This is about the time when funds collections for Imran Khan’s new endeavor, the construction of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital, Lahore were underway.I remember how my alma mater had also taken part in that noble cause.
I was a student of grade 3 back then and was studying in a private school in Multan which was also raising funds for SKMH Lahore. As part of the cause, there were these tickets the students were asked to purchase in order to make a contribution. The teachers tried their best to convince all the students to contribute as much as possible. As a result of that, I was completely convinced to get a whole bundle of the tickets and sell those to as many friends and family members as possible. When I brought that bundle of tickets home, my elders thought it would be hard to convince people to make contributions. Anyhow, some were pleased to contribute while others had to be convinced to take part and do their bit. Finally, I was happy to be able to fulfill my commitment and hand over the money to the school teacher collected through sale of those tickets.
Once the fund collection period was over, the school planned to organize a formal ceremony and Imran Khan was to be invited to collect the contributions from the school. The students were all excited to attend the ceremony so that they could see the man behind the initiative who was a national hero and a famous sportsperson. Like any other student, I was super thrilled that I would get a chance to see such a famous public figure for the first time in my life. Then came the day when Imran Khan was finally arriving at the school. Unfortunately, very unfortunately, I got fever that day and hence, was not allowed to attend school and thus, I missed the big event. My one year elder sister, who was studying in the same school, was lucky enough to go. When she came back home that day, out of curiosity, my random question to her was; “How did Imran Khan look?” She replied; “He’s very tall”.
From that day onward, the regret of missing the event always remained there. For a child as old as 7 years who didn’t even know what cricket was all about, it was still a big thing to have skipped a chance of seeing someone for whom the entire effort of money collection was done – the same famous personality who’s picture was printed on those very tickets we the school fellows had been selling to others and buying ourselves as well.
Anyways, later in my life, some 3-4 years back, there came a day when I got an opportunity to attend a workshop on ‘Innovation & Leadership’ at LUMS where Imran Khan was invited as a guest speaker. My wish was ultimately fulfilled that very day.
Today yet another similar project is underway in Peshawar which again reminded me of that time when the entire nation generously made contributions to the best of their potential for the noble cause. The nation’s trust in Imran Khan’s vision as a cricketer turned philanthropist was there back then, and now since he has also emerged as a popular political figure struggling for the correctness of the country’s rotten system and giving the nation another option besides those tried and tested failed political parties, I am sure the contributions towards SKMH Peshawar will be far greater than those made for SKMH Lahore.
Imran Khan’s opponents may have reservations about him as a politician, but as a philanthropist, there are certainly no doubts about the validity and fairness of the project he has undertaken. The one running in Lahore is a successful example which – due to its fair policies – has earned public’s trust in Imran Khan’s initiatives for the people of Pakistan. With all the honesty of those who are working to build SKMH Peshawar, may the project be able to accomplish the mission of helping the needy and serving the people. Let us all do our bit to make it a success.
PS: This post originally appeared here: ‘Imran Khan & SKMH Lahore – A short tale’