KHYBER AGENCY: Afghan Patients and their attendants and some of the far-off areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) continue to face problems at the hands of not only swindlers but also greedy policemen.
Complaining from the situation created by greedy policemen, doctor said that his fifty percent patients were coming from Afghanistan but looted at check posts created from Torkham to Peshawar.
Dr Mohammad Shafique, noted psychiatrist who for years has been running a clinic in Tehkal on the busy Jamrud Road, said his patients and their attendants have been complaining to him about rising number of incidents in which they are deprived of money that they bring to seek treatment.
“On August 3, two of my patients were robbed by swindlers. One of them was 40-year old Jawad from Afghanistan’s Herat province. He started crying in our clinic and wondered how he would now pay for the journey back home as he had been deprived of his money. Jawad had come with a patient and was deeply concerned as he had no money left to pay for his expenses,” Dr Shafique recalled.
“Hardly a day goes when someone visiting our clinic isn’t robbed of money. We alerted our employees and tried to tackle the problem, but it only temporarily and partly stopped the practice and that too in the vicinity of the clinic,” he said. He added that Afghans coming all the way from Afghanistan for treatment and patients and their attendants from Waziristan and other tribal areas were the biggest victims of the swindlers, fraudsters and even some cops as they are considered vulnerable and in some cases naïve.
Dr Shafique isn’t the first physician to complain about such street crimes as other doctors and hospitals too have spoken about it and brought it to the notice of the police, government officials and the media. Doctors at the Rahman Medical Institute (RMI) and Northwest Hospital, the two well-known private hospitals in Hayatabad town, often narrate stories of Afghan patients getting robbed at the hands of the policemen, militiamen and swindlers. The Afghans prefer to come to Pakistan, particularly Peshawar, for seeking treatment due to a host of reasons, but they sometime regret coming here after experiencing problems the moment they cross over from Afghanistan at Torkham. All those deputed on the border, on the road to Peshawar and in the city itself could stop them for identity checks and the greedy and corrupt among them could demand money for letting them go. The patients and their attendants prefer to spend all the time in these hospitals due to fear that they could be harassed or robbed outside.
The authorities, particularly the police, promise action against the corrupt elements in the ranks but the situation hasn’t improved. Pakistan risks losing not only the Afghan patients, but also goodwill of the Afghans if proper measures weren’t taken to stop the marauding policemen and the swindlers, who seem unafraid of the law.