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March 15, 2019

US doctors urge PM to save kidney, liver hospital

Top Story

March 15, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Association of Physicians of Pakistani descent of North America (APPNA) while expressing solidarity with PKLI CEO Dr Saeed Akhtar have urged Prime Minister Imran Khan to intervene and save the institution.

Naeem Ahmed Shekhani, President of APPNA — the largest physicians’ organisation representing over fifteen thousand members has written a letter to the prime minister and urged him to save PKLI which is destined to become Harvard of Pakistan in the coming decades.

“I am the President of APPNA, the largest physicians’ organiation representing over fifteen thousand members and representing Pakistan on professional, political, humanitarian and social platforms. Our members enjoy every high reputation in the society and fall in top 99th percentile. APPNA has been on the forefront of similar activities in Pakistan especially at professional educational and humanitarian platforms. I have known to Dr Saeed over thirty years in personal and professional capacity. He has excellent academic background. He pursued an academic career and was Chairman of Urology at Texas Tech University when he left for Pakistan. 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. In Islamabad, he established a state of the art urological and transplant facility at Shifa International Hospital. Moved by utter poverty and misery of poor patients, who just die because of lack of money and good professional services, he created Pakistan Kidney Institute (PKI) at Shifa International Hospital to serve the poor at par with rich”, said Mr Shekhani in his letter.

The letter further says, “All of us from the United States supported his cause because we believed in his mission, honesty and integrity. As his workload and team expanded, he wanted to move out of Shifa to offer his services to the poor patients at a bigger scale. In this endeavor, he convinced the Punjab CM to help him in his mission of creating a centre of excellence who offered him a piece of land and cost of construction of first phase of the institute if he moved to Lahore and added liver services to his concept”.

“Professor Dr Saeed Akhtar took up this challenge and left his established practice and residence in Islamabad and moved to Lahore and launched Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute and Research Centre (PKLI&RC). I completely endorse the concept of PKLI as a centre of excellence. I was much impressed by the design and more so by the quality of Human Resource that he was able to attract from USA and systems, which has full potential to become Harvard of Pakistan in next few decades. Combination of such vision, passion, honesty integrity and missionary zeal is a rare combination. At this point if he is not given unconditional political support to take his mission forward, the entire project will go down the drain. It is sad to see that a frivolous suo moto by the ex-chief justice was intended to malign Professor Akhtar but it is heartwarming to see that a full bench has vindicated him”, the letter said.

Mr Shekhani further says, “This has seriously hurt the cause of PKLI and post decision uncertainty because of lack of political ownership which has made the high caliber professionals to think if they want to continue or if they should come back to USA. Five US trained physicians have resigned from PKLI and are coming back to USA. If this departure of high quality HR continues, PKLI will never be able to become Harvard of Pakistan. At this point of time your political ownership as chief executive of the country is just like your own Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital and who will save this institution as conceptually they are identical projects.”

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