By S. M. Hali

In Baluchi, “Darman Jah” denotes “a place of cure and healing”, which is an apt and befitting name for the new and first ever hospital facility established by Pakistan Navy (PN) in Baluchistan’s coastal town of Ormara. Baluchistan has been neglected far too long, resulting in heartburn, bickering and in some instances, incidents of insurgency, which has been instigated and exploited by Pakistan’s detractors. The establishment of the international port at Gawadar, the coastal highway, dams, highways, military cantonments with their entire range of facilities like schools, dispensaries, playgrounds, canteen stores department, bakeries and other wherewithal have not only provided employment opportunities but contributed towards raising the quality of life of the Baluchis since they have access to the facilities.

PN has been a major contributor to the cause of engaging the Baluchis positively and establishing facilities to augment the living condition of the inhabitants of the coastal areas. The entire coastal belt of Baluchistan, which was below par in its potential due to lack of communication facilities, education and medical services, is now being brought into the mainstream through various national endeavours. PN’s Naval Base Jinnah, instituted to become a full fledged operational establishment, will not only be an important milestone towards the defence of the maritime frontiers of Pakistan, but will provide employment opportunities to the people of Pasni, Turbat and Gawadar. PN’s Amir-ul-Bahar, Noman Bashir, who inaugurated PN Hospital Darman Jah, in his speech on the occasion, highlighted that the strength of the civilian employees in the Navy would become the biggest profession of the people of the coastal area and Ormara, second to fishing.

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Uplift of any nation cannot be ensured until the torch of education is lit and its people are imbibed with the spirit of learning. Baluchis’ deprivation of education has been on two accounts, lack of educational facilities and suppression by feudal/tribal leaders. It is heartening to note that PN’s welfare activities and its endeavour to develop the coastal belt include the establishment of Bahria Schools at Ormara and Gawadar, providing the incentive of selecting Baluchi students after 7th class and educating them at PN’s schools at Karachi and setting up a Cadet College at Ormara.

PN Ships based at Ormara

In the realm of providing medical facilities, PN had already taken the initiative of setting up medical camps and free medical amenities for the Baluchis at the PN Units in the coastal belt; however there was dire need to set up a modern hospital to render specialist level medical and health care treatment facilities. Realizing this urgent requirement, PN took the timely decision of establishing the 100 bed hospital PNS Darman Jah near Ormara city due to its central location. The hospital, apart from catering to the naval personnel, would also be offering its healthcare facilities to the local populace. Recruitment of the hospital’s female paramedic staff is being made from the local area. After receiving the requisite training at PN Hospital SHIFA at Karachi, they will be qualified to serve at the hospital. Encouraging the Baluch women to enter service is testimony to pursuance of PN’s sustained policy towards uplift and development of Baluchistan.

PNS Darman Jah is a full scale medical facility housing trauma care, operation theatre, labour room, pathology, radio diagnostic center and dental treatment. The hospital is equipped with latest state-of-the-art equipment and machinery.

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It is appreciable that besides executing its operational task of guarding the maritime frontiers of Pakistan and participating in the war on terror, PN is playing its due role in nation building and social uplift of the people of Pakistan in general and Baluchistan’s coastal region in particular. The great floods of 2010 had seen PN in action along with its sister services and other organizations of Pakistan providing yeoman service to the flood victims. From rescue to rehabilitation, PN’s “Operation Madad” was a commendable task. This year too torrential rains have wreaked havoc, causing severe flooding in lower Sindh. In continuation of the same spirit, PN’s rapid response teams rushed to the aid of the flood affected people. Its HQ Coastal Command spearheaded the execution of PN’s efforts, with all available resources at its disposal, encompassing helicopters, boats, hovercraft and other wherewithal. It is imperative that we acknowledge PN’s comprehensive rescue, evacuation and response plan and its execution to meet the daunting task and mitigate the suffering of the hapless flood victims, who have been hit twice in succession. The armed forces of Pakistan are a boon when they respond to the beck and call of the nation.

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