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Health Advocates In ‘Shock’ As PM Accepts Dam Donation From Tobacco Company

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Health advocates on Wednesday expressed ‘shock’ and ‘disappointment’ after Prime Minister Imran Khan accepted Rs5 million in dam donation from the representative of a tobacco company.

PM Khan held meeting with a representative of a tobacco company and accepted Rs5 million in donations, which is in clear violation of the Article 5.3 of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Framework Conven­tion on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

British American Tobacco regional director met Khan at the PM Office and presented a cheque for Rs5m for the Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dams Fund.

Tobacco Free Kids representative Malik Imran told Dawn that it was possible that PM Khan was not aware of the FCTC, which bars Pakistan from taking funds from tobacco companies. He said that it was the responsibility of Khan’s team to inform him about the restrictions.

He also said that it was ‘strange’ that the amount was given a month before the announcement of the federal budget.

Coali­tion for Tobacco Control Pakis­tan’s national coordinator Khurram Hashmi expressed ‘shock’ that Khan, who has been a long-time advocate against tobacco and runs a cancer hospital, is taking donations from a company whose products are a major cause of cancer.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services (NHS) Dr. Zafar Mirza, who has recently held meetings with WHO officials, is a pioneer of the FCTC and worked a lot against tobacco,” he said.

He said that the relative authorities must brief PM Khan over the matter so that same is not repeated in the future.

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