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Random thoughts

April 1, 2019

Outstanding Pakistanis


April 1, 2019

We all know, and it has been said very often, that the Almighty has blessed Pakistan with almost infinite natural resources and human talent. If properly utilised, we could have been equal to, if not better than, countries like Malaysia, Turkey and even South Korea.

Incompetence, corruption and nepotism by the ruling mafia have deprived us of possible development and bracketed us instead with other underdeveloped countries. China, Korea, Thailand, Philippines, India, etc have all left us far behind.

To illustrate my point of talented and motivated people, I am today introducing an example of someone who has been serving the nation selflessly. His name is Abdul Bari Khan of the Indus Hospital. The Indus Hospital is a state-of-the-art hospital in Karachi where Dr Abdul Bari Khan is the CEO. I have known Dr Bari Khan for a long time and we meet on and off whenever I go to that city.

I have been familiar with this hospital for more than two decades. It was originally set up by Dr Kazi and later the administration was taking over by a group of Pakistanis living in the UAE. They invited me to join them in their efforts since the hospital was in bad shape at the time with only a rather shabby nursing school being operational. The new administration took over and my close friend and great philanthropist, Sardar Yasin Malik, CEO of Hilton Pharma, became the patron and a donor. Dr. Abdul Bari Khan became the overall administrator.

Dr. Bari Khan obtained his medical degree from Dow Medical College in 1986. He was always helping people in need of medical care. In 1987 there was a big explosion in Soldier Bazaar, which resulted in many casualties. He, along with his friends, reached out and helped many of the wounded. The Civil Hospital, where many casualties were taken, was desperately short of beds. Dr Bari, with like-minded friends, went from door to door and managed to collect more than Rs3 million, which was used to establish an emergency ward. He also founded the Patients Welfare Association, collected money and helped poor patients in the interior of Sindh.

Realising that blood donors were usually drug addicts, he set up a blood bank, collecting uninfected blood. Then it was decided to set up a modern hospital to provide free medical care to needy people. Most of the work in this connection was done by Dr Bari as his three good friends and colleagues and meanwhile gone abroad for higher education. In 2004, after 17 years abroad, these three friends returned to Karachi. Together they managed to get 20 acres of land and started building this modern hospital, which was completed in 2007.

When it started functioning, there were about 150 beds and the annual budget was Rs 80 million. Later the capacity was increased to 300 beds and this year the aim is for 1,000 beds. By the year 2024, it is hoped to have1800 beds. It is a welfare, totally free, medical facility. The interesting thing about this hospital is that it is paperless – no counters, no receipts, no reports. All information about patients is computerised. Since its completion, not a single patient has been sent away unattended. It runs on a first come, first served basis. Their annual budget at the moment as around Rs5 billion; 92 percent is donated by local philanthropists, 50 percent of which is donated by ordinary people of Karachi. Most of the donors simply give ‘Abdullah’ (servant of Allah), as the name of the donor.

Dr Bari had the option of staying abroad where he had gone for specialisation and living a comfortable life, but he decided to return to Pakistan and serve the nation.

In this country we have a habit of playing the blame game. Dr Bari is just the opposite. He is full of energy, full of hope and optimism and thinks the best of people (a true Muslim behaviour).

The Holy Quran says that whoever saves a life, saves one human only, but whoever kills a human being, kills the whole of humanity. Allah Almighty has said: “Be kind to others and the Almighty will be kind to you.” Dr Bari Khan is doing a great humanitarian service.

To be continued

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