ISLAMABAD: The father of a 15-year-old girl from the Gaza Strip who suffers from a rare bone and muscle disorder has appealed to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan for help in the treatment of his daughter but said this week he had received no response from Islamabad so far.
Walaa Assad has arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, a congenital disease that causes multiple joint contractures.
“Pakistan is a Muslim country, and they love Palestinians,” Walaa’s father Youssef Hassan Assad told Arab News in a video conference on Friday.
“Because the treatment is available in Pakistan, so I am requesting Prime Minister Imran Khan to help me in sponsoring her treatment in Pakistan.”
Last month, the girl’s aunt also took to Twitter with an appeal from Walaa’s father.
However, Assad said that the federal government of Pakistan had not responded to his appeal so far.
“There is a hospital in Pakistan (Jinnah Hospital in Karachi, in Sindh province) which is ready to do her operations when they receive the documents of her case. They said they will be able to do the treatment, but it’s costly,” Assad added, saying he wished for PM Khan to sponsor her treatment and travel to Pakistan.
Assad has four other children, he said. He is unemployed and lives on a government stipend in Gaza.
Explaining Walaa’s condition, the father said she was unable to move her hands and hold objects.
“She has issues in her muscles, legs and is unable to move,” Assad said. “Whenever she needs to stand, she needs someone to help her.”
The girl has had one operation so far, but further treatment was not possible in Gaza, Assad added.
“No one from Israel and any other country has supported us or given any sort of funding,” he said.
Years of violence and conflict have systematically destroyed the health infrastructure of Palestine. In Gaza, with a crowded and poor population of 2 million, there is a severe shortage of medicines and lack of a well-ordered medical system.
On May 21, a ceasefire was announced between Israel and Hamas after 11 days of Israeli aerial bombardment that killed hundreds of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian officials have said 232 people were killed by Israeli airstrikes on the Palestinian territory between May 10 until the truce, worsening Gaza’s already dire humanitarian situation, damaging thousands of homes and disabling critical infrastructure.
Sindh government spokesman, Murtaza Wahab Siddiqui, had responded to Walaa’s aunt’s appeal on Twitter, saying that the provincial government would be happy to assist.
Siddiqui told Arab News on Friday that the (provincial) government was in the process of arranging a meeting between Pakistani doctors and Walaa’s father and her doctors in Gaza.
“As the girl’s father cannot speak any other language than Arabic, we are in the process of arranging a Skype session along with a translator between Jinnah Hospital’s doctors and the girl’s father along with her medical team in Gaza to know the exact situation and access the possibilities,” Siddiqui said.
“Treatment is possible, but they will need more details about the girl,” he said.