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23 January 2020

Plight of the poor in Gilgit Baltistan

Anila Ishaq
The writer is regular contributor of The Dardistan Times

Recently I had a chance to visit the DHQ hospital in Baltistan.  While I was sitting in the waiting room, a couple made their way through the crowd and sat next to me. I couldn’t help my curiosity. The man was sunburnt, lanky and wore sheer innocence on his face. The lady fidgeted nervously and had a face full of freckles. The child, barely three,  had a protruded abdomen-- one of the signs of ringworm infestation.

There was one thing common in them -- they all had put on plastic shoes. This pained me a lot. It turned out that the lady was referred here from a periphery namely Thale. It was feared that she might have appendicitis. Considering, it was not an emergency, the doctors had refused to operate on her. TThale. It was feared that she might have appendicitis. Considering, it was not an emergency, the doctors had refused to operate on her. T

The DHQ Hospital of the Baltistan’s capital, Skardu, is facing an acute shortage of nitrous oxide, the gas crucial for the induction of anesthesia. The only anesthetist in the entire city is overburdened with work. An acute shortage of NOS has made everything worse for her.  

I was coming out of a shrine few days back in Khaplu. I noticed a few kids standing outside the shrine. Having the same size and shape, they were all dusty and they wore rags. They smiled with their dust streaked faces and stood barefoot in the sand. They cheerfully posed for pictures. It seemed as if they never had the privilege to look into a book or attend a school. Even when the government schools are functional, they are not serving their purpose. The government teachers have taken it upon themselves to sit in the staff room and have long chats. Their wide spread interests include everything except for the responsibility for which they get so generously paid.

Private schools are emerging at an alarming rate. You will find at least one in every other street. The teachers employed, are so inefficient that they cannot be trusted with the future of the new generation. Gross corruptions in the employments of the teaching staff is another reason for the so obvious inefficiency.

Being a resident of Skardu, I have narrated here instances picked only in Skardu. I do not have any doubts that such instances exist in other parts of the Gilgit Baltistan as well. The progress in health and education are vital for the development of a nation. It is the responsibility of each and everyone of us to do whatever we can for the progress of our region.

I wish and hope that my article attracts the attention of the high and mighty and make them ponder as much as it made me to. Only then I will consider my job done.