This is part of our annual, series, “14 Days, 14 Stories”, about ordinary Pakistanis who are doing extraordinary things.
It’s usually the first response of many people to feel despair at the authorities not acting swifter to help them in times of need. Instead of just sitting and waiting for a miracle to happen, there are also those who take matters into their own hands and decide that if the state cannot provide the required services, then they will. Many are used to criticizing the privilege that several have in this country but many also use that privilege to good use because they genuinely feel for those who have no one looking out for them.
Dr. Abdul Bari Khan – a man who wants to stay away as far as possible from the limelight and focus on the work that he does
He belongs to the city of Karachi – a metropolitan hub and a community that beams with life because you will find all kinds of people there. But back in 1986, an incident took place that left the entire city devasted.
In July 1986, twin bomb blasts hit the Sadar area of Karachi. The bombs were planted in two cars and left 72 dead and 250 injured
Dr. Abdul Bari Khan along with his friends witnessed the incident and could not digest the suffering and the pain of the people. The entire city was covered with clouds of sadness and everyone felt helpless because they did not know how to manage such a situation. It was at that time that Dr. Bari and his friends decided that they will not let situations like these take over the charm of the city and they pledged to help the residents of the city.
At that time, he and his friends were a part of the students run Patient Welfare Association. They were all aspiring to be doctors and along with that, they started working towards their goal of renovating the Civil Hospital of Karachi.
They rigorously started campaigning to work towards the completion of the cause. They would go from door to door to ask for donations to set up the hospital. By 1987, they managed to set up the Accidents and Emergency ward of the hospital.
The suffering of the people back then made these friends realize that people do not have the means to afford basic necessities, so it was important to set up the hospital in a manner that it was cost-free. Many thought that they would not be able to sustain the model because maintaining donations is never easy. However, the hospital stands tall even today running solely on donations.
It was not until 2007 that they were able to get the Indus Hospital up and running and dependent completely on donations
Dr. Bari specializes in cardiology and has also helped set up the Rufaydah Foundation (RF). It helps those who cannot afford to get treatment. His commitment to the cause of philanthropy and to the service of humanity is unquestionable. He has silently managed to get the system up and running and has become a known figure in the community. He is an example for many and they listen to his story with great interest because he realized the need to be there for our own people and built a system functioning purely because people are generous enough to donate.
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For more stories from our series about extraordinary Pakistanis check out “14 Days, 14 Stories”.
cover image via Hamdard Pakistan / Youtube