PRIME Minister Imran Khan, in his pre-election speeches, used to be a big critic of conflict of interest by the politicians and public office holders. He had promised to remove these once he came to power.

A conflict of interest involves any action or decision by a public official or employee in his official capacity which may materially affect or benefit his personal financial interests or those of his family members.

The voters appreciated Imran Khan’s stance on eliminating this decades-old plague in the country. However, Mr Khan seems to have forgotten the definition of conflict of interest after coming to power in July 2018. Blatant cases of conflict of interest within the rank and file of PTI government officials have been pointed out by the media but no effort has been made by him to mitigate the situation.

Another case in point is the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital, which was set up in his personal capacity by Mr Khan, but he is still the chairman of its board of governors. The hospital’s website and advertisements seeking donations display his picture and message, which is a clear conflict of interest now that he is a public office holder.

Such matters have adversely affected the credibility of Mr Khan and one wonders why he made such tall promises which he has not been able to fulfill so far.

Aamir Malik
Karachi

Published in Dawn, March 2nd, 2020

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