Pakistani-American physicians push PM Imran for political ownership of PKLI

  • Impressed by the design and more so be by the quality of Human Resource that he was able to attract from USA: Naseem A. Shekhani

ISLAMABAD – The Association of Physicians of Pakistani descent of North America (APPNA) has called on Prime Minister Imran Khan to take political ownership of Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute and Research Center (PKLI &RC).

In a letter addressed to the premier, the president of the body has thrown weight behind noted medic, Professor Dr Saeed Akhtar for the smooth functioning of the medical facility that witnessed turbulence last year due to a suo moto notice taken by the former chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar.

Naseem A. Shekhani has requested the premier to save the institution and take ownership of it just like his own charity-run Shaukat Khanum Hospital.

The letter forwarded on Tuesday highlights the sacrifices made by Dr Saeed Akhter for setting up the state-of-the-art facility for the poor and deserving in Lahore.

Shekhani elaborated that Dr Saeed was a renowned name and was chairman of urology at Texas Tech University before he decided to offer his services for his people back home.

“In this endeavour he [Dr Saeed] convinced the CM Punjab to help him in his mission of creating a centre of excellence, who offered him a piece of land and the cost of construction of the first phase of the institute if he moved to Lahore and added liver services to his concept,” it read.

REVEALED: Shocking details of meeting between Dr Saeed Akhtar and ex-CJP that led to PKLI’s downfall

“Like all of us, he wanted to serve the motherland and always had a dream of creating a centre of excellence like Harvard, Yale, Oxford and Cambridge in Pakistan,” Shekhani observed.

Acknowledging the mission, honesty and integrity of the urologist, the president of APPNA underscored the need for supporting Dr Saeed, warning that in any other case, the whole project would go down the drain.

Shekhani also mentioned that five US trained physicians have already resigned from PKLI due to the legal troubles and ensuing allegations and were coming back to USA, warning that if the trend continues, the institute will never be able to become Harvard of Pakistan.

The medic has requested the prime minister to support the initiative for nation building, drawing an analogy of PKLI with Imran Khan’s Shaukat Khanum Hospital.

The request comes days after the first-ever transplant of the liver was conducted at PKLI.

PKLI and Legal Hiccups

Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute and Research Center hit turbulence when the former chief justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar took a suo moto notice regarding the salaries paid to the doctors and the functioning of the facility.

The name of Dr Saeed was also placed on the Exit Control List, barring him from leaving the country.

The former chief justice had also appointed an ad hoc committee headed by a retired judge to run the institute on behalf of the apex court and ordered amendment to Pakistan Kidney & Liver Institute and Research Centre Act 2014.

However, the decisions against Dr Saeed were reversed by the Supreme Court on Feb 28, 2019 – months after Saqib Nisar’s retirement on Jan 17.

Through a two-and-a-half page order, the apex court revoked the earlier orders placing Dr Akhtar’s name on ECL while restoring the PKLI board constituted under Sections 6 and 8 of the PKLI Act.

Dr Saeed Akhtar claims innocence as ACE reveals embezzlement in PKLI enquiry report

The SC bench also withdrew the ACE inquiry and its report, which had recommended registration of an FIR against the management of the PKLI and others, as being unnecessary and a judicial overreach, and directed that if the anti-corruption department brings any action against anyone, the competent forum will decide the matter without being influenced by any order of the SC.

Under the Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute and Research Center Act 2014 promulgated by the Punjab Assembly, the PKLI is run on a not-for-profit basis by a board headed by the CM, comprising the secretaries of health and finance and 11 members nominated by a private trust.

Recently renowned lawyer Babar Sattar recently revealed that a private meeting between the former top judge and Dr Saeed AKhter led to the suo moto notice last year.

“Dr Akhtar says he had met CJP Nisar through a mutual friend, and thought prodding the SC to enforce its edicts against sale of kidneys and livers could help curtail illegal transplants that jeopardise the lives of healthy donors. The ex-CJP probably wanted ideas for his imagined crusade in the health sector. So Dr Akhtar and his wife Dr Masooma Saeed were invited to his house along with Sheikh Amin (CJP Nisar’s class fellow and PKLI board member) and his wife,” Sattar writes in his article for The News.

He narrates the story of Dr Akhtar from an otherwise pleasant meeting that took a U-turn when Dr Sajid Nisar, the younger brother of CJP Nisar and a professor working at Services Hospital Lahore, stopped by at the place.