BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
GILGIT: A survivor of infamous Nanga Parbat tragedy - Afsar Jan - is looking for buyers for his kidneys as a last resort to pay off his debt.
The debt - which is slightly over Rs0.6 million - accumulated as Jan’s wife underwent a heart surgery at Aga Khan Hospital Karachi in 2013. The surgery came days after gunmen stormed a base camp of Nanga Parbat, killing nine foreign climbers. Jan was part of the expedition as a cook but escaped the wrath of the attackers who, he says, were looking for foreigners. Once the killers fled, Jan reportedly helped army shift the dead bodies to hospitals.
“I’m a poor man and my kidneys are my only hope,” says Jan, who lives in Ali Abad Hunza. A small cabin where he makes and sells tea is the only source of income for the 45 years old Jan, his two sons and the ailing wife who had also heart surgeries in 2000 and 2007 at the same hospital. “I have spent whatever I had on my wife’s treatment. What is left now is my kidneys and I wish buyers came to me immediately.”
Jan said his brother, who was an employee at Aga Khan Hospital paid the hospital bills initially in installments for some time. “But then he too has surrendered.”
“I have a small piece of land in Hunza that I don’t want to sell, its for my sons,” Jan told The Express Tribune over phone.
The prolonged illness of wife coupled with shrinking income opportunities seems to have weighed heavily on otherwise strong-nerved former climber. “I thought of committing suicide then decided against it as a paralysed life is better than no life.”
Jan appears weary of his relatives’ cold shoulder too, saying no one offered even a consolation in those testing times let along financial assistance.
But then a watch dog activist comes to his help. “I know this man since long and also his honesty and hard work,” said Babar Khan, president of National Peace and Justice Council of Pakistan’s in Hunza. “Our meeting is scheduled with governor Mir Ghazanfar and Rani Atiqa today and we are hopeful about a positive outcome,” Khan told The Express Tribune on Saturday.
The plight of Jan came under discussion in the social media too, with some offering their support. “Hunza is a small place and everyone knows each other yet its pity nobody came to his rescue,” read one comment.