10 February 2003 Monday 08 Zilhaj 1423
By Our Staff Reporter

KARACHI: Fund-raiser for patients organized

KARACHI, Feb 9: More than a thousand people attended a fund-raising event on Saturday night at which hundreds of thousands of rupees were raised for poor patients.

Anwar Maqsood and Tina Sani performed at the event which was organized by the Resource Development Committee of the Aga Khan University.

The chairman of the committee, Dr Gaffar Billoo, on the occasion said it had raised Rs14 million since its inception two years ago. "Out of this amount Rs7 million was raised in 2002 alone," he said.

He claimed that his university got donations largely from one community but the beneficiaries came from all communities. The Aga Khan University Hospital not only took care of the rich patients but also poor ones.

The president of the Aga Khan University, Dr Shamsh Kassim-Lakha said Saturday's was the second fund-raising event in a week that had been organized successfully by his university.

He pointed out that Aga Khan University was the first Pakistani university which ran programmes affiliated and recognized by foreign governments. The names of the countries which recognized the AKU's programmes were Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

"In fact Aga Khan University is the only Pakistani institution with presence in three continents," he said. The president of Aga Khan University said that a poor patient from Gilgit had been provided Rs400,000 in financial assistance for a major operation.

The patient had cancer as well as a heart ailment.

After Dr Lakha's speech, Anwar Maqsood and Tina Sani performed in a spectacular setting. The dais on which the two performed seemed to be floating on water and the backdrop was also tastefully done with imaginative use of lighting and various fabrics.

Anwar Maqsood sent the audience in raptures with witty comments that were both thought-provoking and funny. Tina Sani was her usual self. She sang ghazals and poems by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Zamir Jafri and others, which were appreciated by all.

Meanwhile, the Aga Khan University has so far provided Rs0.91 billion to poor patients in financial assistance. More than Rs150 million was given out last year alone, adds APP. This was stated by Dr Lakha. As per the hospital's practice, patients in need were not denied care for their inability to pay.

Dr Lakha told philanthropists that his hospital also provided support to patients classified as "deserving" through the patients' Behbud Society. "Tonight we have a large group of people whose contributions will assist the growing patient welfare needs of the hospital" said the AKU's president.

Dr Lakha pointed out that with increasing numbers of patients and the rising cost of quality medical care, there was an ever increasing demand for financial assistance.