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Horror, Horror! Who is the cruelest person in the world?

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By Farkhanda Qaiser

Children paying homage to the young martyrs

Children paying homage to the young martyrs

I cannot describe the gut-wrenching massacre at the Army Public School, Peshawar nor can I make a politically or historically correct analysis about the losses suffered by Pakistan in the war against terror. I can only express my feelings as a common Pakistani citizen. In the past few days, I have gone from shock to horror to grief and then again to shock (as more pictures of the gruesome inhumane act were released on the electronic media).

Peace is the ONLY way forward

Peace is the ONLY way forward

All around me, I see people losing composure. Whether it is news reporters covering the ghastly incident or anchors on Television programs; little school going children or their parents, everyone is in tears! Ever since 2001, there have been above 14000 terrorist attacks in Pakistan in which almost 50,000 innocent people lost their lives but why has this reaction not come earlier? Why did we not shed tears on the merciless killings of Hazara Shias or those of Ahmadis or Christians? Or even of mosque-going Muslims? Or of Pakistani army and military forces? Why did we not realize at that point that we were dealing with monsters and not humans? I know why. Because we are a nation whose conscious is fast asleep and we need loud drum beating to wake up. Simple alarm bells are not enough for us. When the first terrorist attack was justified on the basis of sectarianism or superior knowledge of ‘Islam,’ that is when alarm bells should have gone off in our minds that something is not right. That is when we should have tried to put a stop to this senseless mindset. But we didn’t. We kept on waiting because the ‘terror’ had not yet reached our doorstep. We waited and that is why we have been brought to this black day of 16th December 2014.

When even schools are not safe

When even schools are not safe

That day teenage school going students lost their carefree attitude forever. Their school became a shooting spot where they were the hunted ones. However that is not why all of us are in mourning. No, we are too selfish for that. The reason our parents cry is because they feel that it could have been their ‘own’ kids. The reason why you and I cry is because we feel that it could easily have been ‘us’ instead of ‘them’. It could have been my friends whose dead bodies piled up on me would act as a shield for me. It could have been my favorite teacher who was burnt alive in front of me. It could have been your principal who preferred to die rather than save her own self. It could have been you hid under a bench and fearing the approaching black boots. Yes that is why we all bemoan. Because now we feel the ‘terror’ has truly reached our threshold.

We are terrified and we feel helpless. There is nothing we can do, our politicians are too corrupt and self-centered, we lament. Our borders are too porous to contain the foreign terrorists, we grumble. This is not our war, it has been enforced on us, we protest. We lament and grumble and protest. We point the accusatory finger at others. But did we realize that the remaining four fingers were pointing at our own selves? Oh, this is sure to raise a few eyebrows. How are we to blame, you ask.

We are to blame because we have failed to identify our enemy and even if identified, have taken too soft a stance on him. ‘He’ is the cruelest person in the world. He can finish nations like a rot eats wood. And if we fail to stop him now, then indeed he will finish us too. Every last one of us! Well, I know that Pakistan was created on 27th Ramazan and that it is only the second state after Madina that was acquired in the name of Islam. But even this ‘holy’ background will not save us. Because remember that

Khuda nay aaj tak us qoum ki haalat nahin badli jo qoum khud apni haalat na badlay

(God has never changed the fortunes of a nation that failed to turn the tide itself.)

This is one fact that we need to accept with all our hearts and minds. We will definitely and surely perish if we don’t stop this deadly enemy! So WAKE UP Pakistanis! This is the time for immediate action. We don’t have ‘7 days’ for an action plan.

