Ambulance service shut down amid money-laundering allegations 

Published: January 7, 2019
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Ambulances of the Khidmat-e-Khalq Foundation parked outside the hospital. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Ambulances of the Khidmat-e-Khalq Foundation parked outside the hospital. PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI: Khidmat-e-Khalq Foundation (KKF), the second-largest welfare organisation of Pakistan after Edhi, has decided to stop operating its ambulance service in view of the view financial crunch brought about by its operations being scrutinised over allegations of money laundering.

KKF, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) charity wing, had been in operation since 1978, and ran over 100 ambulances, funeral buses, mortuaries, dispensaries, blood banks and even a university. While most of these services were based in Karachi, it had spread to other parts of the country, particularly in Hyderabad. The charity organisation also received the Sitara-e-Jurat [Star of Courage] – the third-highest military award in Pakistan – for its services in the aftermath of the earthquake in Kashmir in 2005.

“Such a serious decision against a welfare organisation for a single person’s actions is unfair. We are consulting a legal adviser over this issue,” said the MQM-Pakistan spokesperson, when asked about the organisation’s future prospects. He was referring to the recent orders by the Federal Investigation Agency to seize Rs3 billion worth of properties owned by the charity.

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The fallout

With the second-largest fleet of ambulances, the KKF was a life-saver for the lower-income groups of Karachi in the absence of a public ambulance service. The fleet is the first to feel the pinch. Several morgues too have been shut down.

For now, the organisation has still managed to salvage the Nazeer Hussain Hospital in Federal B Area and its namesake university in Moosa Colony. The blood banks, too, are providing services for now. The KKF’s hospital in Hyderabad is the only hospital with incubator facilities.

According to the spokesperson, who asked not to be named, “the KKF has been providing emergency services to the public for the past several decades”. Its closure will impact thousands of people, he added. “We have reached out to the federal and provincial governments in this regard and hope the issues will be resolved soon.”

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