In May 2011, we had published two original articles titled “Imran Khan’s Financial Credibility” (10th May, 2011) and “Some questions about Imran Khan’s PTI NA-USA LLC” (13th May, 2011). The purpose of both the articles was not to taint Imran Khan and his PTI with sweeping statements like being corrupt, dishonest and unprincipled. Both the articles merely raised questions related to Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust (that manages the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Isnaaf’s PTI-USA LLC, registered as a limited liability company in the USA.
In the articles, we did a small review of Shaukat Khanum’s annual audited financial statements for the year 2009 and also questioned the role of PTI-USA LLC in registering protests. Both the articles were written from a financial and logical perspective and raised pertinent questions. The logic was:
Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital is the proud brainchild of Imran Khan –> It is a successful venture in the country where success is quite limited –> Imran Khan is the Chairman of the Board of Governors of SKMT and we can assume he has significant interest and say in the management of the Trust –> If there is something wrong in the Trust’s working i.e. investment policies as highlighted in the article, then we can ask questions and deserve to get a decent response.
What the result was tirade of counter allegations from Imran Khan’s fans and PTI workers. Let us assume that Imran Khan is the Messiah and PPP and President Zardari are the worst in the country, does that make something wrong in the SKMT as right?
The other article asked if PTI-USA LLC, being a registered entity, had done any protests against drone attacks and Afia Siddiqui’s imprisonment; and their activities in registering protests with relevant authorities. Again, the result was counter allegations and challenges by PTI supporters.
Having written the articles in May 2011, we have been regularly visiting the SKMT website’s Annual Report page, hoping to read the 2010 Annual Report. As of 7th November, 2011, 7.57 pm, the 2010 Annual Report is not available.
Hopefully, someday soon, the financial statements will be available. Generally, I have seen that even philanthropic organizations declare their audited financial statements within 6-9 months of end of financial year. The delay in declaration of statements is not looked positively. FOR PTI SUPPORTERS, PLEASE NOTE, I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT PTI. THIS IS ABOUT SKMT, WHERE IN THE PAST I HAVE ALSO MADE SOME DONATIONS THEREFORE I DO DESERVE TO KNOW A LITTLE.
One must also appreciate, that our articles were not written in the aftermath of the 30th October, 2011 PTI Jalsa in Lahore. Whilst a lot of people may have started questioning Imran Khan post the Jalsa, our articles were written more than five months earlier.
We as democratic followers, despite of being from opposite poles, appreciate the show of strength Mr. Imran Khan and his party organized. Getting 100,000 people in today’s insecure times, is no mean achievement. After the jalsa, a lot of anti-PTI and anti-Imran Khan people have started making allegations of impropriety against Imran Khan. One such report appeared in Dawn News on 3rd November, 2011.
In this clip, Dawn News has highlighted Imran Khan’s assets and income tax returns submitted. For FY2007, when Imran Khan was a member of parliament, he declared his assets to be worth Rs. 34,545,769/- whilst also stating he has no property abroad. In Talhar, Islamabad, he has declared 39 Kanals and 9 Marlas as Agricultural Land with a worth of Rs. 830,000. He has also shown 300 Kanals land in Mohra Noor, Islamabad as being gifted to him (!!!!) and 530 Kanals land in Mian Chunnoo as worth Rs. 50,000/-. In FY2010, the income tax he has submitted was around Rs. 1.85 million. Dawn News, while adding, say that in Mohra Noor, Imran Khan has a “buhat bara ghar maujood” and as per their sources, he had bought the land at Rs. 150,000 per Kanal in Mohra Noor whereas Imran Khan claimed that it was gifted to him. By whom, it has not been declared. For Mian Chunoo land, Dawn News claims that it is irrigated land and worth millions easily.
Now comes the confusion. Haroon-ur-Rasheed, noted journalist and a known supporter of Imran Khan (I have personal respect for Mr. Rasheed for being a relatively honest person) has in his column in Jang dated 4th November, 2011 titled “قریب تر ہے نمود جس کی…”, has added to the confused state of affairs. He says which I am trying to translate as:
“Servants and those looking to serve in future have made the Captain’s house as controversial. Firstly, anyone can make or purchase anything with his honest and true source of income. Secondly, 280 Kanals of land was bought at a price of Rs. 140,000 per Kanal, and approximately Rs. 20 million were spent on construction. How much is this? In those days, a 2 Kanal house in E-7 would cost the same. He is fortunate that prices rose in this area and it rose as much as 30 times, just like his popularity has. He sourced this money by selling his flat in London, which he had bought for GBP 50,000 at a price of GBP 700,000. The money was remitted through banking channel. Each penny has been paid tax upon.”
This coming from Haroon ur Rasheed sahab, has to have some value. 280 Kanals @ Rs. 140,000 = Rs. 39,200,000 and Rs. 20,000,000 on construction gives it a cost of Rs. 59 million approximately. Unfortunately, this is more likely to be true, but what Imran Khan stated in his FY2007 statement of assets as a member parliament was misleading. Either of the above is true. Imran Khan’s submitted statement (I am assuming has been signed by him) or Haroon ur Rasheed sahab. If Haroon ur Rasheed is true then Dawn News has hit the right spot while Imran Khan has knowingly given a wrong statement and misled the people.
I am willing to forgive him for his erroneous statement, but then he has no right to claim that if leaders do not declare their assets, then he is going to give a call for Civil Disobedience. Just like he did in FY2007, members of parliament have submitted their statements. He and his party are most welcome to challenge the submissions, if he feels like.
I have asserted many times that the way assets are valued in Pakistan is incorrect. Imran Khan would have done the nation a lot better if he would have said that “upon coming into government, I will change the basis of valuation of assets and properties so that we can ascertain the real worth of wealthy in Pakistan.” Unfortunately, he would never do or say that. After all, Imran Khan belongs to the rich and privileged class and he would further the interests of his own kind first before thinking about the awam of Pakistan.