Sehrish Wasif

Sehrish Wasif

A reporter on the Islamabad pages of The Express Tribune.

Poor health care in Islamabad

Islamabad has failed to set examples for other cities in terms of providing better health care facilities to its citizens. Currently, there is an acute shortage of public hospitals to cater to the needs of poor patients coming not only from Islamabad but also from as far off as Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir. In the rural set-up, the 14 basic healthcare units (BHU) and two rural health-care centres (RHC) are in pathetic conditions. All rural health centres, except one that was upgraded last year, lack basic facilities and are in a shambles. There are no boundary walls, no electricity or clean ...

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When bureaucrats and the media can never be friends

Prior to the devolution of the Ministry of Health to the provinces under the Eighteenth Amendment, it was easy as a reporter to cover the health sector at the federal level. This was because all departments were working under one ministry and had assigned officials to coordinate with media-persons. However, after the devolution, things have changed considerably. The health sector at the federal level has split into eight divisions. Even after two years of devolution, it is still difficult to figure out which department is functioning under which ministry or division. Most of them do not even have spokespersons or media ...

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More than bills and laws

There is still a lot that needs to be done in order to empower women of this country, which goes farther than organising events at five-star hotels to highlight women-related issues which are known to everyone, or the gushing praise showered on the passage of bills for the protection and empowerment of women’s rights without their enforcement. I am really tired of covering day-long events, arranged at these hotels, in which the representatives of this so-called democratic government and various NGOs share grocery-lists of work they have done to empower the women of this country. But as I step out of ...

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Don’t shy away from the ‘talk’: Your children deserve sex-education

Due to some myopic stigmas related to sexual and reproductive health rights issues in our country, parents normally refrain from discussing such topics with children. The result is that sometimes children without awareness have extreme trouble in dealing with this. I appreciate those parents who consider it important to equip their children with knowledge about the physical changes they go through, while hitting puberty. But there are many parents who do not discuss such issues with them, considering it obnoxious. Thus, their children are left with no other option but to either consult their friends or log on to websites to ...

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My American experience

Before going to the US, I thought that US citizens hate Muslims and Pakistanis and, therefore, considered all of us terrorists. Consequently, I prepared my mind for all the security nightmares that I might have to endure on US soil. However, at the immigration counter of the Washington DC airport, I was amazed when the officer there asked me where I was from and for what purpose I had come to the US. I told him that I was a journalist from Pakistan and was attending a fellowship. “Oh really, you are from Pakistan, Good luck!” he said, while requesting me ...

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A transplant surgery gone wrong

The liver transplant centre of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) witnessed its first liver transplant surgery on May 2. The establishment of this transplant centre was directed by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and the utilisation of huge amounts of fund required for its construction still remains controversial. The sad reality is that no one can hold the minister and his team accountable for this sum of money. The surgery — which took place on May 2 — was historic because it was the first of its kind in the country. Indeed, this is true, for it met a ...

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The tragedy of being a woman in Pakistan

Gazing out of my office window in Islamabad, I see trees dancing in the wind and heavy clouds hovering over the ground, ready to shower rain. I feel like going out for a walk to cherish the weather but I cannot.  It is not because of my work, my boss or my family but rather due to the fear of strangers on the road. I know this might sound funny coming from a journalist, but it is the reality! When I go out, I hear cheap comments made by strange men, cars follow me and old uncles shamelessly stop their vehicles ...

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In a dire state

Mr President Asif Ali Zardari and Mr Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, I hope you are doing great in your big lavish castles. You are the only people in this country who are living a happy and comfortable life. Blessings are only showered on those who do not complain. This clearly explains the plight of the citizens of this country who are always moaning about the skyrocketing inflation, gas, electricity, load-shedding and other grievances. I do not know whether you are aware of this bit of information or not since you are busy making other important decisions and offering new ...

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I told Shamsul Anwar’s story

I don’t know where to start from. I don’t know how to console all those who were fooled by Shamsul Anwar, the man responsible for cooking up a fake story to swindle people. What really disgusts me is that he toyed with the emotions of so many just for the sake of money. Let me confess, I first filed the story on this very same man in December 2010, approximately a year before the story ‘Waiting to receive the pieces of daughter’s dead body’ was published by The News. The reason that made me do so was the same which made thousands collect money ...

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Selling a kidney to end poverty

The government’s bold claims of eliminating poverty from the country are clearly derailed by the dismal state of the public health institutions. It seems that the government has found an innovative system to kill poverty by killing the poor themselves. Meanwhile, the increasing sky-rocketing inflation has also limited the common man’s access to basic health, as a large majority cannot even afford the transport expenses. In fact, this differential between the haves and have-nots is at an all-time high. It was clearly depicted recently when our president went to Dubai for his medical treatment which costs lakhs of rupees per day. I ...

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