By Aamir Latif
A hospital named in honor of Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan in Pakistan will get 400 more beds at a cost of 9 billion rupees (nearly $90 million), the country’s provincial government has announced.
The Recep Tayyip Erdogan Hospital Trust in Muzaffargarh district, located some 380 kilometers (236 miles) off the provincial Punjab capital Lahore, had been given as a gift by Turkey to Pakistan around three years ago. It began its operations in July 14, 2014, with 60 beds; a year later 40 more beds were added to the hospital.
The provincial Punjab government led by Chief Minister of Punjab Shehbaz Sharif is now funding the expansion of the hospital, according to an official statement.
Sharif laid the foundation stone of the expansion project on Tuesday, which is scheduled for completion by the end of this year, the Punjab government’s statement said.
The hospital provides free healthcare to all patients irrespective of their backgrounds.
In his remarks at the foundation stone-laying ceremony, Sharif said the hospital’s extension was helping the people of southern Punjab get better medical facilities, who no longer need to travel to other cities to get quality treatment.
“I am happy to see that the hospital has earned a name for itself in a very short period of time due to which not only people of different districts of south Punjab but patients from [southwestern province of] Baluchistan also come to the hospital for treatment,” he said.
He also praised the Turkish president for his help in establishing the health facility. He said that every time he met Erdogan, the president had expressed a deep love for the people of Pakistan.
“The Turkish president has extended a commendable cooperation in the construction of the hospital,” he added.
Turkey is a brotherly Islamic country which has helped the people of Pakistan in their every hour of need, he said, adding the “splendid hospital” named in honor of the Turkish president is a symbol of Pak-Turk friendship.
He also said Erdogan is not only the leader of Turkey, but also of Pakistan.