the presidency and target killings on their dinner tables, with generators on standby and water tankers at their disposal, there are millions in this ‘land of the pure’ who survive on one meal per day and it is nearly impossible for them to make both ends meet no matter how hard they try.

They are the deprived class, peasants or the masses that are being continuously exploited by the waderaschaudrys and seths to work on their farms, factories or houses for ages, that too on meager or no salaries at all.

recent study sponsored by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation titled ‘The state of food security in Pakistan’ and carried out by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in collaboration with World Food Programme narrates that Pakistan is a country where 48 per cent of the population is under extreme food insecurity and these figures have doubled between 2003-2009 along with a 14 per cent drop in the food secure districts. Furthermore it hints that soon people belonging to the better off areas in terms of food security would also find it difficult to afford food, reason being the gradual decline in their purchasing power. According to the study Khyber Pakhtunkhwa tops the charts with the highest percentage of people in the poor food consumption category, followed by Balochistan and Fata.

Poverty is a fact. And with the lapse of each year, poverty figures continue to haunt further. But Pakistanis don’t deserve to live in hunger and staggering inequity.

The situation is so bad that parents have started to ponder on the lines of either educating or feeding their children. Some have even left their children at the disposal of madrassas so that they could at least have two meals a day without even caring that there are chances that their children might be brainwashed. All this would only lead to a generation which can’t synchronize with the society around it and recent cases of parents poisoning or selling their own children are alarming signs that something needs to be done. Can any sane person, after all this desperation, gauge where we are headed?

With millions being denied the right to food we can’t expect intellect or intellectuals to flourish but we can close our eyes and be sure of harvesting a crop of fanatics who will not only be attracted towards outlawed outfits whose aim is to destabilize Pakistan, but also be up in arms to lynch, arson and ransack whatever comes in their pursuit to eliminate the disparity and inequity around them.

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Guantanamo like Prisons of Sindh

June 30, 2010

Cries of shutting down the Guantanamo prison have been around for some time now, reason being the inhuman conditions at the prison which rather than reforming the prisoners is forcing them to become hardcore terrorists once they are released. Numerous examples could be quoted in this context. Such huge global outcry in this regard had bent Barack Obama to include the closure of this notorious prison in his election manifesto and later order to shut it down for good with detainees shifted and tried in the US.

Keeping in mind the above scenario we do have several Guantanamo like prisons in Sindh, Pakistan especially the Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur central jail, which grace the headlines every now and then for prisoners taking policemen hostage or using other means to register their protest against subhuman treatment i.e. overcrowded jails, barbaric torture, alleged extortion from the prisoners , unhygienic living conditions, jail hospitals lacking requisite facilities, inadequate quality of food, jailers receiving bribe from their relatives, prisoners not being presented before the court when due and lacunas in the provision of legal aid to the deserving prisoners.

Although one is in consensus that these prisoners are alleged or convicted murderers, kidnappers, rapists or involved in other heinous crimes. But in today’s world the term served in jail should be reformatory i.e. to make prisoners responsible and useful citizens of the society after their release from jail rather than serve a purpose to unleash the rebel inside to avenge what they had to suffer in jail which was a little more than what they deserved, results of which would be no less than a catastrophe for the society.

Internationally , a prisoner or a detainee has a right to be protected by authorities in the case of assault or rape, right to Medical Treatment ,right to freedom of expression, reading materials, and communication ,right to express concern with the prison’s standard of living, right to a court of law with regards to prison authorities ,right to freedom of religion ,right to access to a court of law, right to drink safe water, right to get treated as same as everyone else and right to food and clothing.

Nevertheless, there is light at the end of the tunnel with steps taken to develop technical or vocational skills among the prisoners and the initiation of Rs.300 million Jail reform program by the sindh government are the right steps towards transforming these Guantanamo like prisons into reformatory centers, as they say better late than never.

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Democracy is NOT the best revenge

June 30, 2010

Much awaited UN commission’s report on Benazir Bhutto’s assassination was published last month. It is now binding upon the government to pursue the investigation of this case with greater zeal.

Many term the assassination of Benazir Bhutto as a conspiracy to break the country hence letting the real culprits and perpetrators roam around freely means giving them another chance to try and execute their plans which might result in more catastrophic consequences this time around.

Amongst thousands of others, the four graves at Ghari khuda baksh, demand justice. Merely chanting the slogan Democracy is the best revenge wont help.

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Patient No. 27

June 30, 2010

The resemblance was uncanny. Although it was a private hospital one would find it very hard to  differentiate it from a civil hospital. Located in Garden Saddar it wasn’t hard to make out that the hustle bustle was of the patients who belonged to the lower strata of Karachi’s status Hierarchy. I weaved my way through the crowded lobby only to find myself standing with no place to sit. Too many patients’ too little seats. So the demon of scarcity has hit the hospitals too. After grabbing a seat, luckily, I began to wait. I was patient no. 27.

While waiting several myths about the practices of the doctors at the hospitals proved to be true. As I gazed around I noticed the bright shiny Plaques carrying the names of the doctors followed by a tiny font saying “Civil”. Yep! There you go! Government appointed doctors to whom private practice is illegal are found sitting comfortably in their plush chairs with absolutely no threat of being held accountable for their unprofessional attitude and illegal actions, minting money day and night.

Flashing their PDA’S and designer handbags I noticed these certain individuals standing out from the rest of the crowd. But it didn’t take me long to realize that they were the advocates of the big rip-offs in the name of pharmaceutical companies cashing the helplessness of patients in to insane amounts of money with the help of these dignified medical personnel of the hospital by luring them with sponsored trips aboard, a new car or even cash depending upon the credentials, popularity of the doctor or hospital and the usage/dosage of the drug.

The endless wait had taken its toll over me, it felt as if I was standing in a queue at the utility store once again. And finally I deciphered the mystery of why the queue was stuck at patient number 21.The “parchi” phenomenon was taking place in front of my eyes .Contacts, is not a term only relevant to our educational, political or government system but is commonly practiced at the hospitals as well. Although after arguing with the person in charge (I guess the only was possible to get your point across)

I was showed my way in only to realize that the doctor sitting behind the desk was a filthy con as well but he was kind enough to spare me 5 minutes of his time and that too without paying 100% attention and charging me Rs. 800 for it. Yes I had been looted very suavely without even getting a hint of it.

So yes it’s true. The noble “oh so decorous” profession of medicine has been struck yet again by our country old friend ‘Corruption’.

Well what I am ranting about is the despicable condition of the hospitals in Karachi and this just Karachi the urban jewel of Pakistan god knows what goes on in the other cities and in the rural areas.

I pity these individuals and institutions who make a choice of compromising their own integrity and the dignity of their profession and of course the of course the helpless people who are victimized.

P.S.: My sympathies to all those who have fallen prey to the mistreatment of doctors, paramedics, hospitals and the pharmaceutical companies

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