Remaining part of the CM’s speech:

Ladies  & Gentlemen!

I am very grateful to Novartis for this great contribution of Rs. 17 billion. Novartis does have its presence in the country but they are not a Pakistani company rather a foreign company. Their turnover is, of course, 58 billion dollars as shown on the screen and understanding their responsibility as a factory which is making, of course, huge profits. They have this sense of concern and care for the people of Pakistan and out of that passion and compassion; they have decided to enhance their share in this country by an addition of Rs. 17 billion in the next five years. And if you convert this amount into dollar, it is about hundred million dollars. This is not a small amount, 17 billion rupees.

By today’s exchange rate this is not a small contribution. I would like to thank Novartis Switzerland and Novartis Pakistan for coming out with this additional amount as a great gift to those patients who have lost hope and, believe me, hope is life. If hope is gone, life is gone. If there is hope, there is life and you people have this great hope that you people are masses of this country. And you will InshaAllah, with the blessings of God, will cure humanity through your untiring efforts, through your innovations, through your hard work. Only a healthy nation can make progress and prosperity. Poverty cannot create miracles. Therefore, I think today is the day that not only we should thanks Novartis for this wonderful contribution.

Ladies & Gentlemen!

Shahbaz Sharif have served this province and the people of this province and we are committed to do everything in our domain to serve the suffering humanity and turn the time and make them healthier through all these interactions. Short that I think the meaning of healthcare in this country will get confused and diluted.

Ladies & Gentlemen!

I have been told this but I am sure having a bit of confession, this originality. We already know that Novartis is spending on those 1600 patients or suffering patients in Punjab. This additional amount is on top of that. So that is very good clarification that have been made. I think today is a day not to make announcement but to do something practical.

I have been told past many years not to establish a cancer hospital in public sector since it was not sustainable. The drugs are very expensive and so many other things being unaffordable. But I believe that if a foreign company can afford to spend as much as rupees 17 billion on the drugs for the patients in Punjab, why cannot the well to do ad affluent people from the carpet sector, do this.  This is, as a matter of fact, a matter of concern for us all. Those who are spending in the name of Allah and are serving humanity having made big foundation, they are earning Jannah here in this world. But those people who earn billions of rupees, live in palatial houses and travel in limousines, they must take a leaf  out of the book of NOVARTIS. If a foreign country is donating as much as rupees 17 billion for the treatment of a deadly disease like cancer, is it not incumbent on us that we spend money in the way of Almighty Allah. As I told you earlier that Rs. 50 million were spent on my treatment in 2003 and this amount, keeping in view the exchange rate today, might be Rs. 10 million today. Under these circumstances, would it be possible for a common man if he or any of his family member falls a prey to cancer, to have treatment for that. In order to save his own life or the life of his family member, he would not hesitate even sell his house and belongings, he would not hesitate even to take loan and rest of their life, would keep on paying on death. There is the aristocracy on the other side, the politicians, the prime ministers, the judges, the bureaucrats, police officers, army officers etc. etc., there treatment is managed on government expenditures. But the question is that a lay man who is the majority of the country, has no place to go. He thinks that the top government officials and officers are big guns in trade, can have their treatment within Pakistan or in north America or South of France but no one is there to pity his plight. So this is the question which is shaking the conscience of the country. Those who are present in this auditorium and those who are listening to this broken world through these cameras, must know that every lay man thinks that whether this country belong only to the affluent. He bears in mind that his elders also renders sacrifices for the sake of Pakistan, we, too, toil and labour for the sake of country but despite all that  life is made hard on them while in case of any disease, the treatment renders them bankrupt. They would certainly have the believe that such a system go to hell where there is so injustice. Experts are sitting here, the technocrats, the bureaucrats, the politicians, all are present here and this question is shaking the conscious of us all.

I pose a question to all of you the experts. Land for the hospital is present in this very city, the government would spend money on the building and equipments and you people please tell me as to how we can establish a sustainable cancer hospital for service delivery to a lay man. Such a hospital as may kindle a ray of hope in the mind of a cancer patient. So that we may tell him that he is not un-befriended and he needs not be hopeless and that his life can be saved by the mercy of Almighty Allah.

I want to say something to you. This is, by no means, a self-projection or something to take credit. During the last five years of my government, a number of cases of top government officials who wanted to travel to India or China in connection with liver transplant, blood cancer treatment or bone marrow transplant came to me for treatment on government expense. The expenditure to be incurred on individual case was to the tune of four to five million rupees but I am grateful to Almighty Allah that he gave me the power that I did not approve the cases. I always take simple daal roti during the Cabinet meetings while tea was not never served there. Once the then Prime Minister, Yousaf Raza Gillani came to Lahore and he was also served with a single dish. My Cabinet Ministers go on foreign tours on their own expenditures. When we are not assembly members, Ministers and Advisors, we bear the expenditures of all our family on our own but when we become the governor, minister, MNA, MPA or take some other offices, we desire to have the treatment on government expense. What a system is this, how big a hypocrisy and dishonesty it is. How much hard burning a lay man would have on seeing all this that there is nothing in the country for him neither any drug nor any treatment is meant for him rather he is destined to have just the misery. These are the flaws of the system which are dragging us towards failure. We would have to    stop them with the same zeal and spirit we got Pakistan. We would have to make a lay man realize that this country belong to us all where each and everyone enjoys the same facilities so that he may consider himself a citizen of the country with equal rights.

We have a piece of land here close to Lahore which though I should not disclose this but it is necessary to do so, was in the possession of a renowned family which I recovered during the very first year of my government. Previously we thought to annex the same with Ganga Ram Hospital but now I have the feeling that a separate cancer hospital may be built on that since this is a deadly disease which devastated the patient and his heirs. The piece of land which I just mentioned, is not very far of Lahore. We can construct a building there and equip the same machinery but to make it sustainable, you would have to think about that. On this cancer day, let all of us jointly make a commitment that the Pakistanis would be saved from going into the deadly jaws of cancer and that they would be provided with such health cover as is available to the haves in foreign countries. 

In the end, I once again express gratitude to NOVARTIS for the generous contribution of cancer treatment drugs. On behalf of myself, my cabinet, the government team and the people of Punjab, thanking the  NOVARTIS, I call upon the NOVARTIS to introduce ‘third party audit’ for the drugs to be contributed by it so that it might be ensured that the drugs are getting to the deserving people in a transparent and satisfactory manner. I am also thankful to the doctors who assisted in this programme. (Concluded)