LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday inaugurated the first phase of the Pakistan Kidney and Liver Transplant Institute (PKLI).

The institute, largest and most modern in South Asia and being constructed at the cost of Rs20 billion, will provide free treatment to deserving patients of kidney and liver diseases. Patients will also get modern diagnostic and treatment facilities. The chief minister inspected different sections of the hospital after inauguration of the first phase and went to the OPD, dialysis centre and other departments to check the latest medical facilities there.

Addressing the inaugural ceremony, the chief minister said: “The nation was celebrating the birth anniversary of the founder of the nation and the Punjab government has given the gift of a hospital according to the vision of Quaid-e-Azam.”

The first phase of this hospital has been operationalized and the poor patients will be treated totally free of cost while the rich will have to pay and this was the vision of Quaid, he said, adding that the Punjab government has spent Rs1.5 billion for the treatment of poor patients suffering from kidney and liver diseases from abroad during the last 9.5 years.

“Average cost of treatment of poor patients in the hospitals of China, India and Rawalpindi and Islamabad has been around 20 to 30 lakhs rupees. Today is a unique moment that first phase of the institution has been completed and the poor patients from across the country will be treated totally free of cost here. Punjab government has written a new history by setting up this institution with its own resources and it will bridge the gap between the poor and the rich. He said lakhs of people were gathered in Lahore on the occasion of approval of historic resolution on March 23rd, 1940. People from different walks of life including from those areas which were thousands of miles away geographically from present-day Pakistan were united under the leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Today, we should analyze that how much we have given respect to the struggle and sacrifices of founding fathers and our elders. The government has inaugurated the project on the birthday of Quaid-e-Azam which depicts the approach of the Quaid. Quaid-e-Azam was of the view that all the people will be equal in Pakistan and everybody will have the equal opportunities but the country in which we are living today cannot be called a Pakistan of Quaid and Iqbal.

“The ruling elite have access to all the amenities of life while a big chunk of the population is even deprived of the basic facilities of life. It is time that we should move further to make this country a real welfare state according to the vision of Quaid and Iqbal.”

The chief minister said thousands of Pakistanis have given their lives against terrorism and Pak army, police, law enforcement agencies and the whole nation is bravely fighting the war against terrorism.

He said in addition to the CPEC, the government speedily completed energy projects from their own resources and the credit goes to four-year tenure of Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.

He said that Punjab government has developed PKLI from its own resources and hepatitis filter clinics are attached with it which is treating patients in different districts.

“In the beginning of the next year, such filter clinics will be functional in all the districts of the province and the poor patients coming from anywhere from the country will be treated free of cost. It is my commitment that Pakistan can be made a great state with collective efforts so let’s make it a great state collectively.”