LAHORE: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday regretted what he described as the mismanagement of the Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute (PKLI), saying “dirty politics” kept the facility non-operational for two years and brought it to a grinding halt.
He made the remarks while inaugurating the state-of-the-art Saleem Memorial Trust Hospital in Lahore. The hospital will provide world-class medical treatment facilities to the poor and needy.
The premier said that PKLI was established on the same “analogy” and billions of rupees were invested in it. “I sincerely wanted it and still want it to become Pakistan’s John Hopkins.”
He asserted that it was a “world-class hospital” but lamented how it had been neglected by the PTI government.
“Without going into any kind of blame game, just because it was built under our watch, this hospital that was meant to serve thousands and thousands from all over Pakistan […] eminent doctors physicians and surgeons came, but what happened after the government changed is a sorrowful tale. I am not here to tell that tale.”
The premier went on to say that ultimately it was the people’s money which was at stake. He said that the income left over after the divisible pool primarily went towards debt servicing and defence spending.
So if a hospital is made in Rs20 billion for treating cancer and conducting liver/kidney transplants and treating other diseases while experts are called from across the globe but ultimately chased away, who truly suffers, he asked.
He said that when he had inaugurated the PKLI in May 2018, five transplants had already been conducted. The prime minister also recalled how the wife of one of the patients had told him that her life had changed due to the free-of-cost treatment.
Shehbaz Sharif stressed that national interests should be given priority while executing the public welfare projects including hospitals to serve the masses.
He was addressing an inauguration ceremony of Saleem Memorial Trust Hospital. The six-storey, 350-bed hospital is equipped with the latest state-of-the-art treatment facilities.
The prime minister praised the owners of the Trust and expressed the hope that the hospital would serve the ailing humanity with world-class treatment facilities.
He said the managers of the Trust would not only earn the prayers of the patients, but also earn blessings in the world hereafter.
The prime minister expressed the confidence that the experienced hands in the hospital would run the facility efficiently.
The prime minister said they had set up PKLI hospital in Lahore on this model to serve the masses with latest treatment facilities and wanted it to function like John Hopkins health facility. Hepatitis filter centers across Punjab province were set up under its patronage and patients from all over the country came for treatment, he added.
He regretted that dirty politics were played during the rule of the last government. The PML-N government was changed and what happened during the last four years was a painful story, he said, adding that the national wealth belonged to the people.
The prime minister referring to the economic constraints said that the government was hardly meeting its expenses.
He said 1122 was an initiative of Pervaiz Elhai but he had expanded it throughout the province.
The prime minister urged the philanthropists to come forward and execute such public welfare projects across the country.
Earlier, Chairman Trust Shehzad Saleem gave an overview of the project.The prime minister visited different sections of the hospital and was briefed about the provision of treatment facilities including oncology, cardiology and OPD.