By Farman Nawaz (Daily Outlook Afghanistan)
Last day, I was watching Hard Talk program on BBC World News. It was about a paralyzed person in UK who wishes to die but through a legal process. His argument is that for six years he is living this way and there is no hope of his recovery therefore he wants to get rid of this dependent life which is not only a burden for him but for his family too. He has also convinced his family for this.
In Pakistan where religion and traditions are considered the sources of laws, no one can think about expressing such views. This legal and social issue may seem as a kind of reality show but the fact is that every society has its own complications and line of thinking.
I discussed the issue with one of my friends who has command over religious matters. He was of the opinion that it is a problem of separation of religion from the society. He argues that religion stresses upon the family to assist such persons and it also gives hope to a person of happiness after death. European life is full of facilities but does not provide a relief of hope of life after death. Religion tells us that life in this world is preparation for the life after death.
Now the question is that whether we should provide a solution to that paralyzed person or we should deride him of his ideologies and modern traditions of his society. Is it good to give that person his right of death or to make him contented by giving him philological therapy? Not only Islam but his own Christian community where dozens of liberal, secular and humanitarian organizations are working, is not ready to give him the right to put off the candle of his life.
His wife who is helping him live his dependent life is also of the view that now death is the ultimate solution. When she was asked that isn’t it selfishness to help someone end his life, she answered that it is also selfishness to keep her husband alive for her own happiness.
I am of the opinion that only death is not a problem for this person because Swiss government has promised to assist him in killing himself but he argues that he wants to die in his own home among his family members. Actually he has challenged the system of UK where freedom of expression is the basic right.
Few years ago I asked Sam, who came here to Pakistan from UK to study Islamic society, why someone should prefer UK to live in? He replied that UK is a habitable place where courts provide justice to everyone.
Now it is a test for the UK parliament and judiciary to provide solution to this person. It is also a challenge for the medical world and scientists. Is this justifiable to land on other planets and ignore the basic human rights? This paralyzed person has trust in the legal system but he has lost trust in the medical world.
UK government is fearful of the consequences of legislating for such an ailing person who is constantly demanding to end his useless, worthless and hopeless life. However on the other side this paralyzed person also reminds the government of its legislation for committing suicide. Government is trying to find the solution in religion, ethics, and human rights but issue of the paralyzed person is hopelessness, depression, aimlessness and sense of dignity. There is great difference in the sphere of thinking of the government and this paralyzed person.
The anchor of the Hard Talk has met with different communities before interviewing this aggrieved family. If the anchor was interpreting the government point of view, I feel there is need of reconsidering this issue because the anchor totally emphasized on one side.
He was of the opinion that legislating for a person to give him his right of death will open the way for others to convince someone disable in their family to end his or her life. Now the question is if someone requests the government to allow him finish his life then whether the government should see legal side of the issue and give the answer in ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or it must try to find out the causes which compelled that person to kill himself.
May be this paralyzed person has started this debate to seek very special kind of help to come out of this miserable condition. Instead of leading that person to ‘Tyburn’ UK government must see whether there is any kind treatment available all over the world to regenerate the social life of this person. Providing this kind international medical facility may put extra burden on the economy but I think saving human life is better than savings.