The day my sister died

Published: November 17, 2012

She suffered brain injuries and if she were provided with oxygen in time, she might have lived. PHOTO: REUTERS

Balochistan may be the largest province of Pakistan, but it is the most backward one when it comes to accessing the basic necessities of life. Even on the political front, this province has fallen into chaos. However, my aim is not to scribe these issues.

The Karachi-Quetta highway may be one of the most active routes and serves thousands of vehicles, unfortunately, that same route has now become a life-taker. Hundreds of people have had serious accidents on this road but there are no medical facilities to deal with them immediately. In case of an accident or emergency on this highway, the victims have no way to end their misery and hence, death seems the only option.

The nearby districts, Mastung, Qalat, Khuzdar, Otal, Bela and Hub, have the status of being some of the main districts of this area. Still, these districts are deprived of medical facilities as basic as the provision of oxygen, among other aid. Hospitals are miles away from the main road, and in most cases, people lose their battle with death whilst on route to these hospitals. In other cases, if they are lucky enough to have reached the hospital, they are not treated with immediacy or basic first aid and thus, die.

My story also revolves around this deadly route. It is about my family members who suffered for nine long hours only to meet devastating consequences.

September 9, 2012, turned our world upside down. My sister was travelling to Karachi with her husband and three children when they had a very serious accident. They were about twenty minutes away from the district of Khuzdar. They lay there on the road for hours and were then taken to a hospital in Khuzdar.

My sister and her son suffered critical head injuries and needed to be supplied oxygen immediately. The medical staff told them that there was no oxygen supply at the hospital.

They were to be taken to Karachi, which is about nine hours away from Khuzdar, but even the ambulance carrying them had no oxygen supply. Thus, they were rushed to a hospital in Otal, which was closer, only to face the same predicament ─ no oxygen.

Disheartened, we made our way to Karachi, and after nine hours the injured were admitted at the Agha Khan University hospital, one of the most renowned hospitals in the city. The staff informed me that had my sister and her son been provided oxygen in time, their brains would have been more active and their condition less critical.

Both of them needed to be put on ventilators but due to unforeseen circumstances, this could not be done here.

After two more hours of painful struggle, we finally found ventilators at Ziauddin hospital. Unfortunately, my sister lost her life the very next day, leaving us in deep sorrow and mourning. My nephew ─ the one who suffered brain injury ─ is still in a comatose state.

So now we had lost a loved one and another one was in deep coma due to the lack of oxygen and basic medical facilities in Balochistan; but there was more to come.

My other nephews were kept under observation in emergency for one day at the Agha Khan, and were then discharged. They gave us clear reports, however, after returning to Quetta and spending three days in mourning, the health of one of my nephews suddenly deteriorated. His ribs ached terribly.

After getting his X-ray done, we were shocked to find out that he had a badly fractured rib. He is still undergoing treatment at a hospital.

My family and I have not overcome the trauma that this incident left us with. I doubt we will ever be able to come through.

The point of writing this blog is not just to tell people about my tragedy. I write in hopes that the concerned authorities will read this and do something about the pathetic condition of the hospitals in the area. Hundreds of people have suffered and even more will go through the same if measures are not taken to improve the situation in time.


Ali Lehri

Having completed his BBA (Hons) and MA (International relation) from the University of Balochistan Ali is working as the chief editor of Daily Asr-e-nau. He tweets @dailyasrenau

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Zubair Ali

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your sister. May Allah swt bless your entire family with health and happiness. Ameen.Recommend

  • Absurdist

    Rest in Peace. Feels so sorry. When this stupid administration will come to know that health is the basic right of any citizenry and will increase its sectoral budget. Trauma centre are needed to be built in every nook and corner of country. We need to raise our voice.Recommend

  • Al

    This is really sad..! i hope the concerned authorities read this and improve the conditions at the hospitals. and im surprised Aga Khan missed your nephews fractured ribs!! the hopsital is nothing but a mere name noW! i hope you guys filed your claim against AKUH!
    and AKUH had no ventilators?? just cant imagine what you guys went through.
    I hope you guys come out of this stronger, Insha Allah. Recommend

  • Awan

    I recently met two sisters from Punjab and their father have been gunned down near Khuzdar and he was a doctor and you know why he was gunned down because he was a Government Emergency doctor but he was a Punjabi. Their family members warned him but he was stupid and very much Islamic to have an honor to serve the people. Now he is no longer among us and he was shot in the head. So that is how Baloch pay to their sincere and dont expect that any doctor from any part of Karachi or Punjab will serve in that region where they are threatened on the basis of language and kindly with this attitude you have no right to have a victim card in your baggage. First change your attitude and then everything will be fine. You portray other people as devils and you have a sick mentality and no one from our regions want to serve you as Your hospitality is evident by the murders of Doctors and Teachers from Punjab recently.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Thank you for sharing this sad story with us. The question is why are we in such a terrible shape as a country ? The only answer is that we have always had leaders who only thought of themselves and not the country. If the same faces keep returning things will only get worse.Recommend