No more Intolerance

No more Intolerance

   Our enemy is within us. He is the ‘mindset’ who believes that only he is practicing the right brand of Islam and the remaining people are infidels. He doesn’t stop here. He justifies killing people because they were not following his version of ‘Shariah.’ However we need to realize that this mindset did not occur over night. It evolved slowly. It started from the time when we became intolerant of people who were different from us whether in political or religious views. I see it every day when youngsters like me indulge in meaningless arguments on social media viciously attacking the opponents. I see it when every minor, harmless act is brutally subjected to scrutiny and questioned whether it’s Islamic or not. People ask what use is burning candles or keeping vigils when hundreds have died. Oh please, stop being so narrow minded! If you express your feelings about a tragedy by keeping a Facebook status or by turning your profile picture black, then so be it. If I express myself through a blog then why can’t I? If someone else tries to remember the innocent martyrs by lighting candles then what’s wrong with it? Islam is a religion for all times and all regions of the world. Do not limit it with your boxed thinking. And the best way to serve Islam is to learn about it so that you don’t besmirch it with your ignorance. So if you really want to do something to end terrorism in Pakistan then start by increasing knowledge about Islam. Read Quran and Hadith. Learn about the life events of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions. Only then would you realize the true values of our religion.

Another dimension of our defective thinking which has made us an intolerant nation is being judgmental about others. We are constantly judging people around us and passing our ‘expert’ opinion about whether they’d end up in paradise or hellfire. Please change this attitude now before it brings more destruction for us. Only Allah knows our ultimate resting place. There have been many incidences mentioned in Ahadith where extremely pious men were sent to hellfire because of some bad habit or other. Or apparently devious people were sent to paradise due to some hidden good attribute. Know this that we are not ‘all-knowing.’ We don’t know the intentions and all the life circumstances of ANY person (even if it’s someone very close to us). So if we don’t know this then we can’t pass the right judgment about anyone. Besides, it would be so much better to spend this energy and time trying to make ourselves better humans. Trust me; there is so much that needs to be done in this aspect that we would not have any time left for scrutinizing others’ actions!

Say no to hate speech

Say no to hate speech

While we change our mindset, we also need to be mindful of suspicious activities taking place around us. This was explained quite eloquently by the Interior Minister today. Finally our government has acknowledged that we are in a state of war. And no war can be won without the support of its citizens. If we become the eyes and ears of our law enforcement forces then no terrorist stands a chance against us. We should discourage and report hate speech wherever it’s being preached. We should monitor our neighborhoods and most importantly we should ask our leaders to openly condemn the enemy. There is no space left for soft mouthing. All terrorists need to be dealt with force. Enough is enough! Accountability is the best way to ensure justice in a society. Every individual must be held accountable for his deeds especially these monsters who claim to be righteous!

enough

However, even if the overall situation of the country appears dismal and hopeless, don’t lose hope. We have the best example from the young victims of the Peshawar attack. One such young boy with bullet wounds on his face said,

“Is umar me goli kha li hai. Ab kabhi goli se nahin darun ga.”

(I have been shot with bullets at this age. Now I will never be afraid of bullets!)

Other boys showed the determination to join Pakistan army and rid their country of all terrorists. If these traumatized adolescents have not lost hope then we have no excuse to be hopeless. Hard times befall all nations but only strong nations rise out of the ashes. Are we a strong nation?

 The author is a medical student.

 

 

 

 

Inside the Lahore High Court (2)

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By Farkhanda Qaiser

For the first few minutes, we couldn’t understand what was going on in the court room. There was a lot of hustle and bustle, because more doctors kept pouring in.

As there was no more seating space so they stood in front of us. This greatly hampered our view so we decided to get up from our chairs and move ahead. This proved to be a more tedious job than I had expected. After several ‘Excuse mes’ and ‘Sorrys’ I finally reached at a place where I could see the face of the Judge and hear someone speaking. The voice was very sober and confident. It was presenting arguments in favor of the Punjab Government. Therefore I guessed it to be that of Additional Advocate General, Mr. Faisal Zaman. He was pleading the court to close the case as doctors had called off the strike so there was nothing left to argue on.

