LAHORE: Following the tradition of the government functionaries going to great lengths to ‘inspire’ people, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan underwent an elaborate ritual associated with the blood donation in the city on Saturday.
The incident that created some controversy took place at the Sundas Foundation Centre where she had gone to raise awareness about thalassaemia patients.
In an about three-minute ‘blood donation’ activity, a foundation official first registered her on the ‘Blood Donors Registration Card’ mentioning her age 46. (Her profile on Wikipedia shows her age 50). A doctor placed an infusion set without needle on her arm, showing as if she was donating the blood (which she wasn’t).
The staff present there said it needed the ‘footage and pictures’ of Dr Awan that would help the cause for thalassaemia (children) patients. The staff brought a bagful of blood showing that it was donated by the PM’s aide.
Speaking to Dawn, a member of Dr Awan’s personal staff said it was a “symbolic” donation drive for the thalassaemia patients. “She had asked the foundation for donation of blood but it insisted on a symbolic one,” he said and regretted that it was given a colour that she was faking it.
“I have donated blood to the Sundas Foundation 22 times in the past, in addition to today’s one,” APP quoted Dr Awan as having said. “It is nothing short of a reward if someone’s blood saves anyone’s life,” she said and added that Prime Minister Imran Khan appreciated social work a lot.
“Sundas Foundation was launching an awareness campaign for blood donation for children suffering from thalassaemia and the media coverage was a part of it. Presenting the footage and pictures of the event in a misleading way on certain sections of mainstream and social media is condemnable,” she later tweeted.
Ms Awan further said a law regarding thalassaemia had been enacted in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and it would be introduced in the Centre and Punjab soon.
Later, at the Meet the Press programme, Dr Awan said an information centre would be set up at the Lahore Press Club for telling the people about government’s policies and declared that 2020 would be a year of good governance providing relief to the common man.
She said the PTI government would take the media along with it. She also assured journalists of redressing their grievances and congratulated the newly-elected body of the Press Club.
Published in Dawn, January 19th, 2020