PMA condemns colleague’s murder | Dr Baqir Shah

The Pakistan Medical Association, Karachi has strongly condemned the brutal murder of Dr. Baqir Shah, Police Surgeon, Quetta… The reason for his killing is obvious: that he was the key witness of the Kharotabad incident. He had conducted the post-mortem examination of the victims and had given the factual version that the victims had died due to the indiscriminate firing of the LEAs and not due to an explosion… PMA condemns colleague’s murder | Dr Baqir Shah.

Floods in Sindh: Please help PMA to help the affected

Children in Badin amidst rising flood waters. Image courtesy: Newsline

Urgent appeal from the Pakistan Medical Association:

The recent and continuing rain crisis has caused extensive disruption in upper and Lower Sindh lashing through Sukkur, Rohri, Pannu Aqil, Gotki, Mirpur Mathelo, Daharki, Khairpur, Thul, Jacobabad, Kashmore, Kandhkot, Shikarpur, Khanpur, Garhi Yasin, and Naushero feroz.

The ongoing torrential rains have affected 27 tehsils, more than 9,000 villages, 2.5 million acres of land and more than two million people, 85 casualties. More than 0.5 million houses have been damaged due to flash floods and downpours.

PMA has started relief and medical support in Badin,TMK, Mirpurkhas and Nawabshah. We need dry food supplies, tents, clean drinking water or water treatment tablets, medicines, powdered milk, clothes and other miscellaneous items of daily need would be useful.

Please donate items, or give a cheque in favour of “PMA” – send to: PMA House, Garden Road, Karachi, Pakistan; Phone (+92-21)-3223-1534 and (+92-21) 21-3225-1159

Dr Samrina Hashmi
President PMA Sindh

Stand with PMA at doctors’ protest: Jan 31, 11.30 am, Karachi

PMA protest walk (update: postponed pending negotiations with government)

From Pakistan Medical Association:

Dear CIVIL SOCIETY Friends,
Walk with Joint Action Committee of Doctors
Monday, 31st January, 11.30am
From PMA House to Karachi Press Club
Wear Black

For press release and details see Dr Sarwar blog

PMA briefing re floods: medical, social, health issues

Dr Sher Shah Syed. Photo: Jamal Ashiqain

ALL ARE INVITED

Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) information session:

Ø Installation of 21 water purification plants for internally displaced persons (IDPs): Experience; Hurdles;  Successes - Dr. Waqar Qurieshy, UK
ØLife in IDP Camps, Rehabilitation and Future - Dr. Shershah Syed/ Dr. Kiran Ejaz
Ø Plans for Rehabilitation & SOG - Dr Nighat Shah
Ø PMA Flood Relief Activities - Dr. Samrina Hashmi

Monday, September 20th, 2010,
3:00 pm
PMA House, Garden Road, Karachi (MAP)

Flood appeal update from Pakistan Medical Association

APPEAL from Pakistan Medical Association, Karachi, very credible organisation run by dedicated, committed doctors many of whom I know personally: Please Help Urgently

We need a large amount of money to buy food for the flood affected brothers and sisters. It is estimated that to feed 500 families for five days (average family has five members each) we need 27,00,000/= 27 Lac Rupees, Hence we need large donations. Please donate so that we can buy

Ø Dates Ø Dry Milk Ø Channa Ø Biscuits Ø Water cans

Donate by cheques or cash to Pakistan Medical Association or contact the following
Dr. Shershah Syed, Dr. Habib Soomro, Dr. M Idress Adhi, Dr. S. Amir Raza, Dr. Salamat Kamal, Dr. Samrina Hashmi, Dr. Nighat Shah, Dr. Ismail Memon, Dr. Wajahat Malik, Dr. Kiran Ejaz

PMA bank account info:
Pakistan Medical Association
Bank  National Bank of Pakistan ,M.A.Jinnah Branch
Branch Code        0027
Account no.         000014-7
Swift code            NBPAPKKA

