Brother Khushi Lal (right) speaking to an HIV victim helped by Caritas Pakistan
An association of Muslim organizations has given an award to a Franciscan brother for his 17 years of service to HIV victims. The Dialogue for Development Forum, a coalition of non-governmental organizations, handed out awards to 15 people for their work with HIV/AIDS sufferers on May 15 in Karachi. Franciscan Brother Khushi Lal was the only Christian recipient. Forum president Abdul Rahim Moosvi called the brother “a motivating machine,” who helped all the organizations with medicines and innovative ideas. The award ceremony was held after the 28th
International AIDS Candlelight Memorial at the Karachi Press Club where Archbishop Evarist Pinto of Karachi lit the first candle. “The Vatican donated US$ 10,000 to help people with HIV in Pakistan last year which we distributed among NGOS through the friar,” the prelate said at the event. Brother Khushi Lal pioneered Church anti-AIDS efforts in 1994, in Lahore where he visited drug users and sex workers in red light areas. He has helped establish six organizations that offer help people with AIDS and is presently officer-in-charge of the “New Lights Aids Control Society” in Karachi. “I listen to their problems. They need our support and time. It is easy to find professionals but hard to find people with commitment,” he said. His Karachi-based organization is presently providing medicine to 400 patients around the country. He is also assisting a Caritas Pakistan-sponsored micro credit scheme for six HIV patients. According to the National AIDS Control Program
, there are approximately 97,400 people living with HIV/AIDS in Pakistan.