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Saturday May 26 2018

Malik Riaz announces to bear medical expenses of ailing 'Fifty Fifty' comedian

Majid Jahangir, now in his 60s, stands against a car featuring a banner that states his appeal for fans to help him with his medical needs. Twitter/Junaid Akram/@junaidakram83/via

KARACHI: Malik Riaz Hussain, the chairman of Bahria Town, announced Saturday that he will bear medical expenses of ailing actor Majid Jahangir of Fifty Fifty fame.

Early Thursday morning, Junaid Akram, a stand-up comedian who looks up to Jahangir, urged his friends and followers on social media to come forward and assist the veteran actor in whatever way possible.

The comedian's funds have run dry, having been spent on medical bills, after he lost partial function of his body to paralysis almost three years ago. At that time, some state officials had stepped up to help him in his treatment.

"I had been searching for Majid Jehangir for so long and this is how I've found him. He's been my biggest inspiration in comedy. Seeing my hero in this state makes me feel really sad," Akram wrote.

An accompanying picture of the actor, now in his 60s, showed him standing against a car featuring a banner that read:

"لوگوں کو ھنسانے والے ففٹی ففٹی کے مشہور مزاحیہ فنکار ماجد جہانگیر کے فالج کے علاج کے لئیے پرستاروں سے مدد کی اپیل ہے"

Loosely translated, it reads: "This is an appeal to the fans of Majid Jahangir, the famous comedy artiste from Fifty Fifty who used to make people laugh, to help him in the expenses related to the treatment of his paralysis."

Other fans and admirers also took to social media, saying the old comedian does not have enough funds to bear medical expenses by himself.

A number was also provided in this regard — (92) 302-2407374 — if someone wished to be of assistance to Jahangir.

Speaking to over the phone, Jahangir explained that the challenges in his life have kept piling up and that, due to his sickness, he is unable to get any kind of employment.

Owing to difficulties in his speech, the actor had his wife, Saba Majid, talk to, saying ever since the actor's paralysis three years ago, the couple has been asked to make weekly visits to the doctor.

This, therefore, means that apart from his medical expenses, he also has to bear regular commute costs and with no permanent income, it is very hard to live the day-to-day life.

They have moved to Lahore after losing hopes of getting any assistance from the government of Sindh, the comedian's wife says.

"With a treatment that could possibly last a lifetime, we could really do with some financial support," said Saba, who, herself, is a heart patient.

He can walk, she says, but "with someone's assistance".

Just before hanging up, the actor explains that despite writing to the governor and the chief minister, he has had no help after mid-2016, when  Sharmila Farooqui of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and President Mamnoon Hussain had offered financial assistance.

Back in October 2016, had reported that Farooqui personally donated a cheque worth Rs 400,000 to the legendary comedian on behalf of the Sindh government's Culture, Tourism & Antiquities Department.

Other local media outlets reported in 2016 that the president had also approved funds worth Rs 300,000 in Jahangir's name.

Jahangir was honoured with the Pride of Performance Award — the highest accolade in Pakistan — for his memorable performance in Fifty Fifty. He worked for the Pakistan Television Network (PTV) for 22 years and has, to date, starred in four films.

Pakistani actors and actresses have time and again been ignored by the government despite providing decades-long entertainment.

Back in February this year, beloved actor Matloob-ur-Rehman, famous for playing the role of Zakoota Jin in TV series Ainak Wala Jin, died in Lahore after suffering from partial paralysis, as well as, according to some reports, diabetes. Days before his death, he had lamented how it was "a tragedy that artists in our country are not given due respect".

Prior to that, in October 2017, Nusrat Ara Begum — known for her portrayal of Bil Batori in the same drama, Ainak Wala Jinn — passed away after a prolonged ailment. The last few years of her life were spent in poverty and struggle, as she had tried, in vain, to find employment and a paralysis attack had impaired one of her legs.