LAHORE: People trust him and that is why they give him money to be used for other people’s good, said the PakistanTehrik-e-Insaf and Imran Khan Foundation’s (IKF) Chairman Imran Khan during a press conference at a local hotel on Tuesday.
This presentation before the media was an update on ‘Pukar’ fundraising campaign, jointly initiated by the IKF and Mir Khalilur Rehman Foundation (MRKF), in 2010, after the devastation wreaked by floods in Pakistan. As is the case with Khan’s other philanthropic causes, the response to Pukar was overwhelming, to say the least. In 2010, in less than two months, close to two hundred million rupees were collected for the relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction of the flood-ravaged areas.
In a country where the top leadership is accused of countless charges of corruption, it was no surprise that donors from all over decided to trust Khan, whose financial integrity is something that even his worst detractors cannot deny. Talking to the media persons, Khan informed them that while on his tour to the US in the summer of 2010, a great number of people expressed their desire to contribute towards the relief activities being put together for the flood-hit areas.
As the chairperson of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust Hospital and Namal University in Mianwali, Khan is at the moment one of the biggest philanthropists in Pakistan, which makes him an ideal person to entrust one’s money with, for its distribution among the needy. It is a simple matter of people choosing him when they do not have confidence in many, and contributing in cash and kind, when there is a severe deficit of trust in the policies of people entrusted with the treasury of the government.
A detailed account audit report of the Pukar account was also presented during the press conference. The press and electronic media was informed that the entire sum of the money collected on behalf of the IKF and the MRKF had been checked and accounted for by an independent team of chartered accountants. The breakdown of funds and the way in which they were spent was also explained to the journalists. A proper presentation was given in this regard, with a side-by-side explanation from IKF CEO Naseemur Rehman.
It was noted that the work of the IKF’s volunteers made lives of countless people, who lost most, and in some cases, all of what they had in the horrific floods of 2010 and 2011, a great deal better. As immediate relief, one hundred and ten thousand affected people were sheltered in temporary encampments. Installation of hand pumps in Sindh’s flood-ravaged areas made potable, clean water available to approximately 50,000 people. Besides temporary relief, the foundation has initiated a series of steps that entails systematic rehabilitation of people. More than one million people in the areas most ravaged by floods have been given essential food items, blankets and quilts, and even clothes.
Knowing that those unfortunate people needed more than temporary relief, quality wheat seed has been distributed, enabling flood-ridden communities in more than one thousand villages, to start anew what they lost. The displaced people – close to ten thousand – who after the natural calamities in 2010 and 2011 were left with literally nothing – have been given a new lease of life by the IKF-funded efforts. A detailed plan to rebuild damaged or destroyed houses has been put into motion. Two years, 3,000 houses in 28 villages, in nine districts, across Balochistan, KP, Sindh and Punjab highlight IKF’s efforts and contribution towards rehabilitation of flood victims, the process set to conclude in June 2012.
In addition to ensuring future sustenance of people who lost their crops and cattle, interest-free loans were given to the grateful farmers, who feeling neglected and sidelined by their provincial and federal governments, felt indebted to the selfless work of the foundation. One of the most important aspects of the campaign was to ensure that efforts to help the flood victims serve as permanent cures.
The emphasis after the initial relief work has been on the future stability of the victims of flood. There should be a consistent availability of food and shelter for people and for that purpose, concrete steps have been introduced and incorporated into lives of people of the four provinces by IKF.
During the press conference, Khan answered several questions put forward by the media with regards to the Pukar campaign. It was refreshing to see the chairperson of a charity organisation being at ease with the questions fired at him by men and women of media. Khan, being conversant about the entire mechanism of the charity handled each question with accurate and satisfactory responses. Moreover, when one of the journalists tried asking him a question unrelated to the charity campaign, Khan politely refused to answer, saying the venue was not right for discussion on any other matter.
Unruffled, the “brave” men of media persisted and asked Khan to comment on the latest judicial development in Pakistan. And on that “happy” note, Khan excused himself, ending the press conference. The cluster of journalists around him, when he got off the stage, asking him uni-dimensional political questions, bore testimony to the fact that the media lives for the moment!