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Bilawal announces endowment fund for treatment of HIV patients

Updated May 26, 2019

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RATODERO: Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari speaking to media personnel at a blood screening camp on Saturday.—Saeed Memon / Dawn
RATODERO: Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari speaking to media personnel at a blood screening camp on Saturday.—Saeed Memon / Dawn

LARKANA: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has announced setting up an endowment fund to ensure free and lifelong treatment of people living with HIV/Aids in Sindh.

He was speaking to journalists in Ratodero after visiting the blood screening centre in Taluka Head­quarters Hospital. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, PPP’s Sindh chapter president Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho, and adviser on information Murtaza Wahab were present on the occasion.

During his visit, Mr Bhutto-Zardari met doctors and hospital staff, who told him that in 32 days over 22,000 persons had been tested for HIV/Aids at the camp. Expressing satisfaction over the performance of the doctors and the allied staff, he underscored the need for redoubling efforts.

Accuses PM of ‘blackmailing’ NAB; Firdous terms allegation baseless

He also visited the unit established in the hospital for the patients’ treatment and assured parents of the affected children they would not be left alone. The PPP chairman said that the Sindh chief minister had been asked to establish an endowment fund to facilitate those affected by the virus.

In 2012, the Sindh Assembly had considered legislation to handle the HIV/Aids cases in the province, he said, hinting at tabling a new draft of the bill in the assembly to fight the virus.

The PPP chairman also advised the media to desist from reporting names and publishing pictures of HIV/Aids patients.

When HIV/Aids cases were reported in Ratodero, the same day 300 cases were reported from Turbat, he said, adding that everyone had to collectively fight against the disease across the country.

Read: Over 300 test positive for HIV in Turbat

He demanded immediate removal of a federal minister for issuing what he called a ‘controversial’ statement on HIV/Aids and children.

Turning to politics, he said just after holding one Iftar with opposition parties he could hear screams coming from the Prime Minister House. He said more such Iftar gatherings would be held.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari linked the price hike in the country to the “ineptness” of the government that continued to “drop the bomb of increasing electricity and gas tariffs”.

He was critical of what he termed “flawed and directionless” economic policies of the government and claimed that even the business community was feeling the brunt of failed economic policies.

He said the National Accountability Bureau and the country’s economy could not run simultaneously, as according to him bureaucrats and government could not perform well because of NAB and FIA.

He alleged that Prime Minister Imran Khan was blackmailing NAB in a bid to hinder accountability of government officials and condemned airing of videos of the NAB chairman on TV channels.

“It is our principled stand that the NAB law is a black law,” he said, but in the same breath added that PPP would not do politics over someone’s personal matters.

APP adds: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said that Mr Bhutto-Zardari was hurling baseless allegations against the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) to hide his party’s corruption, mismanagement and bad performance in Sindh.

She said the government was healing the wounds inflicted on the economy by the previous governments and was determined to put it out of crisis and bring it to the road to progress.

Dr Awan said the economy was damaged due to loot and defective policies of the past governments.

She said the adviser to the prime minister on finance had announced a comprehensive plan for progress in the agriculture sector, industrial revival, provision of jobs and for sustainable economic system.

She said the opposition was in panic after seeing that the economy was moving towards stability, adding that the opposition was making the institutions controversial to save itself from accountability.

The new coalition of opposition would disperse as speedily as it was created earlier in haste, she added.

Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2019