At that time, another voice intervened saying that there were still four doctors behind bars who had been falsely booked under Section 302 of PPC in connection with the death of a child at a government hospital. I tried to guess this low-pitched and restrained voice. As I had been avidly following talk shows and press conferences regarding doctors’ issue for the last many days, so I was well acquainted with the faces of prominent members of YDA (Young Doctors’ Association) Punjab. However in this packed crowd, I stood no chance of seeing the faces of the people who were talking, especially because some 6-feet tall doctors wearing black armbands were standing right in front of me. One of them even held an ‘Ophthalmology’ book. This sight assured me that doctors and books are kind of inseparable even when these doctors are striking and attending a hearing in a courtroom. Wow this is called dedication. *salutes*

Coming back to the unknown voice which was pleading the doctors’ case. After listening to it for a couple of more minutes, I concluded that this voice seemed to resemble that of Dr. Nasir Abbas – the General Secretary of YDA Punjab.

Here someone intruded declaring that no application had been submitted regarding the bail petition of the doctors in lock-up; so this matter could not be discussed in court. Therefore, the revered Judge ordered Raja Zulqarnain – the lawyer of doctors– to submit the relevant documents immediately.

Then the Dr-Nasir-Abbas-voice implored the court to provide justice to his fellow doctors without any undue delay. To this, the Honorable Judge replied that the court would make sure that no one’s liberty is impinged illegally. He repeatedly assured the doctors that no injustice would be done to them. Further he said that the bail petition would be heard later in the day after the required documents had been completed.

With this, the short hearing came to an end and also the guess-the-voice game I had been playing all throughout.

As the people slowly started to move out of the congested space, I caught a glimpse of the President YDA – Dr Hamid Butt, who was in deep conversation with some other doctors.

I also saw Dr. Izhar Chaudhry, who represents Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) and is an Anatomy demonstrator at King Edward Medical University. He taught us the Upper Limb region in first year and was an excellent teacher. I wanted to meet up with him but lost him in the crowd and did not catch sight of him again.

As I was moving out, I spotted a young female lawyer dressed in white shalwar kameez and a black coat (yes, she was wearing a coat even in this severe heat). She had warm eyes and looked much harried for some reason. I don’t know why but I asked her a very simple question.

“What will happen now?” I asked – referring obviously to the YDA case.

She looked up from the pile of papers in her hands. At first agitated at being disturbed; but then perhaps she noticed my anxious expression and her voice softened,

“Don’t worry. All will be fine. Your case will be heard in the afternoon.” She comforted me.

And weird as it may sound, this stranger had managed to comfort me.

At that moment, it struck me that after all doctors and lawyers were not much different. If the job of one was to treat the physical wounds of their patients then the other solved the material problems of their clients. Both cajoled and soothed their subjects. Their methods may be dissimilar but their intent was the same – to cause well-being of people.

With this thought, I exited the courtroom of Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan. Outside, the narrow corridor was filled with groups of doctors chatting away and discussing their next strategy. Most of them were of the view that they would stay back till the next hearing. Some female House Officers had decided to visit the canteen to pass their time. Others were still discussing the case. They sounded very hopeful and trusted the superior judiciary to give a fair verdict.

As I moved out to the vast ground, I noticed two familiar faces so I went to greet them. They were PGs (post graduates) from the South Medicine Ward of Mayo Hospital. Having just arrived, they were clueless about the proceedings of the case so they asked me for details which I duly provided them.

After that I saw a huge group of doctors clad in their overalls standing in the middle of the ground. Some of the leader-doctors were addressing them. One of them was Dr. Amir Bandesha – President YDA PIC (Punjab Institute of Cardiology). After he had finished talking, I stepped forward. At that time, he caught sight of me and guessed that I wanted to say something. So he alighted from the stairs and came to stand in front of me. This simple gesture really moved me. It showed that the YDA leaders were very concerned about the opinions of their fellow doctors.

I asked him about the future strategy of YDA. Replying to which he said, at present they were primarily concerned about the release of their innocent colleagues. Following which they would resume their struggle for the demand of a proper service structure for doctors. Then it was time for me to leave so I thanked Dr. Bandesha for hearing me out and headed towards the gate of Lahore High Court.

Overall, this had been a great experience with a positive outcome which was announced later in the day. Yes the four doctors were released on bail and were given a very warm welcome by their colleagues.

The Bird’s Eye View of Laptop Distribution in KEMU

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This blog was published in KemUnited on 9th April 2012.

