Just a few days ago, Musharraf proudly proclaimed that Pakistan is finally in great economic shape.
bq.. “In Pakistan, “globalization has taken a bloody turn”:http://focusasia.startv.com/indepth.cfm?CLIP_DATE=20030928&CLIP_NO=1 — literally,” writes chlim01. “The latest bright spot in its economy is the trade in live human kidneys, with debt-ridden Pakistani peasants comprising the hapless suppliers, desperate foreign kidney patients comprising the buyers, and local kidney merchants and surgeons raking in the cash. According to alarmed experts, about a hundred live kidneys are traded in the Lahore “every six to eight weeks”, with the bulk of the buyers coming from the region: “Mostly from the Middle East, from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Abu Dhabi — these states. And a few from America, England, Denmark and other European countries as well.
…However, a significant part of the alarm over the kidney trade is “concern for the suppliers”:http://stacks.msnbc.com/news/953888.asp, who largely appear to have sold their kidneys due to financial coercion. As observers note, “land reforms enacted in India and Bangladesh have passed Pakistan by, and its system of debt bondages forces millions of peasants to work as virtual slaves for generations,” and in such circumstances it’s easy for these desperate peasants to consider selling kidneys to settle these ballooning debts. Mr. Ahmed Khan, one such victim, explains his desire to sell his kidney: “I borrowed 22,000 rupees for an appendicitis operation for my wife, and 60,000 more when my son died. Now I want to sell my kidney… My landlord is pressurising me. He says ‘even sell your daughter, just give me my money back.'”
p. Some might think that selling your kidney is a viable way of making money for the desperately poor. Well, minus a kidney you cannot work, and with money the kidney-donors end up on the streets.
bq.. Kidney donation turns struggling Pakistani laborers that receive little government services into sickly Pakistani invalids that either receive extensive subsidized health services or die in the streets. As Pakistan is not providing health services, its government’s treatment of its laborers is no better than Stalin’s treatment of the Ukranians in the 1930s.
This is why selling organs is illegal in the United States. Because if you make it a possibility, sooner or later your creditors are going to start demanding it of you as a repayment option, like Mr. Kahn’s landlord. They get paid, and the onus of keeping you alive will eventually end up on your fellow taxpayers. In Pakistan’s case, the kidney recipients are not even footing this health care bill, as they live outside of the country.
Also, that reporter from Reuters is too kind. *Debt bondage is not “virtual” slavery. It’s “real slavery”:http://www.devp.org/slavery/bondage.html*, and should be seen as another failure on the part of Pakistan.
p. Amnestry International, the Red Cross, and other NGO’s estimate that hundred’s of thousands of people are working as bonded labour, under debt burdens passed on through generations.
bq. It has been 10 years since Pakistan’s Supreme Court declared that bonded labour is unconstitutional — 10 years since it took the first steps to abolish it. It is almost seven years since the National Assembly passed a law formally abolishing bonded labour and prohibiting the practice, and four years since the publication of the official rules outlining how the law was to be implemented. However, today, in 1999, we are obliged to conclude that, despite temporary progress following the Supreme Court’s judgement, debt bondage remains both widespread and virtually unchallenged by the Government of Pakistan.
>> “The Abduction of Bonded Labourers in Pakistan”:http://www.devp.org/slavery/sl-action.html
p. Musharraf is no better than the many idiots before him if he doesn’t start tackling these issues. Every few days he makes a really nice and sensible speech, but his last one was a bit too much. He’s sitting there patting himself on the back a bit to much. As they say, the life of a dictator passes through a number of extremely predictable phases. Musharraf seems to be moving onto phase 3, which is the “I’ve done so much and I’m quite great ain’t I”. Not to mention: “The whole world loves me, why can’t you people at home show me some love?”
Note: The “official government estimate of poverty”:http://lnweb18.worldbank.org/sar/sa.nsf/Attachments/Pakistan-Poverty-Assessment/$File/Pakistan-Poverty-Assessment.pdf is “31%”:http://www.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/0/cc2dea23d44dc725c1256d3d004d1549?OpenDocument. The actual figures might be slightly different of course. This might just have something to do with the increase of kidney donors, street beggars and drug usage.