Contact:
PMA, House, Sir Aga Khan III Road, Garden, Karachi
Phone no: 021-32251159, 021-32231534, 0300-2275831
Email: pmamoderator@ yahoo.com

‘Students who set the tone’


Thanks to Zubeida Mustafa for her well-researched and timely article in Dawn today Students who set the tone. Just a small clarification re the comment that “Most of the founders gave up their activism — as daughter Beena confirms for Dr Sarwar”. This is only partly true. These students did not become “professional student activists” or go into active politics. As Zubeida Mustafa notes, many of them did carry on their work in other ways. Speaking of Dr Sarwar – besides supporting progressive causes in whatever way he could, he was involved with the professional body of doctors, the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), was a member of the PMA delegation to then East Pakistan, wrote regularly for the Pakistan Medical Gazette (that he and other colleagues founded, at a meeting in Quetta), was twice elected PMA Secretary General and worked for a health policy along with his colleagues during the Zia years – a time when PMA was a significant platform for dissent against military rule (see Dr Badar Siddiqi’s citation) at the May 31st meeting at PMA House.

Details of the Jan 9, 2010 event mentioned in Zubeida Mustafa’s article are available the Dr Sarwar blog as well as at the Facebook Event. We particularly invite young people and students to attend the event in order learn about this little-known part of our history, at a time when student unions have been restored in principle.

Target killing of doctors; my article of 2002; Dr Sarwar on censoring Jinnah, 1991

A press release from PMA condemning the ongoing target killing of doctors in Pakistan reminded me of a piece I had written in 2002, published in the Indian Express – googled the key words and found it. Ah, Internet.

There are also new uploads in the ‘Writings’ section of the blog Dr Sarwar blog – including ‘Censoring the Quaid’, a piece Dr M. Sarwar wrote in 1991 for his fortnightly column ‘Karachi calling’ in The Frontier Post, Lahore. Particularly relevant given the Jaswant Singh and Jinnah controversy.

In its press release of August 21, 2009, the Pakistan Medical Association, Karachi strongly condemns yet another murder of Dr.Sajjad Arain in Hyderabad, killed on his way to work at Civil Hospital, Hyderabad. A similar incident had also occurred a couple of days before in Quetta when Dr.Iqbal Zaidi was killed by unidentified miscreants. “By now this easy phenomena of killing doctors has become a routine, and right to life of those who are providing soles to humanity irrespective of sex, colors, religion or beliefs, is sadly no more available to them in the country,” says PMA, demanding the immediate arrest of culprits. If stern action is not taken with in 24 hrs the doctors community will be forced to stage country wide protest by calling total shut down of health services in the country. http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/pakistanmedicalassociation

Below, my article in Indian Express, April 2002: http://www.indianexpress.com/storyOld.php?storyId=1097

Targeted doctors ask what about us as Gen fights US war against terror

Apr 19, 2002

Beena Sarwar

For some days now, Karachi has thankfully not woken up to the news of yet another medical doctor shot dead in cold blood. But as an editorial in The News (April 16) cautions, ‘The current let-up in the assassinations does not mean that the issue should be allowed to quietly die down, or overshadowed by the controversial referendum. The question of who is behind the killings and why still begs to be answered, and must be answered sooner rather than later.’

Over the last decade, almost 90 doctors, mostly Shi’ite, have been assassinated, causing widespread fear and insecurity, and leading to a veritable exodus not just of medical practitioners but also their relatives in other professions. Dr Tipu Sultan, Karachi President of the nation-wide Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), knows of at least 28 doctors who left Karachi in one week in March.

Obviously, whoever is behind these murders wants to make an impact: a doctor killed demands media attention, and creates far-reaching ripples, given each doctor’s contact with hundreds of patients and their families; their very public dealing makes them vulnerable.

Assassins turn up at a targeted doctor’s clinic, and ask for him by name to identify him, as in the case of Dr Rashid Mehdi, 39 on February 12. He was shot dead, leaving behind a young wife, also a doctor, a little son, and a five-day-old daughter.

