According to reports, Maryam Nawaz is proceeding abroad for medical treatment for her knee. She is not the first of our political leaders or their family members, who rush abroad for treatment, even for minor ailments mostly at tax payers’ expense. Although in her case, expenses may be paid by the family, the embassy staff will be involved in her protocol. When Mr. Zardari went for treatment to Dubai, the Presidency practically shifted there. In addition, the hosts benefit by providing facilities not related to treatment and in return obtain undue favours from the government of Pakistan such as in the case of PTCL. It also strengthens General Musharraf’s argument that he should be sent abroad for treatment.

When the rulers do not trust the medical facilities in their own country, especially for Maryam Nawaz, who is the director of her own hospital board Sharif Medical College and Hospital at Jatti Umrah, who will get treatment here? Only the poor and middle classes who cannot travel abroad? Why don’t they try to improve the facilities for everyone? The medical staff of government hospitals is delighted when a VIP is admitted, as it provides them an opportunity to highlight their shortcomings directly to decision makers and invariably the hospitals benefit.

To improve the situation, the patriotic members of parliament should move a resolution that no MP or government official should be allowed to proceed abroad for treatment at government expense, even if facilities are not available. In such a case, funds should be allocated to create the facilities rather than wasting them on saving the life of a single individual when hundreds die daily because they do not have access to any medical facilities.

FAYYAZ UR REHMAN,

Islamabad, March 24.