By Farkhanda Qaiser

Getting those DELL Inspiron N4050 laptops wasn’t as easy as it may sound. Here’s an in-depth analysis of what conspired both on-screen and backstage. There’ll be many an interesting tale never made public before. So read on and enjoy…!

In KEMU, it all started in the first week of March with a top-notch meeting of the Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Asad Aslam Khan with the Presidents

and Executive Members of all societies. And a whirl of activity followed soon afterwards. There was alot to be done and little time at hand because the laptop distribution ceremony had been scheduled right after the Sports Week. Majority of workload fell on the frail shoulders of KAPS – managing the decor of the entire event as well as training the kemcolian choir. Whereas KEDS provided the speakers for hosting and speeches. All the organizers worked day and night to make this event a success. Yet they couldn’t bear to miss the Clash of Titans i.e. the Pakistan-India Cricket match. (VC hadn’t spared the organizers even on a sunday) so they decided to live-stream the entire match by using KEMCANNA wifi and watching the action on a projector set up in the library hall. However all their planning came to naught as the wifi failed them on a crucial moment. Even the VC was disappointed at this mishap. He seemed to avid supporter of the Pakistani team. (well who’s not when it comes to a match against arch-rivals!).

During the last days before the big event, the organizers often stayed back in university till 12 or 1 at night. Once VC even took them for a dinner to Salt n’ Pepper to reward them for all their hard work. (wow…!) And ofcourse how can we forget the furtive renovation of buildings of KEMU with a hastily put up “Shahbaz Research Centre” being the highlight. and finally some much-needed separate washrooms for girls and boys were also built (at the back of Exam branch or so I’ve heard).

Then came along the notorious ‘Undertaking forms’ and the various official documents that had to be attested. For 2 days before the ceremony, KEMU patiala block was flooded with scores of people hovering around the ‘dreaded’ notice boards while the boys adorned the benches in the tented ground. All waiting for an announcement about the registration numbers and the beginning of dispatch of forms. They were to be disappointed time and again. The first day the buses left at 6 pm and still the undertaking forms were nowhere in sight. However the next day brought some good news with the first onset of ‘shoving-you-out-of-your-ribcage’ phenomena. Trust me, the crowd’s reaction was worse than it is during the announcement of the result of PROFS (on the same notice board). Then there were the Street Art people roaming around in their “World record holder” shirts. They had just finished painting the world’s largest painting in the National Hockey Stadium and now expected to be treated likewise by being given an easier excess to the front of the queue. But not to be…!

There was also the racket of the girl organizers having to wear white shalwar kameez with maroon dupattas and the boys to don the maroon coats with white shirts. While the dress may have been easily accessible to the boys (as many happen to be ravians) but the girls were much perturbed. Some hastily got them stitched at double prices. Others were seen borrowing them from their younger sisters or the younger sisters of the cousins of their friends. While still others were seen hovering around the Nursing hostel pleading with the nurses to lend them their dresses for a day…!

After much ado, finally the big day arrived. The VC being the cheif organizer was often seen shuffling around the ground where the arrangements were being made. Some KAPS girls actually hammered in nails onto the trees to fix the ‘WELCOME TO KEMU’ banners. Whereas the KAPS boys were given the job of blowing the green and white ballons (which sadly deflated before the evening could even kick off). At around 6 pm, the flag party gathered to welcome the Cheif Minister of Punjab, Mian Shahbaz Sharif. However they were much disappointed to see that his son Hamza Shahbaz had come instead.

“Kemcolians are always let down by the CM.”

Many were seen opining as even on the 150th celebrations of KEMU, Hamza had come instead of his illustrious father. Is KE not good enough for the CM or what? Anyhow disgruntled