The pattern includes armed motorcyclists intercepting a doctor’s car and shooting him at point blank, as in the case of Kidney Centre nephrologist Dr Alay Safdar Zaidi, killed on his way to work on March 4. Dr Zaidi had returned to Pakistan a year and a half ago, leaving a thriving practice in the States to come back and make a difference here.

His daughter, aged six, and son, only three, are now among the dozens of other children whose fathers were similarly assassinated, despite not being affiliated with any religious or political party or even holding aggressively Shia views.

In one instance, the assailants used a car to force a doctor’s car to a stop. Dr Jafar Naqvi of the philanthropically run Kidney Centre was saved by his driver’s reflexes.

Dr Naqvi, saved by taking refuge in a private house, is now virtually confined to his own house, with round-the-clock police protection.

Most victims are Shi’ite, but they include some Sunnis too, like Dr Fayyaz Karim, 44, shot on Feb 4 as he left a mosque after offering his prayers. His wife, Dr Farahnaz Karim, says bitterly that it’s commendable that the Government is helping Americans wipe out terrorism. ‘‘But what of the terrorists in our midst who are killing our own countrymen?’’

The killings have forced an organised response from doctors, with the PMA calling several strikes (including a six-hour country-wide hunger strike) during which doctors at hospitals and clinics across the country provide only emergency cover. ‘‘This is not the answer,’’ concedes Dr Asghar Mirza, editor of the PMA’s Urdu journal Nabs. ‘‘But how else do we express our rage and fear?’’

When the PMA met the Sindh Governor last month, police officials suggested a ban on motorcycle pillion riding, and arms training and protection to threatened doctors. ‘‘This is not the answer either,’’ says prominent psychiatrist Dr Haroon Ahmed. ‘‘They are trying to use us to push through their own agenda.’’ He argues, like others, that administrative steps alone are not the answer.

‘‘The Government must restore civil and political liberties so that alternative opinions are given space, and tolerance and respect promoted,’’ demanded the Pakistan Peace Coalition (PPC) at a nation-wide protest on April 5 against violence in the name of religion. ‘‘This will likely provide a necessary challenge to extremism, as well as temper the urge for many frustrated elements to resort to reactionary violence.’’

Political parties in Karachi, including major players like the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), joined the protest on the invitation of the Joint Action Committee for Peace Karachi (JAC), an umbrella group for activist groups, and also a PPC member. A March 20 meeting agreed that ‘‘The killings of doctors, lawyers, judges and other sections of society are aimed at instigating fear and retaliation’’ and that the root cause of the problem must be addressed. This includes ‘‘the forces of reaction and regression’’, including the intelligence agencies, which have gained strength since Pakistan’s involvement in the Afghan war.

The point is reiterated by PPC: ‘‘It is time that the intelligence agencies start protecting citizens from extremist violence rather than harass citizens and activists for their political activities and agitation. The revamping and reorientation of the intelligences agencies is yet another promise that the Government has made and is failing to keep.’’

Meanwhile, ‘‘it is individuals and groups who are fighting for their basic rights that are being targeted by the state, often under the anti-terrorist legislation’’.

Gen Musharraf’s actions against religious extremists since 9/11 are criticised as tokenism. ‘‘Some have been arrested, but why have cases not been registered against them?’’ questions PPP Central Information Secretary Taj Haider. ‘‘Because the Pakistan army’s and the agencies’ role in the matter will be exposed. This permanent axis is dangerous for democracy in Pakistan.’’

Even the police privately acknowledge this axis. ‘‘These extremists have been very useful to the Government, which might need their services again,’’ says an official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

He acknowledges that at least some elements of the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) still protect the militants they nurtured, trained and armed over the years.

It is significant that while the doctors’ killings are labeled as sectarian because those targeted mostly belong to a particular sect, there is no sectarianism or religious intolerance at the grassroots level.

‘‘The incidents of apparently religiously-motivated violence, like the attack on the Islamabad church or the murder of Daniel Pearl, are planned and executed by individual miscreants with no popular support or public sanction,’’ says The News editorial.

