Pakistani Doctors: The Pride of Our Country
By Nabiha Gul
They all have made their dreams come true through determination and hard work, only they know the real price of their sweat. Twenty-five years down the line, almost all of them are successful in the vast field of medicine.
It appeared as a fairy tale but it was all a reality when I witnessed a great number of graduates of Dow Medical College (now Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi, Pakistan) batch of 1990 celebrating the Silver Jubilee anniversary of their graduation lately. The place was an exquisite resort in Kissimmee, Florida, and the day was unforgettable.
A good number of graduates from the 1990 batch turned up at the very well-organized Silver Jubilee reunion ceremony. From pediatricians to adult physicians, and psychiatrists to gynecologists, all of them have earned success and respect in their fields of specialization. Hailing from Pakistan, many of these doctors are now based in different states in the US and Canada. Few of them are based in Australia and some made it to the event from Pakistan and the Middle East. With their spouses and children, it was indeed a life-time experience to reconnect and meet with their classmates after 25 long years.
Being a political analyst myself, I was not sure what I would do at the event except accompanying my husband, a renowned pediatrician in Australia who had been extremely excited to meet his old friends and attend the Silver Jubilee anniversary of their graduation. However, to my surprise, I found myself enthralled by what I experienced before and during the event. The “Gaylord Palms Resort” had a perfect setting to provide a cozy yet stimulating environment to “the batch of doctors” who was as excited as young graduates. They were meeting like young champs, hugging each other in affection, sharing memory of good old times and cheering at being able to make it to the event. Many of them have seemed to lose their youth which has been clearly replaced with a grace of a successful medical specialist.
For my husband, meeting his batch mates was quite overwhelming. Some two decades ago, they were young medical graduates, and now they were meeting each other in a different capacity; however, the warmth and congeniality among them was clearly visible. They were all recalling their college times and laughing uproariously at their own jest. Not only was my husband thrilled, but the meet up and reunion ceremony was more than what he expected it to be.
The ceremony, held late last month, was organized by a team of six doctors Dr Ilyas Yemeni, Dr Shazia and Dr Bilal Ahmed, Dr Adnan Khan internal medicine specialists; Dr Yousuf Hassan, a pediatrician based in Florida and Dr Nadeem Sheikh, an internal medicine specialist based in Kentucky, in collaboration with APPNA (Association of Physicians of Pakistani Decent of North America, a well-known organization founded in 1976). However, Dr Shazia, had all the creative ideas that made the evening memorable for all who attended it. She was assisted at every step by her husband, Dr Bilal and others. From table cloth displaying a collage of college days pictures to the standees, souvenirs to the show case of final result sheet, Dr Shazia managed a great deal to bring back the old days to the memories of her classmates at the event.
“I keep a collection of college days’ pictures and old documents as a habit and already had a lot of old stuff with me. Rest I managed by contacting some of the friends for this 25 th anniversary reunion and all you see around is my creative ideas,” said Dr Shazia cheerfully. “But yes, it was others too that helped me a lot and made this event a success, especially Adnan Khan as all the event related meetings took place at his house since we had started planning about the event six months back,” she informed.
Dr Hussain Hyderi, now a successful nephrologist in Kansas, Missouri hosted the show on the same lines as he did 25 years back at the farewell of their batch in Karachi. A video of that farewell party was also displayed for the audience. Dr Faryal, a diabetician from Pakistan, had visited the Dow University of Health Sciences and made a video of the institute’s common and famous areas to show her friends how the institute appears after 25 years. The video moved many of her friends as it brought back the memories of their student life. There were other interesting segments too at the event.
Some of their friends have left them for their eternal abode, including Dr Naila Manzoor, a famous cardiologist in New York. In their memory, a one-minute silence was observed at the beginning of the event. And all of them were remembered by their fellows in great words.
It wasn’t just the event or a reunion; it was reliving the old times. All those successful doctors now based in Pakistan, the USA, Australia, Canada, Middle East and some other parts of the world had years of struggle and hard work; they have untold stories of hardships and testing times they faced in making their name a success. They had left their families, lived alone, faced financial crunches but kept working hard with determination. The land of opportunities, the USA, however, had given them their due share as many of them living in the US acknowledged.
Dr Nadeem Shaikh, internal medicine specialist from Kentucky said: “It is like a dream, I am pinching myself to see if it is really happening, is it real that we are all together again! I am in the twilight zone.” Dr Baland Iqbal said: “Old friends are like old wine; it gives same pleasure even after so long.”
“I went to Australia some 15 years back, my fate had taken me there; and only I know how I used to feel living alone. Without friends and family a person changes into a different being emotionally. Today, I am thankful to Allah and very happy that I am successful in my field, have earned respect and am meeting you all after 25 long years,” said Dr Fasihullah, a pediatrician from Australia. “Many people do not know Australia beyond Sydney and Melbourne, there are other cities also in Australia. I invite my friends to my place to visit and see how beautiful Australia is beyond Sydney,” he quipped.
Although many of them had been apart and disconnected from each other for many years, technology has reconnected almost all of them and they are now in regular contact through the facebook and other channels. The reunion served a great purpose of a meet up and bringing many of them in contact after many years. All those who attended the event spoke highly about it as their experience was more than what they expected from a reunion. Also, it helped them advance their professional collaboration as many of them can now share their experiences and expertise with each other in their fields of specialization and look for avenues for future collaboration.
With time comes a sense of responsibility; they feel it is time to pay back the alma mater that had refined these gems. The batch donated a huge amount to fund a mega project at the Dow University of Health Sciences to make their share in the future development of the institute. They have also planned to continue donating for different projects at the institute from time to time.
Some 25 years back, as young medical graduates, they all had dreamt of becoming successful in their preferred field of specialization. Serving humanity is a cause and for that they worked hard, made efforts and invested time in order to achieve their goal. They made sacrifices too; leaving their homeland being one of them. But their dream of making their name in the medical field is a reality and they are successful and respected today serving people across the globe in their very special way. Every year, young medical graduates fly to different destinations to make their future and are rendering their services in the field of medicine in and outside Pakistan. All those unknown faces make their country and fellow countrymen feel proud of them. They are the heroes in their own right! They are our pride!
( Nabiha Gul is a political analyst and researcher in international relations and a freelance writer. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org )