ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is a party which can harm Pakistan to any extent just to come into power, accused Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan on Wednesday.
Responding to the money laundering accusations levelled against him by PML-N senior leader Khawaja Asif, Khan said the party should have at least considered doing a little more investigation into the matter before speaking to the public.
“Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital is not Imran Khan’s personal hospital; the patients are not my relatives, they are Pakistanis,” said Khan, adding that by attacking the hospital, PML-N has caused harm to many Pakistanis who receive free health care at the hospice.
“It is the only free cancer hospital and PML-N should have thought before doing this,” Khan stated.
Lamenting that the PML-N dragged a welfare institute into the mud of politics, Khan said the finger-pointers should have attacked him but not the hospital.
Calling PML-N’s allegations baseless, the PTI chairman said the $3 million amount mentioned by Khawaja is already stated in hospital’s balance sheet. “If we had misused the money, we would have not mentioned it in our accounts,” Khan clarified.
As if to further admonish Khawaja, Khan pointed out that the PML-N leader had in fact relied on their public balance sheet to pick out all the numbers for his accusation.
Calling the accusation that zakat money was invested abroad a lie, Khan said that the hospital receives money from donors within the country and from those outside of it. He said the amount of money hospital gets in zakat is never enough to provide free health service and so fund raising events are organised to bridge the shortfall.
He further explained that the foreign donations are collected in a dollar account which is managed by the hospital’s endowment fund. “The endowment fund uses this money for investment and earn profit on it,” he declared.
“The endowment fund has its own board which decides how to use the money, a board of which I’m not a member,” Khan said, adding that the board decided to invest money in Dubai as property prices were rising back then.
Answering the accusations point by point, Khan said the money never went abroad from Pakistan as it was a part of the endowment fund and the company, where the hospital’s endowment fund invested, was owned by Imtiaz Haideri, who is also the chief executive.
“The investment crashed all of a sudden,” Khan admitted, but, said, the owner had promised them that they will earn profit on the investment and will not incur losses.
The PTI chairman said the PML-N probably played this blame game now because it’s Ramazan and the hospital receives huge amount of donations this time of the year.
“Khawaja might be upset by this but I want to tell him that we have received Rs40 million from Sialkot and raised Rs60 million through a fund-raising iftari in Lahore,” Khan boasted.
The PTI chief added that Khawaja might have levelled the allegations just to prevent the hospital from getting funds, adding that the PML-N has pulled such a stunt before.
“In 1997, I had to face a lot of trouble. I had to tour all over the globe to raise funds for the hospital as donations stopped coming in after PML-N created similar doubts,” he said.