‘Except for one incident in Rahim Yar Khan (instigated by economic reasons), Hindus in Pakistan have not been attacked in retaliation for the carnage of Muslims in Gujarat, as opposed to 1992, when the razing of the Babri Masjid was countered by attacks on Hindu temples in Pakistan (then too, the nexus of vested interests like property developers and ‘‘religious’’ leaders had teamed up to reap the benefits).

Religious parties have never gained more than 3 per cent of the assembly seats in Pakistan, unlike in next door India, where a religious party has actually been voted in, with disastrous results for an avowedly secular polity.’

Former mayor of Karachi and MQM leader Farooq Sattar argues against calling these killings sectarian: ‘‘Let’s not play into the hands of vested interests by calling them that.’’

Dr Sattar urges the easing of regional tensions as a step towards resolving national problems. ‘‘Sixty per cent of India’s trade is with Islamic countries, as compared to only 5 per cent of Pakistan’s, the remaining 95 per cent of our trade is with Western countries.’’

‘‘These issues (violence in the name of religion) are not Pakistan’s alone, they also exist in India and Bangladesh, all of South Asia,’’ argues Sabihudin Ghausi, the outspoken President of the Karachi Press Club and a senior economic reporter.

‘‘We can’t remain isolated from the region, we have to have ties with India, with Bangladesh, and the other South Asian countries.’’

(Beena Sarwar is a senior journalist working with The News)

Dr Sarwar Reference, Aug 8, HRCP, Lahore

Press Release

Reference for pioneering student leader Dr Sarwar

For favour of publication

Lahore August 6: A Reference for the pioneering student leader Dr. Muhammad Sarwar will be held here at HRCP’s Dorab Patel Auditorium on Saturday August 8 at 5 p.m.

Dr. Muhammad Sarwar was amongst founding leaders of the Democratic Students Federation (DSF) and the All Pakistan Students Organisation (APSO). He was also instrumental in the formation of Inter-Collegiate Body of Karachi (ICB) which along with DSF spearheaded the students struggle for the acceptance of students charter of demands in 1953.

Twice elected to the office of General Secretary (national), Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) that continues to play a leading role in the affairs of medical profession, Dr. Muhammad Sarwar was amongst those who had formulated a people-friendly health policy. It was unfortunate that the policy, duly presented to the concerned quarters by the PMA, remains unimplemented.

Born at Allahabad, Dr. Sarwar came to Pakistan in 1948 and joined Dow Medical College,Karachi. After graduation he practiced for over forty (40) years at his clinic in the lower middle class locality, Golimar,

Coinciding with his Birthday, the Reference for Dr.Muhammmad Sarwar, will be addressed by Mr. Hameed Akhtar; Mr.I.A. Rehman;Mr. Abid Hasan Minto;Dr. Haroon Ahmad, Dr. M. Ilyas, Prof. Afzal Tauseef, Ms. Salima Hashmi; Dr.Izhar Chaudhry General Secretary PMA,Punjab, Mr.Farooq Tariq LPP leader,Mr.S.M. Naseem former editor “Students’ Herald”, Zaman Khan, Ammar Ali Jan, Dr. Farrukh Gulzar and Zakia Sarwar.

The Reference will be followed by tea. Later, participants may join discussion to be facilitated by Mr. S.M. Naseem, Beena Sarwar and Ali Cheema.

