Saturday Feb 11, 2023
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan Saturday conceded that Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust (SKMT) charity funds were invested in two offshore companies.
The PTI chairman made the startling revelation during the hearing of a defamation case filed by him against Defence Minister Khawaja Asif in connection with the latter’s allegations of misuse of cancer hospital donations.
Khan had filed a defamation suit of Rs10 billion against Asif in 2012, for levelling allegations of non-transparency, money laundering, and use of anonymous companies in the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust funds. Khan had termed the allegations false and defamatory.
Khan appeared before the district and sessions court in Islamabad via video link and denied the allegations levelled by Asif in connection with Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust funds and termed them baseless.
During the cross-examination, Khan said: "I don’t know the decisions made by the Shaukat Khanum Hospital. The board of the hospital does not consult me before making decisions. Now, I came to know that the hospital invested funds in two offshore companies."
In 2008, the hospital’s funds worth $3 million had been invested in a housing project but the amount had been returned to the hospital in 2015, Khan told the court.
Khan said: "Shaukat Khanum Hospital is the [country’] biggest health charity. I am the highest fundraising person in Pakistan. Khawaja Asif levelled baseless allegations against me."
He maintained that nobody would donate if doubts were cast on their spending, adding that he wanted to "save the hospital [from shutting down]".
PTI is the only party in the country that runs on donations, Khan said. He pleaded with the court to decide the case at the earliest.
Speaking on the occasion, the PTI leader lauded the counsel of Asif and said: "You fought the case very well." Taking a jibe at him, Khan said: "It was not a case but you made it a case. I will consider hiring you in the future."
Meanwhile, the court adjourned the hearing till March 4.