Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) are always throwing statement-jabs at each other. The statements then become a twitter war between the two-party supporters.
Things have gotten a lot more serious this time.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s Challenge
In a press conference on Saturday 20th June 2020, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Chairman PPP, said, “I challenge the government to show one hospital in Pakistan that can compete with NICVD. “
National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) was formed with the collaboration of the Government of Pakistan. The NICVD provides services like cardiac surgeries, cardiac transplants, and PCIs. The largest number of patients in the world have been treated in NICVD, free of charge. The hospital’s main center is in Karachi and eight other centers in different cities of Sindh.
Undoubtedly, Sindh has Pakistan’s best healthcare facilities, which provide healthcare free of charge or at a nominal fee. Some of these health care facilities are Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT), Gambat Institute of Medical Sciences (GIMS), Civil Hospital, and many more.
The challenge remained unanswered by the Pakistan Tehreek- i-insaf for 72 hours until a visit.
Shahbaz Gill in Jacobabad
Shahbaz Gill, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Communication, ‘happened’ to visit District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital in Jacobabad. The visit was a mere coincidence or on purpose is debatable.
He released a video in which he said that there are only two doctors in the hospital, and only one was present when he landed there. The other doctor had gone home but came back when he heard about his visit. The video also documented the hospital and the surrounding conditions. Some scenes of the video were people bringing in patients on donkey carts, the surrounding area filled with piles of garbage, and the infrastructure in dire need of repairs.
He further said, pointing to Bilawal’s Bhutto’s statement that Sindh had the best hospitals in Pakistan, “The largest hospital in Jacobabad is in ruins.”
Since the video release, both party supporters have been debating and trying to prove their point with pictures.
Many PPP senior members are defending their Chairman’s stance of best health care in Sindh by the following statements:
‘The hospital was closed five years ago; Gill should have visited JIMS if he wanted to see how patients are being treated.’
‘Gill is doing this to gain fame.’
‘Gill was trying to initiate political drama by going to Jacobabad.’ Some even said, ‘Gill’s statement doesn’t hold any power.’
The PTI members have mostly remained uninvolved in this debate and let the storm die down.
However, health care is still a big issue in Pakistan. If you go to a government hospital, facilities aren’t up to the mark, and private hospitals charge hefty amounts.
Every ruling party in its time has promised hospital developments, sehat insaf cards, and best facilities to doctors.
But in every party’s ruling tenure, the woes of doctors and patients have remained unanswered.
So no one-wins but the ordinary, tax-paying civilians lose.