Issued on behalf of: Friends and Admirers of Dr. Muhammad Sarwar

By (Husain Naqi)

NOTE: MR MINHAJ BARNA AND DR ENVER SAJJAD ARE ALSO EXPECTED TO ARRIVE IN LAHORE FOR THE REFERENCE

Dr Sarwar Reference, Aug 8, Lahore

Final-Dr Sarwar reference-flyerYour presence is cordially requested at a
REFERENCE IN BELOVED MEMORY OF
DR. M. SARWAR (1930-2009)

Founding member, former President
Democratic Students Federation (DSF);
Former Secretary General (Central)
Pakistan Medical Association (PMA)

Related articles and photos at: www.drsarwar.wordpress.com

Saturday, August 8, 2009
5:00-8:00 PM
Programme:
5.00-6.00 pm: Formal Reference
moderated by Hussain Naqi, former General Secretary NSF & President Karachi University Student Union

Speakers:
Hameed Akhtar, writer; Abid Hasan Minto, advocate; Prof. Afzal Tauseef, writer;
I.A. Rehman, Secretary General HRCP; Zaman Khan, activist; Farooq Tariq, Labour Party leader; Salima Hashmi, artist; S.M. Naseem, former editor ‘Students Herald’;

Dr Haroon Ahmed + Dr M. Ilyas, former PMA office bearers; Dr. Izhar Chaudhry, Secretary General PMA Punjab; Ammar Ali Jan, activist; Dr Farrukh Gulzar, follower; and Dr Sarwar’s wife Zakia Sarwar, educationist

6.00-6.30 pm: Tea

6.30-8.00 pm: Discussion, deliberations and other offerings
Facilitated by S.M. Naseem, Beena Sarwar, and Ali Cheema
Venue: Dorab Patel Auditorium
Aiwan-I-Jamjoor, 107-Tipu Block New Garden Town, Lahore – 54600
Tel:(92) (042) 5838341-5864994-5865969

Web site: www.hrcp-web.org

Email: hrcp@hrcp-web.org

PUNCTUALITY IS REQUESTED – we aim to start on time
Organised by friends and admirers of Dr M. Sarwar and his legacy

For more information, please contact Dr M. Farrukh Gulzar 03004818390

Celebrating Dr Sarwar

A few days before he passed on, I had a visual image of Dr Sarwar being welcomed by many of his close friends who had passed on earlier – Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Ahmad Faraz, Habib Jalib, Suroor Barabankvi, his brother Akhtar… There are of course so many others. One thing is for sure – they’re together and they’re having a party.

Dr Sarwar with his friends Syed Sibte Hasan and Faiz Ahmed Faiz.    Photo by Dr Haroon Ahmed

Dr Sarwar with his friends Syed Sibte Hasan and Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Photo by Dr Haroon Ahmed

We had our own party here in Karachi on May 31 – Pakistan Medical Association held a reference at PMA House for Dr Sarwar titled ‘Celebrating Dr Sarwar’. The event was initiated by his old friend Iqbal Alavi of Irtiqa, who had been one of his jailmates in 1953.

Some 200 people attended. Doc would have enjoyed the gathering, and the music (his favourite jugalbandi by Ustad Bismillah Khan and Ustab Vilayat Khan), the photos (we put together a slide show), the videos (including a clip from the last interview he did, the week before being admitted to hospital and a few clips from a discussion with Dr Yusuf Ali & Dr Ghalib in London I’d recorded in 2001), the tributes and the resolve to move ahead and continue the struggle.

Mairaj Mohammed Khan, Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim, Salima Hashmi, Dr Badar Siddiqui, Dr Tipu Sultan and others spoke very movingly and from the heart. Tina Sani sang a Faiz poem she had composed, and Arshad Mahmud recited a couple of other Faiz poems for Doc. Aisha Gazdar video taped the event and so did Samaa TV. His Zakia Sarwar also spoke towards the end, very bravely, on what he had meant to her.

Links to a couple of reports about the event:

Progressive student leader remembered – http://tinyurl.com/sarwar-pma-dawn

‘Time to create a left-oriented think tank’ – http://tinyurl.com/sarwar-pma-news

And some earlier reports
In memory of Dr Mohammad Sarwar, The News, May 27, 2009
By Shahid Husain – http://tinyurl.com/sarwar-news

Ahmed Reza, BBC Urdu, 26 may, 2009
http://tinyurl.com/sarwar-bbc

Student politics pioneer Dr M Sarwar passes on, Tuesday, 26 May, 2009
http://tinyurl.com/sarwar-dawn

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