as they were, yet the flag party still escorted the chief guest to the stage. After which the ceremony was officially inaugurated by the hosts Rabia Zia and Usama Talib. Then the recitation of Holy Quran and Naat took place. Among the highlights of the event were the address by the VC and Khawaja Saad Rafique; speech by Sidrah Latif and the national songs sung by the choir. The crowd seemed to love the songs and were seen singing along with them on the tunes of “Is parcham k saaye tale hum ek hain, hum ek hain” and many others. The most amazing sight was that of Dr. Awais of physiology waving the Pakistani flags and dancing to the songs in the middle of the ground. He greatly energized everyone. Some guys stood up on their seats to sing and dance. It was definitely a wonderful sight and one of the rare displays of our love for our motherland. For me, this was the most precious moment of the day…! We may complain about the Punjab Government squandering the public money for political purposes but this same government brought the 6000 crowd together on a single platform..he objective may have been to get laptops however the KEMU organizing committee must be commended for putting together such a wholesome event. We were jubiliant. We were exhilarated. Not just to get laptops but also to be kemcolians…and most importantly to be Pakistanis…!

Some enthusiastic political minded students didn’t let this opportunity go out of hand. They were seen wearing the Shahbaz Sharif shirs and caps while others wore teh Imran Khan ones. At times they even broke out into slogans in support of PTI. However this was an unnecessary gesture that could’ve been done without. Rumor has it that strict action was taken against these students.

Then there were also those unlucky students who were denied their rightful share of laptops because they’d had supply in their Final exams. VC and Prof.Dr Farid were seen pleading their case in front of the CM team emphasizing that a supply in medical is not the same as elsewhere. It’s much more common and less stereotypical in nature. Even a seemingly brilliant student can get a supply on account of bad luck or nerves. Eventually their demands were met and the Punjab Gov agreed to also present laptops to these unfortunate people.

Moving on to the highest respect which was bestowed upon the brilliant students of KE…yes I’m talking about the profound guard of honor that was given to them. This was another amazing experience. People stood on their seats to get a good view as the myriad of media people and their cameras hid much from view. Our joy knew no bounds at being given so much respect for all our hard work. If only, doctors were as respected at other times too.

Then came the big moment that all had been waiting for. The time for the distribution of the laptops. The top 5 students of every class were to be called to stage and given away the laptops by the chief guest Hamza Shahbaz. Whereas 5 booths had been set up for the remaining students. The PA of Hamza Shahbaz asked the host to make this announcement. And once the word was out, the audience rushed to their respective booths in patiala without waiting for the chief guest to leave first or make a speech if there was any. The organizers kept trying to woo back everyone but to no avail. This may have been the biggest mishap of the event yet the CM team had an equal hand in it. They shouldv’e been more clear about their intentions in the first place.

While the toppers received their laptops on stage, the crowd rushed to their respective booths to be the first ones to get the laptops. Many lines were made outside the booth. Infact one too many. So much so that they didn’t appear to be queues any longer. However the boys proved to be more disciplined as they are less in number (in KEMU atleast. For every boy, there are 3 girls). At booth 3, a serious fight broke out which led to the booth being closed until decorum was maintained. Actually there were around 400 people at each booth which was too much to handle. Some students received their laptops as late as 11 pm. The KE buses left really late that night. When the media asked these students to record their protest, surprisingly they refused (usually we happen to be a nation content at complaining but not that day). Instead the girls started singing “hum zinda quom hain, hum painda quom hain.” and that literally shut the media up…!

Now we know that CM Shahbaz Sharif was giving out 110,000 laptops worth Rs. 4 billion. but we didn’t know was that the laptops would be in 2 colors -black for boys and red for girls. However the kemcolian guys proved to be an exception to the rule. Some of them wanted the red ones. Considering the fact that the female population at KE is far more, the corresponding number of red laptops was really less. So that saw most of the girls begging boys to exchange laptops with them. However many were not granted their wish. So they learnt to be happy with their black ones instead…!

And so a much happening day came to an end…!

Jehad For Zero Thalassemia – A Mission, A hope

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This blog was published in KemUnited on 3rd April 2012.

By Farkhanda Qaiser

On Wednesday, 28th March 2012 was held the Volunteers’ Convention of Jehad for Zero Thalassemia at University of Central Punjab. Above 40 enthusiastic kemcolians attended this convention. Around 35 being from the lively first year.


Initially most of them had been enticed by the golden rope of certificates and dinner for all participants however their views changed as the evening progressed. Before, proceeding any further, let’s take a look at the history and objectives of JZT.

