Bernard Lown wrote once that “if we want to secure a future without weapons of mass destruction, we need to clear the economic and political inequality that separates the nations.” I think this is just as true, applied to a national level. One of the professors at the medical college in Multan mentioned that without tackling the social inequality, we’ll never be able to end armed violence. The existing poverty also has an impact on the upcoming elections in Pakistan this year, because, as Dr. Tipu said, “someone who is hungry every day cannot understand the principle of democracy” – their voting behaviour will more likely rely on ethnic or religious connections than on rational decisions.
We as health-workers, however, have a special position in society, as we are well respected by the ordinary people and by the decision makers. So we can convey the message of non-violent resolution of conflict, harmony and peace to both groups. We should do so by not to getting too much involved in political matters, but by sticking to what we can do best: outline the impact of violence and weapons on the mental and physical health of the people.