Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif visited Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute (PKLI) and Research Centre on Sunday and expressed disappointment with the previous Imran Khan-led government “for ignoring the health facility worth billions of rupees for the public”.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz set up PKLI when Shehbaz Sharif was the Punjab Chief Minister in 2017. “I visited PKLI today, found out that out of 20 its units, only 14 are functional. It was supposed to provide free medical treatment to the poor but only 17% could get that,” Shehbaz said. He accused the PTI of criminal negligence over the institute’s condition. In a tweet, PM Shehbaz said, “PKLI was set up to provide kidney/liver transplant facility in Pakistan, for which patients usually travel abroad for expensive treatment”.
He also said that during his visit to the institute, “it pained him to see the hospital running ordinarily, far below its capacity and intended purpose for deserving people.” The PM further said, “When I was building the facility, I announced that people from across the country will be able to get free treatment. Unfortunately, the treatment was free till May 2018 and later it remained closed for two years.” He said that work remained suspended on the health facility for two years.
The prime minister said he was sent to jail by the National Accountability Bureau over funding for this project. Expressing serious concern for the patients of kidney and liver diseases, he said that he could feel the agony of the patients because of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s “politics of revenge”. The PM said he had visited the hospital in March 2018. During his visit, he questioned PKLI staffers whether medical equipment was procured with the Rs90 million donations given to PKLI during his tenure but the administration could not give him any answer.
He said that he had allocated Rs400 million of the national exchequer for the PKLI hospital. Earlier, the PM had visited Kot Lakhpat Jail and announced a two-month remission in the sentences of the prisoners across the country. Shehbaz Sharif said that all possible patronage was included in the duties of the government in making the prisoners who had completed their sentence active citizens of the society.
He urged the Kot Lakhpat Jail authorities to make effective use of available resources for the convenience of the inmates. He called for further improvement in the food and health facilities of the prisoners and also directed effective use of available resources for their skill development so that they could be ready to play an active role in the society after their punishment is over. The PM announced forming a committee headed by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah which would chalk out a comprehensive strategy for the betterment of the prison system and the overall system. The PM also paid a visit to the Special Ramadan Bazaar in Johar Town and asked the public about the rates of the essential commodities, especially sugar and flour.