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Star power doesn’t get bigger than Imran Khan but when you have Mahira Khan and Maya Ali on the same stage, you’re sure to attract attention. And that’s what happened at the annual Shaukat Khanum fund raising gala held in Dubai yesterday. The two stars – who are brand ambassadors of the SKMH Breast Cancer Awareness campaign – took to the stage and appealed to the guests to donate generously.

The biggest draw, of course, was Imran Khan himself and it was amazing that he turned up smack on time, before the guests and the celebrities. Fakhr e Alam conducted the evening and took the guests through a presentation on the work being done at Shaukat Khanum.


Maya Ali has been affiliated with the SKMH for three years now and she shared her personal experience of volunteering at the Children’s Ward. She said that the children are kept so well that they feel like the hospital is home. Maya also related an experience of a family member who was refused medical care at the hospital as her cancer had spread to a stage beyond treatment and cure. Many people were bitter for being turned away, she said, but it was a practical decision of the hospital as to not waste resources and direct them to someone who can be cured and saved.

There was one cancer survivor in the audience who openly blessed Imran Khan for creating the kind of world class facilities that were helping cure and save lives everyday.

Mahira Khan also related her experiences of working with SKMH and spoke about the bigger purpose in life, even for a star and actor. The objective was not just to make people laugh or cry on TV but there’s much more we can do, she said. Mahira was very interactive with the audience and managed to convince a lot of people to donate.

shaukat khanum

Imran Khan gave a short and sweet speech, thanking Maya and Mahira and commenting on the fact the younger generation had stepped in. There was a time when Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Madam Noor Jehan helped raised funds and he was delighted that the younger generation was just as committed. He said that he wanted to pass on the baton now. Imran stayed for dinner and then left before the qawalli began.

Tickets for the gala evening were priced between DHS 500-1500, all proceeds to SKMH, while people also pledged a lot to the cause.