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May 15, 2007

No one to ask after them

May 15, 2007


While the government has announced compensation for those injured in the May 12 incidents of violence, many of the injured complain that no one from the government has come to inquire about their health. The compensation too has so far been a measly Rs2000, which many of the injured feel is very little.

While their medical bills are being met by the government, many say that they are not sure what upsets them more - the unhygenic conditions at the hospital or that no one from the government side has come to ask about their health.

When this correspondent visited the JPMC to inquire after the victims, one responded by opening a drawer on his bedside. It was swarming with cockroaches. When asked how they were doing, some young men replied with visible agitation “What do you care? What does the government care?”

Some of the patients said that the Sindh Chief Secrteary had come to pay a formal visit as if to just record that the government had shown concern. Some of the injured persons have been transferred to Orthopedic Ward No 14 at JPMC and when this reporter visited the ward at 6:00 pm there was no staff of the hospital deputed at the ward.

The relatives of the patients were inquiring again and again as to how they could locate the duty nurses to give medical attention to the injured. Many of those at JPMC clarified that they were not political workers but passers by who had been caught in the cross fire.

Lying on a bed at the hospital, Muhammad Naseem Was one such a person who was caught in the firing at the bridge of Baloch Colony while going toward his home, which is situated at Baloch Colony. He received a bullet on his one leg that passed through it and struck into the other leg. Muhammad Naseem belongs to Quetta, Balochistan.

Another of the injured is Farid Khan, a daily wager labour who suffered a bullet wound in his left arm which finally wedged inhis shoulder. The presence of bullet can

still be seen on his shoulder that could not be operated so far. “I was going to seek some work to earn my livelihood,” he said.

Farid Khan who is the resident of Shah Faisal Colony wants his shoulder to be operated soon so that he could again go outside to earn livelihood for his family. Farid Khan was caught in the firing at Wireless Gate. This innocent man, who only wants to get better so that he can support his family, is still unsure why the firing took place. He does not know what the fight was all about but regrets being caught in the middle of it.

Another injured man, Abid Ali who belongs to Larkana, has a different story to tell. He said he wanted to go to Dalmia Cement Plant and boarded on the bus which was going towards the Airport in form of a procession.

Abid Ali at that time had thought that he would get dropped near the airport and would go Dalmia on foot. Abid Ali, the resident of Majeed Colony and who is the student of Ninth Class received two bullets in one of his legs when the bus he was in came under fire.

Lying on another bed is Abdul Qayyum, a resident of Baloch Colony who got a bullet in his teeth and consequently he fell on the ground then a vehicle passed over his leg broke it.

A worker of Awami National Party (ANP), Adil Badshah, who is severely injured, said that a few boys took him and his four friends to a street at gunpoint where they shot five.

His elder brother, Badshah Khan, informed this reporter the chief secretary visited the hospital on Sunday and gave Rs2,000 to each victim of May 12. He said no other government representative or official visited them.

In contrast to the government, political party leaders from the opposition have been visiting the injured on a regular basis. However, the patients argue that to get better attention at the government hospitals, it is important that the government officials also come and inquire after them.