His Last Speech — Usman, the Rehri Wala

written by Aon Abbas BuppiManaging Director of Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal

Usman, Speaking to the guests at the Presidency on the World Thallasemia Day

While going through my messages at this hour (morning of 31st May 2019 during Sehri time) I have just received a call from a colleague of mine sharing the news that Usman, The Rehri Wala has, died …….

The story begins in last year November when Rauf Klasra sb sent me an article from one of his friends Mr Nasir Sheikh from Multan who wrote about a young brave 23 year old boy from tehsil Mailsi (District Vehari) who have been fighting for his life with Thallesemia. Usman was the fourth son of his parents and his three brothers had already passed way due to Thallesemia. I had promised Rauf Klasra sb that I will go and visit Mailsi soon.

Finally I went on 21st November, I met this boy Usman (The Rehri Wala). He used to sell popcorns on a Rehri and earn his livelihood through this. So as usual, I asked if I can be of any assistance and he replied that I don’t need anything and can earn enough to have blood transfusion and he also commented that he can afford to have the iron Chelation drug (a necessary medicine given to all thallesemic kids to control the excessive iron in blood due to continuous blood transfusion needed throughout their lives and normally costs RS 150,000 per month). But instead he requested me to arrange this iron Chelation for 300 registered thallesemic kids of Mailsi who can’t afford this medicine. His passion and love for other kids moved me and I decided to set up a Pakistan Bait-ul-Maal Thallesemic center in Mailsi.

After my decision to start this centre, the traditional redtapisim started due to bureaucratic process from the centre which resulted in delay. Every 15 days, he used to call me and inform me about the problems and requesting to start the work quickly, yet the project kept on delaying due to some reason or another. On the other hand, the Tehsil headquarter hospital Mailsi too did not have the blood bank and the required equipment, we thence decided to shift this centre to nearby Vehari district headquarter hospital which was about 40 km away from Mailsi. Usman was not happy about it but willy nilly agreed to it. Last month finally, our vendor gave us a date (1st August) which i informed Usman about it and he was so happy about it.

On 8th May, we celebrated the Thallesemia day in Islamabad and I invited Usman to join us at the Presidency. Usman made his first and the last speech ever and Mr President was so moved by it that he shook his hand with him after the ceremony and encouraged him to keep fighting this disease.

On the way back, he fell ill and could not recover and died on Friday (31st May 2019) an hour back. May his soul rest in peace.

I don’t know why but I feel ashamed for not doing much and fast to setup that Mailsi Thallesemia center so that Usman could have lived to see it and cherished the moments to see all those 300 kids of Mailsi getting their treatment free of cost at their doorstep. I don’t know why I feel very small thinking how brave that boy was who knew that his death is imminent yet he kept on selling pop corns but never begged for himself but for those kids of Mailsi. I salute to his mother who has lost his fourth and the last child.

In someone’s tragedy, you find the purpose of your life. Feeling shattered with the news of his death , but at the same time, I feel the energy that this pop corn boy had, will always show me a way to work for these kids. I can keep on writing about my 7 month association with that boy, yet I think my vocabulary has ran out.

May Allah bless you and put you in the highest places of Jannah. Your last speech will always cherish the corridors of my mind

Aon Abbas Buppi



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