Drugs,HIV adds insult to injury to Terrorism hit Pakistani life
Nobody knows how much suffering poor Pakistanis can take. Bereaved by terrorism, tribal wars, lawlessness, oppression and death from the skies etc , now the people in the Talibani infected Pakistan-Afghanistan border areas are facing a new enemy. Drugs and HIV.
As on 2008, Pakistan has an estimated six million users
Her marriage to a violent and abusive addict, during which she had to work to feed their four children, ended when he died of AIDS – but not before he infected her with the HIV virus.
‘Such a huge punishment without doing anything wrong crushed me,’ said 28-year-old Naz as she sat in a Karachi hospital.
She was 16 years old when her labourer father married her off to Ghulam Punjtan, then an apparently respectable driver for the Pakistani government.
‘A few months after the marriage I discovered Ghulam was a heroin user. I tried to help him kick the habit but all I got were beatings and abuse,’ she said.
Pakistan has more than four million drug addicts in its population of 160 million, according to figures compiled by the country's Anti-Narcotics Force, which is responsible for investigating and prosecuting drug offences.
Opium poppy is grown on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, a region infamous as a hideout for Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants.
Pakistan shares a 2,500-kilometre porous border with Afghanistan, which supplies 90 percent of the opium used to make heroin worldwide.
As such, the largely lawless region is the key transit point for heroin, morphine and hashish heading west to Iran, Turkey, the Balkans and Europe, and east to China.
As it passes through what has become the central theatre of the ‘war on terror,’ cheap supplies are left behind for the locals, with one gram costing as little as 80 rupees (one dollar) in Karachi.
Here anyone can afford a hit. And many, like Rubina Naz's husband, do.
Her life lurched from bad to worse as her husband's addiction spun out of control.
When he lost his job, she took factory work to ensure the family had an income.
‘My husband fell seriously ill three years ago. His father took him to a hospital where tests confirmed him HIV positive,’ she said.
But her in-laws didn't tell Rubina about the disease, and she continued to have sex with her husband. Weeks after he died, she fell ill and was diagnosed HIV positive.