Halfway during the month of Ramazan, when it is all about piety and goodness etc etc and bang in the middle of zakat collection, the PML-N stalwart, Khawaja Asif, tried to serve a really ugly blow to Imran Khan of PTI by doing it through the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and giving the term ‘below the belt’ a new dimension! The numbers that PML-N had gained in dealing firmly with the son-in-law of its Chief, the infamous Captain, albeit retired, Safdar, were all dashed to the ground and brought to naught by the accusations made by Khawaja Asif against the Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital. It really was the quickest down slide imaginable, the sort that makes you come slithering to the beginning from almost home at 99, if you are familiar with the board game of snakes and ladders. (I had thought that I would do a column this week on sons-in-law and the culture that surrounds them in our country, but that has to be kept for another time.) The paucity of ideas to answer back Imran Khan, head of PTI, in political terms led to Khawaja Asif making such a joke of himself and his party in front of the national media when he presented balance sheets (taken from the official website of the hospital). The gist of his allegations was that zakat money had been used wrongly to invest unwisely, which had incurred losses for the hospital. Both Imran Khan and the head of the hospital, Dr Faisal Sultan, were able, in immediate responses, to answer all the questions convincingly that were put to them because of this sudden disclosure. The logic that appeals to me the most, as a lay person, is that the PML-N got all the information from a declared website of the hospital revealing thus that they did not have to go the route of 007 to get secret and ‘for your eyes only’ type documents. If there had been mischief as alleged, it would not have been displayed for all to see.Despite the greatest odds, an institution par excellence has been set up that is providing the best possible facilities in treatment to unfortunate cancer patients and that too free of cost to those unable to pay. The Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital is the result of donations made by the bulk of Pakistanis, young or old, here or abroad, rich or poor, who have all contributed to making the dream a reality. It is an entity which makes us proud because, as they say in the vernacular, “hum sub nai iss mai hissa dala hai.” It was assessed before it started by many who stated conclusively that it would not be a viable hospital if it treated more than 5 percent of its patients free, let alone the 75 to 80 percent who are either free or have financially assisted treatment, and would close down in months. It opened its doors in 1994 and this is 2012 - 18 years of excellence, a fact that speaks for itself.It was a childish tactic in the extreme to try and scandalise the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital finances in order to malign Imran Khan and hurt him politically. Just the sort of clean and well-reputed people associated with the hospital who have appeared on television to speak about its policies are in such stark contrast to the fire-spitting practitioners of the worst type of politics in this country.Truth does and ultimately will prevail. One hopes that our politics too will mature one day and we wait for that day. However, until it happens it is better not to make attempts at destroying or diminishing any institution that is providing good services to this unlucky nation.Unlucky because look at the general standard of health and education services throughout the country. The entire system is against the ordinary citizen and no amounts of protests seem to bother anyone really. There are plenty of issues which parties, like the PML-N, can make their own as they prepare for the elections. The voters are not stupid and will choose wisely. One good thing that did happen due to this effort at dramatic expose by Khawaja Asif has been that donations to Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital have multiplied - so eat your heart out Khawaja Sahib! And these additional donations, be assured, will not go towards your personal sadqa jaria either.Postscript: The good things that our religion teaches should actually be tangibly visible in this month and all vices should, in effect, come to a halt. Somehow, it does not stop the indoctrinated and the brainwashed into bringing a bad name to a religion whose Holy Prophet (PBUH) was the epitome of tolerance. Four Christian nurses working in a hospital in Karachi were given poisonous tea by somebody and are struggling for their lives. Whoever was responsible must have thought he was doing Islam a favour by adding poison to the tea of those (of another faith) because they were drinking it in the holy month. He has, in fact, acutely embarrassed us and our great religion both.Another snippet that I saw on television was that of a mad looking young man, who shot his sister dead as she arrived at a court to state that she had married a man of her own free will and choice the other day. He seemed to have no problem with getting arrested and his facial expressions said that he had done the correct thing, killing off a young woman who had dared to have an independent opinion. The more things change, the more they remain the same. Alas!