  • zeeshan Nas

    I am really touched by heart. We can only pray for her betterment in other world.
    More or less, i must say to remember and recite the Quranic and Sunnat duas of Aafiat.
    In western countries the accidents are more terrible on highways, so along with good hospitals, we need to pray for the Aaafiat for all the time / all the sides. Ameen. Recommend

  • Noble Tufail

    Deeply saddened to know the horrible circumstances that u went through Ali …. a death that completely could have been avoided… more than 12 hours survival is enough that an injured person could offer to ministry of health Baluchistan to be rescued. Hope Nawab Raisani too reads this blog. it is interesting to note that for such events, people v vote do not take notice .. but people like Imran Khan and Edhi would take notice whom v do not vote. Recommend

  • sars

    That is indeed a real tragedy that we have put all our energies into building bombs and assorted nonsense when what we really need is decent water, housing education and healthcare.
    In any other part of the world that cares about human life they would have been airlifted to a trauma center.
    We need to campaign for these things starting now, or else they wont be available when we (god forbid) have accidents and need them.Recommend

  • zakria shahwani

    Reading about the tragic accident of ur sister and nephew really it shocked me extremely. The Quetta Karachi route is the main route which is called RCD. Here elite class also go through in their luxurious and comfortable vehicles. This route is not only unsafe due to its depleted condition but is also notorious for robbery and kidnapping. Many Precious human lives have been lost their lives travelling on this dangerous route. When last year on 15th Dec,2011, i was travelling from Hub to Khuzdar using same route with a companion, i was also kidnapped by gunmen and was taken in mountains by abductors. i was kept about more then one week in mountains by these kidnappers and then released after paying ransom. Like me many others would have been kidnapped and also died due to the accidents on this unsafe route. The ministers and elite class when travel on this route,
    they use luxurious vehicles with gunmen. So, the middle class will always suffer and lose their lives if this irresponsibility remained more in the minds and hearts of those who are at helm of affairs.Recommend

  • Rashid Ahmed

    Really sorry for the whole incident that occurred… Back in 2007, the whole family of my friend lost their lives on this same highway… May the authorities do something about it…Recommend

  • arif khilji

    May ALLAH keep her soul in peace and grant courage to your entire family to bear this great lose.
    obviously the demise of one human being is so important for every one specially for heir.
    i agree with your above plea to authorities to take stern step towards the availability basic need for victims in hospital,but ALLAH give them eyes to see and conscious to fell the problems of nation.
    i m also the resident of hubchowki,and we also felt such kind deficiency in across the Baluchistan,But we can tell them about the problems and this is their job to do and comply.
    MAY ALLAH give you great patient for the your sister lose.Recommend

  • Saeed E.

    May Allah bless the departed souls best place in heaven.
    Govt. should give equal importance to all provinces and districts, instead of just focusing on the capitals of each province.Recommend

  • mirealistic

    First I pray that author’s sister may rest in peace. I am speechless and angry at the same time. These politicians have only looted the money and hav’nt done anything for common people. They are responsible for every bad thing happening in Pakistan. Recommend

  • Insaan

    @Awan: Well Baloch are being treated like Bangladeshis and they are fighting back.Recommend

  • Humanity

    @Parvez: wrote “Thank you for sharing this sad story with us. The question is why are we in such a terrible shape as a country ? The only answer is that we have always had leaders who only thought of themselves and not the country. If the same faces keep returning things will only get worse.”

    Leaders are only as good as the nation that produces them.Recommend

  • yousaf

    @author::I can feel the desperation you went through and the pain of the loss of such a close-one.Only time will come to your rescue,so I won’t say any words of condolence because I know they will serve no purpose.You mentioned about some ‘ambulance’ and ‘hospital’ nearby at Otal and the ‘hospitals’ in Karachi where ventilators were not available,causing your dear sister to pass away.Very sorry for that.The inadvertent mistake that you are making here is that you are taking the places you took your sister to as hospitals,whereas they are just BHUs or better-called,reference points, where they refer the patients to HOSPITALS (situated abroad).Those who can afford take the ref.chit and rush west,the rest simply pass-away ‘peacefully’.THE ENDRecommend

  • faisal Sunka

    I am really touched by heart.
    I’m so sorry for the loss of your sister. May Allah swt bless your entire family with health and happiness. Ameen.Recommend

  • Parvez

    @Humanity: That is a rather naive homily used often to gloss over the reality.
    Our leaders are the product of a system put in place by the leaders themselves to ensure that they only will lead. Another saying making the rounds that exemplifies this is : we have democracy by the few, for the few, in the name of the many.Recommend

  • moeed

    so sad to read this may her soul rest in peace but don’t expect anything from this administration they are bunch of thieves all of themRecommend

