Friday October 22, 2021

‘Facility of medical treatment abroad should be available to all’

September 19, 2021

Prominent civil society activists from various professions in a joint letter have questioned Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Shah about the granting of a generous allocation of Rs40 million for an air ambulance and treatment abroad for prominent actor Umar Sharif.

The activists, in the letter, said that they deeply appreciated Shah’s generous allocation of Rs40 million for an air ambulance and treatment abroad for Sharif.

“While we all wish him good health, one would like to ask a few elementary questions. Is the allocation of Rs40 million an act of personal charity or will it be covered at the taxpayers’ expense?

“Are there no decent government hospitals or competent physicians in Sindh who can treat Umar Sharif? If not, your first priority should be to develop this capacity – for the benefit of all citizens,” they said.

“Why is the foreign treatment facility not available to millions of underpaid, exploited and enslaved workers of Sindh, but available to Mr. Sharif who has already been blessed with great fame and financial resources in his long and distinguished professional career?

“It may be an appropriate moment to remind you that the 1,700 Hyderabad Municipal Corporation-contracted janitors are paid illegal wages of Rs14,000 per month and the Water and Sanitation Agency gutter-men are paid Rs10,000 per month. Both have no EOBI, no SESSI registration and certainly no opportunity to be sent abroad for medical treatment.”

The policy of appeasing the rich and torturing the poor would not make Pakistan a country we could all be proud of, they said.

The letter was written by noted civil society activist Naeem Sadiq and endorsed by Dr Sher Shah Syed (physician), Karamat Ali (National Labour Council), Nasir Mansoor (National Trade Union Federation), Sheema Kirmani (Tehreek-e-Niswan), Saeed Baloch (Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum), Zahid Farooq (Urban Resource Centre), Dr Tasnim Ahsan (physician), Zaheer Kidvai (education) Sarwar Bari (Pattan), Amber Alibhai (Shehri), Afia Salam (environmentalist), Dr Azra Ahsan (physician), Dr Asif Rasheed (physician), Khawar Mehdi (Pharma Industry), Deneb Sumbal (journalist), Muzaffar Ahmed (environmentalist), Palvasha Shahab (lawyer), Rumana Husain (author), Dr Shifa Naeem (psychiatrist), Abira Ashfaque (lawyer) and other rights activists.