PESHAWAR: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf lawmaker Ziaullah Afridi has submitted a resolution at the assembly secretariat, asking the government to rename Lady Reading Hospital after philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi.
Afridi, the former minister for mines and mineral development department of the K-P government, is currently in jail. In his resolution, he stated the philanthropist, humanist and social welfare services icon Edhi has rendered great services for mankind and particularly the citizens of Pakistan. It added, “As Lady Reading Hospital is the largest public sector health centre in the province, it should be renamed after Abdul Sattar Edhi so that his services can be recognised and tribute is paid to him.”
LRH is named after Lady Reading, the wife of one of India’s viceroys, Lord Reading, who played a major part in its construction.
Legend has it
It is believed that the wife of Viceroy Lord Reading fell while riding a horse at Balahisar Fort and was injured. There was a grave lack of medical facilities in the city and she suffered a great deal because she did not receive proper treatment. The incident moved her and she decided to build a hospital in Peshawar. She donated funds and campaigned for it to be built. Locally, the hospital is also called Gernali Hospital.
Seeds of opposition
Ali Jan, a local historian, is against renaming the hospital as he calls it a legacy with a history dating back almost a century.
“Edhi was no doubt a legend and his services for humanity are unprecedented,” he said. “A new hospital should be named after him rather than changing the name of Lady Reading which is already after the name of the lady who became the source of its existence. She campaigned for the hospital and every community of the city participated in its construction.” Jan added, “Even if Edhi himself was alive today, he would have opposed any such move.”
Former senator Afrasiab Khattak also opposed the resolution and said, “We should build a new hospital to recognise the services of Edhi because renaming of places creates problems.”
“If Lady Reading did a good thing for us, why should we remove her name from the hospital?” he asked. Khattak added such efforts are made by people from time to time by people who want to manufacture history.
He added, “Edhi was a follower of Bacha Khan and he is very dear and respectable to us. However, renaming the hospital after him is against his spirit. He never liked such things in his life. He would have never allowed his name to be put against others’ good deeds. If we want to pay tribute to him, we should build a new hospital in his name.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2016.