30 November 2015

Editorial: Hajira Case Exposes Double Standards of Balochistan Government

Courtesy: Balochistan Point


Hajira is a 13 year old girl from Kharan and who is suffering from acute myeloid leukemia, a type of blood cancer. Treatment of this illness is only possible in Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH). Hajira belongs from an underprivileged family and her patients can’t afford to finance her treatment in AKUH.

Civil Society Balochistan, a coalition of citizens of Balochistan, picked up the case of Hajiraand also collected some donations for her. A delegation of Civil Society Balochistan called on Chief Minister (CM) Balochistan, Dr. Malik Baloch. Delegation requested from CM to issue a directive to health department to finance the treatment of Hajira.

After listening to request of the Delegation, CM outrightly rejected their plea, citing lack of funds. He even went on to say that one of his close relative died of cancer and its God’s will and he can do nothing to help Hajira.

This was an ordinary day at the office for CM Balochistan. He might reject pleas of delegations like this on daily basis. However this particular case has once again exposed the double standards of Balochistan Government and especially that of Dr. Malik Baloch who falsely claims to be a representative of middle class.

Treatment of Hajira required upto 4 million rupees and CM claims that he does not have that much amount left in his discretionary funds. Whether he is lying or telling the truth, it’s difficult to ascertain. However, there are several ways though which government can arrange a mere Rs. 4 million for treatment of Hajira. More than one government officials have told Balochistan Point that CM can release funds of Rs. 4 millions in few minutes if he is interested in helping Hajira.

Balochistan Point also came to know that when Dr. Malik Baloch was not the CM, He had made similar please to then government. In fact, based on his pleas millions of rupees were released for treatment of at least two seriously ill patients. However, when he is in the government, he has apparently forgotten the plight of families of patients.

Moreover, this also raises the issue of priority of utilization of almost Rs. 200 billion that Balochistan government receives from federal divisible pool. Balochistan government has tens of millions of rupees for Sports festivals and Galas and advisements of government in newspapers but not for treatment of a underprivileged cancer patient. This hints towards fund utilization approach of government which is surely pro-elite class and anti-people in nature.

In August this year, a bulky delegation of 34 Members of Provincial Assembly (MPAs) visited USA. Balochistan government paid an estimated amount of Rs. 100 million for that trip. Even now a delegation of MPAs of Balochistan Assembly is on tour of United Kingdom. Again Tens of millions of rupees from provincial exchequer are being wasted on it. But, there are no funds for treatment of Hajira. Hypothetically speaking, if 2 MPAs in the current trip had not been part of the visit then it would have saved enough to finance treatment of Hajira.

Earlier this year, Balochistan Point raised the case of 22 year old Student Ameerullah Kakar. Balochistan government financed the treatment of Ameerullah Kakar once it was highlighted by media. That was a very commendable step by the Balochistan government and deserves appreciation. The difference between case of Ameerullah and Hajira is that in case of former there was interest and involvement of opposition leader and Chief Secretary which is missing in case of latter.

Civil Society Balochistan is looking for alternative sources to fund the treatment of Hajira. They might be able to get some donors but that will be a very difficult and time consuming process. The easiest way to save the life of Hajira was to seek the help of Balochistan government which has been shut down by the abrupt refusal of CM Balochistan to help her.

One can’t say that Dr. Malik will stay in office of CM after December 4th due to the infamous Murree Accord. Dr. Malik in his 30 month tenure has let people down by every means. He was supped to be the representative of middle class but he ended up as a beneficiary of the elite class. Middle Class keeps on suffering under the watch of Dr. Malik and case of Hajira is a huge example of that.

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