Pakistanis are proud of their charitability. But how do we best spend this generosity?

Organisations like Shaukat Khanum provide an avenue for collective action that can help in building lasting institutions

The existence of the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital is nothing short of a miracle. The hospital is by all accounts a world class facility that has treated millions of patients over the course of the past three decades. In this time it has become a standard bearer for patient care, particularly the care of cancer patients, across the medical field in Pakistan. 

Every single patient that has walked through the doors of Shaukat Khanum, every single facility they have opened, and every last achievement of this truly marvellous institution is testament to the collective generosity of the Pakistani people. The inception and continued operation of Shaukat Khanum has been made possible solely through charitable donations.

This propensity towards charitable giving is a particular point of pride amongst Pakistanis. Charity is a cultural attribute we can all be proud of. Findings from the Pakistan Centre of Philanthropy’s 2021 survey reveal that approximately 84% of respondents engage in some form of charitable giving, with an average annual donation of around Rs10,000. This act of generosity transcends income levels and employment statuses, indicating a widespread cultural norm. 

Yet the way this charity is dispersed is not always the most productive. Most charity given by people in Pakistan is extended to those that they know. It also takes place on a very individual basis. It is a community service that takes place on a micro level. But how best can this charitable nature be utilised? To really bring it down to a question of numbers, what is the most productive use of every rupee of charity that Pakistanis give in any particular year? Profit spoke with Dr Faisal Sultan, CEO of Shaukat Khanum Memorial, to try and understand how the hospital works, what it’s goals for the future are, and how charitability in Pakistan can best be utilised.


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Abdullah Niazi
Abdullah Niazi
Abdullah Niazi is senior editor at Profit. He can be reached at [email protected]


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