ISLAMABAD - Hours after serious allegations levelled by PML-N leaders involving money laundering and investments in real estate market through anonymous offshore companies out of Zakat fund of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital, Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Imran Khan termed them a “politically motivated malicious propaganda” aimed at depriving the facility of giving free treatment of cancer to poor Pakistanis.
Apparently disheartened over the situation, Imran Khan addressing a news conference here at a local hotel on Wednesday evening vehemently rebuffed all the allegations and confidently answered the accusations point by point.
He briefly narrated the mechanism involving the collection, investment, generation of profit or loss on funds, collected not only from Pakistan but across the globe. He termed it an effort by PML-N to shake the confidence of donors in Shaukat Khanum Hospital. He was not shy to admit that for the time being it would impact the collection of funds for poor Pakistanis but resolved that he would fight, as he did in 1997 when PML-N had levelled the same accusations against him.
Imran was of the view that that episode was evident to the fact that PML-N could harm the country to any extent for their lust for power.
“Before levelling such accusations, at least they should have thought about the poor cancer patients,“ he said.
Rejecting the allegations of money laundering and investments in anonymous companies, he said Shaukat Khanum Hospital collects 65 per cent of its funds from Pakistan and 35 per cent from overseas Pakistanis.
He said funds raised from overseas Pakistanis directly goes to dollar account (endowment fund).
He said every charity organisation forms an Endowment Board, comprising of financial experts, which invests the donations in different businesses to earn money so that the institution could be run.
“Even Harvard University has also Endowment Board”.
“So did we. The Endowment Board of Shaukat Khanum Hospital invested $3 million in real estate market when it was on its peak. But later owing to recession across the world the real estate market crashed,” he admitted.
However, he said the renowned company through which Endowment Board had invested $3 million had guaranteed that investment of Shaukat Khanum would remain intact and not suffer any loss in any case.
He said invested money was not taken out of Zakat fund but it was collected from overseas Pakistanis. “The company was not anonymous as its Director was Imtiaz Haidri. Khawaja Asif tried to mislead the nation that the money was sent from Pakistan for gambling.”
Imran Khan said Shaukat Khanum was a national asset.
“It is not my relatives, who get free of cost treatment from the hospital, but the poor Pakistanis,” Imran lamented.
Imran said Khawaja Asif might have levelled such cheap allegations as he (Imran) had collected Rs 40 million in a single day from Sialkot for the hospital the other day.
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.
Imran said earlier a PML MNA Hanif Abbasi had alleged that member of Board of Governors of Shaukat Khanum draws Rs 0.2 million each from funds as their salaries. “We filed a lawsuit against him (Hanif Abbasi) which is still pending in the court.”
Imran challenged “If I am wrong, than Sharif should take me to the courts. I will take him to the court for false allegations against Shaukat Khanum hospital.”
Responding to a question, he said that PML-N leaders showed the same balance sheet that was available on the official website of Shaukat Khanum Hospital.
He said the balance sheet for the year 2011 was in process of audit and it would be displayed as soon the process would complete.
To another question, he said it was next to impossible to forge an electoral alliance for upcoming general elections with the PML-N.
“President Asif Ali Zardari is in power only because of Nawaz Sharif,” he said.
“What I had earned from foreign I brought it back to Pakistan but both Sharif brothers and Zardari had piled up billions of rupees in foreign accounts,” he added.
PTI chief ready to face courts