  • romeo

    This is indeed a very sad news to read and my full commiserations to you and your family on the loss of your sister. May Allah S.A.W rest her soul in peace in heaven. Balochistan is the largest province of Pakistan and they have their own parliament and Chief Minister. I wonder what the chief minister and the parliament is doing for the province. Why can’t they provide the basic necessities of life for the common people. What hindering them or are they as corrupt as zardari and raja? Also why there lies so hatred between Baloch, Punjabi, Pashtun, Sindi etc. What is the reason for such hate policy. And why the Baloch people cannot accept and regard people from Punjab and other province. In Punjab, I have seen people from all provinces settled there and doing business as usual. Why cant the same thing applies for the people of other province to do business in Balochistan. Only the Balochi people are responsible for their own pathetic way of life. Until and unless they don’t change their attitude, Balochi people will live in the dark ages. May Allah S.A.W guide us all to live in peace and harmony. Recommend


    Allah! i feel down to say that I am a doctor and doing nothing for such issues.Recommend

  • akt

    It seems to me that most of the people above have recommended your case to Allah. They don’t know that Allah too help those who attempt to help themselves . The civic facilities are lacking as most of the budget is allocated to purchase arm and ammunition and now drones are being developed . Allah is looking all these and giving punishment to the country . You are one of such unfortunate civilian .Recommend

  • akt

    leave every thing on Allah and do nothing .Recommend

  • ab

    we have air ambulance for some vip or some one important. but not for a common person. very sad to hear this.Recommend

  • romeo

    @akt: Your comments are pathetic and meaningless. Do you want to say that Balochistan have not been allotted financial budget by the Government? If other province have all the civic facilities why it is lacking in Balochistan. The main problem lies with the mindset of Baloch people who are also corrupt to the core and ungrateful. The biggest and largest humanitarian agency in the world Edhi foundation runs free hospitals, clinics, ambulances and even air ambulances all over Pakistan but why they cannot operate in Balochistan. It is because some selfish people do not want the poor Edhi foundation to operate there. Almighty Allah help those who help themselves, the common people of Balochistan have to come out of their shell and defy those who do not want the development of the province and allow people of other province to trade and establish industries without any fear and violence.Recommend

  • Musa Ahmed Bajwa

    May Maula Bless you with Strength and give health to your Family Ameen.Recommend


    I share the sadness of this unfortunate incident.I would like to comment upon the statement regarding AKU not having a ventilator.AKU has the more ventilators than any other hospital of Pakistan.But this hospital can not be expected to provide this life saving health care facility to over 180 million Pakistanis.

    Every effort is done to save a human life at this institution.We do not want to shift a critically ill patient to another hospital.However when there are no ventilators at AKU, after providing emmergency care in the ER the patient is shifted to another hospital where the ventilator is available.

    This is the duty of the goverment to provide health care facilty to every citizen of Pakistan The decision makers of this country MNAs,MPAs, top beaurocates goes to the west for the treatment of minor illness like common cold but leave the rest of Pakistanis to suffer and die in extremely poor health care infrastructure.Recommend

  • akt

    Romeo go to Rome and see the medical facilities provided to the common people . The country which is not in a position to provide help to the flood victims and developing Drones and atom bomb . Do as you wish but mind it you are no more living in a sovereign country despite of heavey investment in defence sector .Recommend

  • Umair

    I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved sister, May Allah bless her with Jannah, as someone who looses life in an accident is also a shaheed. The authorities need to wake up, there should be paramedic ambulances equipped with modern technology and traqined medics to deal with any emergency. And brother, keep strong and seek Allah’s help inshAllah you will come through. At this difficult times, if you do not pull yourself together how will you console other family members? Recommend


    Im really sorry …for the loss of your sister and hope your nephew is in a good state now…. So many student go into medicine every year but then what is the out come…These students after getting admissions in a medical college after real hard work and going through different tests …and after passing exams ..thats nearly 6 long years and 2 years of specialization…Tell me who wants to stay in a place called Khuzdar or Bela….Everybody is in search of greener pastures and our country is left to the mercy of the quakes residing in every hook and corner of the society…The government is least concerned about the basic facilities….and THEN THIS LEADS TO ALL THE MISS MANAGEMNET THAT WE FACE IN OUR DAILY LIVES…IF THESE DOCTORS ARE GIVEN VALUABLE PERKS and better facilities even at A VERY SMALL LEVEL…. …they wouLd definately not leave the country….there needs to be National strength and …National Unity…Hope we get the Better ruling power in our next elections…Allah please have mercy on this country… Recommend

  • Nabeel

    It is indeed a terrible and sad tragedy that that has befallen on our family. A void or gap that, even with the passage of time can and never will be filled. This incident has traumatized us to the extent that it has demoralized that there is very little interest left in life, but please remember that “death is part of life”. Anyway we must not be disheartened and try to look beyond the horizon, we don’t know what Allah Almighty has planned or has in store for us. But we are certain that whatever Allah has planned for us, it will be best for all of us Inshallah. We pray for Behram to get better soon, very soon inshallah.

    No doubt a part from everyting else, the situation in Pakistan is deteriorating daily, and there is little we can expect for the future in terms of medical treatment for our loved ones and respect for human life. This is Pakistan.Recommend