LA Community’s Show of Generosity to Combat Blindness in Pakistan
A Pakistan Link Report
Pictures by Naushad Sarwar


(Left): N. M. Jadmani, Jahandad Khan, Ahmed Ali, Terry M. Shaikh and Mansoor Shah. (Center): Jahandad Khan and Najeeb Ghauri. (Right): A group of organizers and guests with Jahandad Khan. (Below): Guests at the fundraiser

If the Al-Shifa Eye Trust & Foundation has made its mark as a vibrant organization to combat blindness in Pakistan, the Al Shifa Foundation of North America has been no less enterprising in raising funds for the noble cause. The North American Chapter of the Trust provided a fresh proof of its zestful involvement in the noble undertaking when it organized a successful fundraiser at the Marriott-Long Beach on Saturday, May 13, 2006.
Keynote speakers on the occasion were Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Jahandad Khan, President Al-Shifa Eye Trust & Foundation, and Mr. Noor Mohammad Jadmani, Consul General of Pakistan, Los Angeles. Entertainment was provided by the Faizan Mehdi Hassan Orchestra.
The evening turned out to be a memorable one as the Los Angeles Pakistani-American community – described as “vibrant, enterprising and cohesive” by Consul General Noor Mohammad Jadmani – made generous donations as a testament of its support for well-meaning strivings. NetSol’s Najeeb Ghauri alone made a hefty contribution of $10,000. The total exceeded one hundred thousand dollars, a figure that the Al Shifa Foundation of North America had hoped to raise on Saturday.

Speaking on the occasion, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Jahandad Khan said that blindness afflicts two million people in Pakistan - a staggering figure! The incidence of eye diseases in the northern parts of Pakistan has been appreciable and has a history. During the period of Ashoka “the biggest eye care center was established at Taxila.” The situation has been alarming over the centuries and it is absolutely imperative today to establish state-of-the-art hospitals for the prevention and cure of blindness. Explaining the raison d’etre of the Al-Shifa

Eye Trust and Foundation thus, the General went on to quickly recount the Trust’s history and services.
The first eye hospital of 250 beds established at Rawalpindi in 1991 is now considered a center of excellence and provides “best quality” eye care. A second hospital established at Sukkur in 2000 provides similar services to upper Sindh and adjoining areas of Punjab and Baluchistan. The Trust’s third hospital became operational in the city of Kohat in 2005. Two new hospitals will be built at Quetta and Muzaffarabad in the near future. Thanks to the state-of-the-art techniques employed for the treatment of eye diseases and the professionalism of its ophthalmologists, the Al-Shifa Trust won a WHO Partnership Award recently. In its drive to keep abreast of latest eye-care techniques and up-gradation of skills, the Trust has established linkages with leading eye hospitals and universities of the world. It has also drawn up “2025,” a 20-year development plan for the future.




Above: Guests and Faizan Mehdi Hassan
at the Al-Shifa Trust Fundraiser

General Jahandad informed the gathering that in Rawalpindi alone 500-700 patients are examined and about 100 operations carried out every day. Seventy percent of the patients receive free treatment while 30 percent make payment at subsidized rates. About 5,000 children are operated upon every year.
The observations of Dr. Badru Kurwa, professor of ophthalmology at the University of Southern California and member of the Host Committee, sounded music to the ears. According to him, the treatment at the Al-Shifa hospitals was as good as that at any leading hospital of the world!
The Host Committee included Dr. Mansoor Shah, Mr. Bob Din, Mr. Najeeb Ghouri, Dr. Arif Rizv, Mr. Ali Karim, Dr. Badru Kurwa and LA Chapter President Mr. Ahmed Ali and each one of them appeared visibly keen to make the fundraiser a success. Mr. Terry M. Shaikh, President Al-Shifa Foundation of North America, had especially flown from Houston, Texas to attend the event. The Faizan Mehdi Hassan Orchestra performance was superb and ungrudgingly deserved the best superlatives.

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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