FOLLOW THE LINK OR READ AS FOLLOWS
FOLLOW THE LINK OR READ AS FOLLOWS
With respect to Jinnah
By Asha’ar Rehman
Sunday, 20 Jun, 2010 | 01:28 AM PST |
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THERE could have been no sadder tribute to the founder of the nation than the one offered by Jinnah Hospital in Lahore in recent times — this through no fault of those who work at the hospital, those who have got more than their fair share of the emergency that we are perpetually in. Of late, the hospital has been the venue of what we jargon-obsessed writers call a microcosm of life in today’s Pakistan.
A far from efficient government, armed terrorists arriving well after visiting hours to silence a partner in crime, a clueless police force, private security men acting as easy prey for assassins, parents moved by poverty to kill themselves and their children, over-enthusiastic media men fighting it out with doctors for a piece of footage, not to speak of the ‘usual’ crowd that turns up for treatment — they have all been on view here.
At the time of its launch many years ago, it didn’t seem odd that the hospital was named after Pakistan’s founder. It appeared to be as good a project as possible in this partly developed country.
The next visit to the hospital came not too long after it had begun to function. It was crowded and patients had overflowed to the peripheries of the wards. The conclusion was drawn that there were just too many Pakistanis for Pakistan to effectively look after. No matter how big the authorities planned, they always fell woefully short of meeting the challenge posed by the flood of humanity, leaving the well connected with no option but to look for backdoor entries that ensured privileged treatment at government expense.
When the privileged — a group of journalists — clashed with Jinnah Hospital doctors a couple of months ago, it was generously put down to the pressures that the persistent tension had brought to bear on the two warring tribes. An opportunity to come up with a code of conduct was lost as the media generally blamed a ‘publicity-savvy’ doctor for the incident. After all, the doctor had encouraged journalists to film his good work and had an almost daily slot reserved for him on the channels.
To be fair to him, the doctor has had plenty of photo opportunities in the recent past mainly because of terrorism in the vicinity. There have been a ‘few’ terror strikes in Model Town and a large number of people injured in these were rushed to Jinnah, as were many of those injured in attacks elsewhere in Lahore.
Not only that, the hospital itself came under attack after those who run the government most diligently advertised the fact that a suspect from the horrifying assault on Ahmadis on May 28 was being treated in the hospital. More lives were lost in the attack on Jinnah and let there be no doubt that it was the careless men in government who had exposed those present in the hospital to the murderers.
The hospital was also in focus when a bus carrying schoolboys on its roof slammed into an underpass not too far away from Jinnah; five students were killed and the driver was arrested some days later. We haven’t had time to ask after the injured boys who were given first aid at Jinnah. There have been other more pressing events, betraying more holes in the fabric, many of them leading to the healing centre named after the Quaid.
The latest: Jinnah’s name was flashed recently as doctors there tried desperately to save the lives of a couple and their three children who had reportedly ‘taken’ poison to end their lives. Four of them died, and the warnings that a revolution was afoot were sounded again. These calls came from the people, and the more vociferous of them from those who rule in their name and can do better than participating in the build-up to the revolution. The same holds for the police, journalists, et al.
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Join date : 2010-06-15
Jinnah has been in the limelight for the last two years, be it for the good or the bad. And its the latter which really saddens us, its almost as if its the only hospital around, with the media always trying to get something out of it. Such a promising institution still standing, with the shadows of the recent horrendous past trailing it...
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