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MSF Colleagues Remembered
March 10, 2009
This article is part of the Spring 2009 issue of the MSF Alert newsletter.
On Sunday, February 1, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières’ (MSF) medical technicians, 24-year-old Riaz Ahmad and 27-year-old Nasar Ali, were shot and killed as they traveled in a clearly marked ambulance on their way to pick up civilians injured in fighting in the town of Charbagh, in Swat district, in the Northwestern region of Pakistan.
“The day our colleagues Nasar and Riaz were killed was their day off, but they had come to work anyway because they’d heard there were large numbers of people wounded in fighting who needed urgent medical assistance. They volunteered because of their strong desire to help others. They will be greatly missed; their dedication to bringing medical aid to people who urgently required it, under extremely difficult and dangerous conditions, was an inspiration to many inside MSF and beyond. We share the deep sorrow of their families and friends and right now our priority is to support them as much as we can.”
MSF has been working in Pakistan since 1988 and in recent years its medical teams focused particularly on helping victims of the increasingly violent armed conflict in regions along the northwestern border of the country. In Swat, MSF ran three ambulances and in the last quarter of 2008 MSF staff transported more than 350 people for emergency treatment to hospitals in the region. During the same period, emergency rooms supported by MSF assisted more than 400 warwounded people. The MSF medical services to the injured or sick in Swat always operate under strict guidelines of neutrality and impartiality. Pakistan is on MSF’s list of “Top Ten Humanitarian Crises of 2008.”