KARACHI: Soon after the Peshawar attack, the government had announced to take care of all hospital bills and payments for the children of the Army Public School. The government had paid for the initial bill for the treatments; however, no instructions were given for follow-up appointments.
That is what Ansar Ali Shah, an APS attack survivor, found out at his first follow-up appointment when he travelled to Karachi’s Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH). He was part of the group of APS children who were brought to AKUH in February 2015 for better treatment.
“We asked the man sitting on the desk and he said he had no information from the government of Sindh or the K-P government”, said Amanullah, Ansar’s uncle, a Karachi resident, who accompanied him for his check-up.
The hospital administration asked him to pay out of his own pocket stating that they had run out of the funds the government gave them. Ansar missed his first follow-up appointment due to this issue.
AKUH Patient Building Services’ manager Adnan Warsi said nothing had been communicated to them regarding the follow-ups.
“The K-P government communicated with the Sindh government and the latter provided us with a specific letter for the funding for the treatment of the APS victims. After a month the K-P government was handed over the bill by the hospital, which was paid by the provincial government. After that no letter has been sent to us regarding this. The payments by the government were stopped on April 7,” Warsi stated.
However, according to Chief Minister’s Media Coordinator Abdul Rasheed Channa, the Sindh government had no role to play in the finances. He suggested that the parents need to contact the school administration or the organization responsible for the communication between the parents and the government before their visit to the doctors in Karachi for follow-up treatments.
Ansar, currently in grade 10, was in grade 9 when he found himself in the middle of the havoc that took place on December 16, 2014.
That day, he was in the dressing room near the stage attached to the bleeding auditorium of the Army Public School.
His eyes still burn because of the attack. He says he was in the same room where a teacher got hit with a bomb while he lay on the ground feigning death. He suspects that his eyes still burn because of the fumes from the bomb.
Looking at the X-ray of his hand, Ansar sees a mini-plate instead of the meta-carpal bone in the middle of his hand under the palm.
Initially, Shuhada Ghazi Forum took front stage by being the main bridge between parents of victims and the government.
The spokesperson for the forum, Tariq Jaan, when contacted regarding the issue, said that a faction of the forum had separated and are handling the injured themselves.
However the forum’s president, Abid Raza Bangash corrected the spokesperson’s statement saying that he is trying to get the forum together again. “We are trying to reconcile with Ghazi parents and reunite with the people who have a problem,” he said over the telephone while speaking to The Express Tribune.
“At least Rs1.5 million was given to the parents whose children had major injuries. I think that is a sufficient amount for follow-up treatments so even the people who are not well-off can pay using the money given by the government,” Bangash said.
“And if somebody still really needs money for treatment then we will definitely pressurize the government to pay for the treatment again,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 16th, 2015.
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