Selling a kidney to end poverty

Published: December 29, 2011

Millions of Pakistanis are living in dismal poverty while the president and prime minister are living in the lap of luxury. PHOTO: ISRAR UL HAQ

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 cannot forget a poor man whom I met at the reception of my office. He was from Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and he needed an eye operation, but due to severe poverty, he could not afford it. The last option he was left with was to sell his kidney to pay for the operation. Alas, he did not have enough to afford something to eat or a shelter to sleep in. When I asked him if he had eaten something, he said ‘yes from a langar’, and burst into tears.

He told me that he sleeps outdoors on a bench in Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) and when it rains he tries to search for a shelter to protect himself from pouring water.

This story is amongst the many I come across every day. It is hard not to feel pity for them when they plead in front of me to get their news published so that it could reach the ears of the prime minister or the president who could help them financially.

What these innocent people don’t realise is that, in fact, these very people are behind the miseries they are facing.

I remember once writing an article on an 18-year-old boy from Peshawar, suffering from blood cancer and seeking financial support for treatment. Luckily many privileged people came forward to help him and he also received donations from the PM House through the Baitul Mal. However, the major difference between both was that the common people wanted their name to remain secret, but I got several calls from the PM House who wanted me to highlight the favour granted by them to this poor soul.

It seems like for the Pakistani government ‘Health is not Wealth’.

Sehrish Wasif

Sehrish Wasif

A reporter on the Islamabad pages of The Express Tribune.

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