ISLAMABAD: The United Arab Emirates has donated artificial limbs to the residents of Pakistan’s South Waziristan tribal district who suffered serious bodily injuries due to militant activities in their area, said the top UAE diplomat in Islamabad on Tuesday.
South Waziristan, which borders Afghanistan, was widely viewed as part of the regional hub of religious militancy before Pakistan’s security forces reclaimed the territory by launching a major clear-and-hold military operation in 2009.
Thousands of people were displaced due to the ensuing conflict in the area, though many of its inhabitants had already been killed or maimed by land mines and improvised explosive devices in the volatile region.
“We funded 61 artificial limbs to the people from South Waziristan with the aim to bring terrorism victims back to their life,” UAE Ambassador Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Salem Al-Zaabi said while talking to Arab News.
“The project is close to my heart since so many people suffer without their legs or hands and find it difficult to contribute to the society,” he continued.
The embassy took the initiative in collaboration with the Pakistan Bait-ul-Maal, a social welfare institution of the state, and completed the project in three months with Rs5 million.
Malik Zaheer Abbas Khokhar, the top Bait-ul-Maal official, said the main target of the project was to treat 2,000 disable individuals.
“If one family member gets disabled in Pakistan, it can impair the entire family since all the rest of the people face its consequences,” he told Arab News. “The UAE embassy and the Pakistan Bait-ul-Maal seek to provide this expensive treatment to 2,000 people across the country.”
Dr. Liaqat Ali Malik, who was part of the project, said 61 families had benefited from the initiative, though he added that hundreds were still waiting.
“This was a great initiative of the UAE embassy and Pakistan Bait-ul-Maal since it will once again make these people become socially productive,” he said. “The project should continue since many people are still waiting to benefit from it.”
The people who got the artificial limbs were particularly moved by the initiative.
“I lost my leg in a roadside bomb blast in 2014 and was unable to do anything for nearly seven years,” Waliur Rahman, a project beneficiary, told Arab News. “I feel like I have found a new life since I can once again work and earn for my family.”
Zulaikha Bibi, a young college student, who lost her leg in a blast while going to her education institute, said the artificial limb would enable her to continue her education without any external support.
“I am happy and thankful to the UAE embassy since I can walk on my own once again,” she continued. “I plan to complete my education and get into teaching.”