Khyber Pakhtunkhwa memorialises political leaders killed by terrorists

By Ashfaq Yusufzai


A doctor in Peshawar administers a shot to a patient in July. [KP Health Department]

PESHAWAR -- The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government is remembering political leaders killed in the fight against terrorism and acknowledging their struggle for peace by naming upgraded healthcare institutions after them.

The new hospitals provide residents with facilities for diagnosis and treatment while also showing appreciation for leaders who never bowed down to militants, said Dr. Jawad Khan, a Peshawar-based medical scholar.

Naming hospitals after those killed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) sends a clear message that the government acknowledges the sacrifices of such individuals, said Dr. Fayyaz Khan of Peshawar.

"It means that the names of those martyred will long be remembered and that the institutions will get enhanced funding," he said.

"It is a two-pronged strategy: to commemorate the sacrifices of our martyrs as well as to improve patient care," he said.

Last December, the 200-bed Fareed Khan Shaheed Hospital began operating in Hangu District, where residents had long demanded such a facility.

The hospital is named for Farid Khan, a member of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) elected to the KP Provincial Assembly whom militants fatally shot in Hangu, his home district, in June 2013.

Earlier, in January 2013, then-KP Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti announced the construction of a 200-bed children's hospital in Peshawar named after Bashir Ahmad Bilour, killed by a Taliban suicide bombing during an election rally in Peshawar in December 2012.

The Rs. 2.2 billion ($13.7 million) facility, situated in Hayatabad township, is set to become operational this December. Once completed, it will develop child health services at the district level.

"It is a blessing for the children who lacked a specialised facility. Besides treatment, the hospital will be used for training of doctors, nurses and paramedics," said Dr. Ghulam Akbar, a Peshawar paediatrician.

It is a befitting response to militants to build medical institutions in the name of their victims, he said.

"Militants are known for harming child health as they hamper vaccination and destroy hospitals, exposing children to diseases," he added.

Meanwhile, in Pabbi, Nowshera District, officials renamed Satellite Hospital Pabbi the Mian Rashid Hussain Shaheed Memorial Hospital in August 2010.

The move came a month after Mian Rashid Hussain, the son of Awami National Party leader Mian Iftikhar Hussain, was killed in the town by militants.

"There are now better facilities as the government has provided equipment and more funds," said Dr. Nisar Ali, a doctor at the hospital.

The Taliban are known for damaging health facilities in Pakistan and Afghanistan, he said. However, the government responded positively -- improving services and ensuring that the public will remember Hussain, he added.

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