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Ailing Edhi declines Zardari's offer of treatment abroad

Updated June 10, 2016

KARACHI: Philanthropist and Edhi Foundation Chairman Abdul Sattar Edhi declined an offer by former president Asif Ali Zardari for treatment abroad in favour of treatment in Pakistan.

PPP Senator Rehman Malik visited Edhi in hospital on Thursday with Zardari's proposal of treatment abroad. Edhi, however, declined the offer with a simple gesture, indicating he preferred to receive treatment in Pakistan.

"Should I take you with me to London or Dubai?" asked an earnest Malik who has paid a visit to the ailing philanthropist.

The senator added that if Edhi's condition does not improve, he would visit again and take him abroad for treatment.

Interpreting for his father, Faisal Edhi said, "He insists on treatment in Pakistan, particularly in a government hospital."

"I have told him, if he gives the word, I will take him to any hospital in the world by air ambulance," said the senator.

The philanthropist was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2013 but has been unable to get a transplant due to frail health.

Tehmina Durrani, who is collaborating with the Edhi Foundation on food and heat stroke relief centres in Ramazan, proudly tweeted Edhi's reaction to the offer for treatment abroad.

In the past, the eminent humanitarian has declined Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's offer to donate 10 million Indian rupees to his charity after the safe return to India of hearing and speech impaired girl Geeta stranded in Pakistan. Geeta had been under the Edhi Foundation's care during her time in Pakistan.

Members of Pakistan's political elite have often drawn the ire of the public due to their decisions to travel abroad for medical treatment instead of being treated at local hospitals.

The state of healthcare in Pakistan is abysmal, with people living outside urban centers having little to no options of medical facilities.

A report compiled by the Pakistan Medical Association in 2013 said most Pakistanis have no access to primary healthcare, emergency obstetrical care or emergency healthcare.

The doctors’ body report said: “The political leadership of federal and provincial governments has not shown any commitment or political will to address the real health issues in Pakistan. The health of the nation has become a matter of cheap slogans and corruption, more so with increased donor funding."