Jehad for zero thalassemia is a volunteer-based awareness program initiated by the students of University of Central Punjab in April,2010. The program has brought immense hope for the victims of Thalassemia and has proved a great source of awareness, inspiration and motivation for the educated youth. It now plans to flourish to other universities and colleges; the latter being its chapters. JZT aims at eradicating thalassemia from Pakistan by 2016. The following are its urgent goals:

1) Spreading awareness and motivating people to get tested before marriage
2) Providing blood for previously existing Thalassemia Major kids
3) Providing blood for any emergency through ICU@JZT

These goals were further explained through skits, speeches and documentaries. The highlights were the unusually-serious-speech from the king of comedy Suhail Ahmad aka Azizi;

the energetic dance performances by two little thalassemic girls (which brought tears to the eyes of many);

the heart-breaking documentary on the miseries of thalassemics ( https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Students-Patient-Welfare-SocietySPWS/123997921023440 ) ; the declaration of Sarmad Sultan Khoosat to be the brand ambassador of JZT

and a mime as well as a skit on the ground realities of patients of this disease.

There was also the formation of the word VOLCON. Kemcolians far outnumbered everyone else. Yes, they are the ones forming O, V and tail of N.

Overall it was a great event that greatly inspired all and sundry to play their part in eradicating this disease. Let’s hear more about this evening from the participants:

The highly motivated and charged ones:

“It was awesome. I wish to donate every single drop of my blood for those patients.” Farhan Ashraf, 1st Year

“It was a deeply moving and inspiring event. Thinking about that evening, I still can not help shivering, especially that little thalassemic girl…I couldn’t believe that someone with so much energy and life has to bear such suffering and death is ready to pounce upon her.” Rohma Ihsan, 1st Year

“Awesomest event of any welfare society I’ve ever attended! Motivation, passion, stimulus to sacrifice yourself for others was all over there. I just couldn’t move my eyes and ears from the programme which was going on. It was my honor to be a part of it.” Arooba Safeer, 1st Year

“It reveals that one person or society can bring a change.” M.Arsalan, 1st Year

“Jzt event was very inspirational. It really motivated me to do something for the thalassemics. I think that such an event should be conducted in our university as well so that all students should be awakened for the cause because usually we know things but don’t take action consequently forgetting it. I’m in for anything you want me to do for it.” Sania Saleem, 1st Year

The social activists:

“Being a social activist, I’m always on a lookout for projects that could ameliorate maladies, congenital or otherwise from our society. I hereby congratulate the JZT team for pulling off quite a remarkable feat by imbuing in us students the zest to strive for a total wipeout of thalassemia by 2016. The disallowing of marriage between thalassemia minor couples was a very viable solution proposed to halt its spread. Other practical solutions to resuscitate already existing patients, if presented through this platform, would be quite a leap I believe. I couldn’t be more eager to donate blood generously and attain the feeling of having saved a life. Atleast I’ll be making a difference in my very own way.” Raza Shehzad, 1st Year

“I’m very happy to be a part of jehad against thalassemia. JZT inpired me a lot and I promised myself to make people aware of thalassemia as much as possible. May Allah help us all.” Hafsa Aslam, 1st Year

“It was a wonderful experience for me. I would really like to help those thalassemia people out.” Umer Saleem, 1st Year

“A heart throbbing experience that acknowledged us about a dangerous disease, thalassemia and hence gave us a opportunity to serve mankind in a possible way by eliminating thalassemia by 2016.” Areeba Ishaq, 1st Year

The reporters:

“It was very interesting. They had a documentary which showed the miseries of the helpless parents of thalassemics; had a skit as well as a couple of dances by little thalassemia girls. Azizi and Sarmad Khoosat showed full support.” Faza Fatima, 4th Year

“It was just awesome. They announced that we are priveledged to have kemcolians here. They gave us special protocol from main gate to the auditorium. The documentary on thalassemic patients moved us all to tears.” Urva Khan, 1st Year

The ones full of praise for the organizers:

“It was awesome. Very finely presented and explained event and also very inspiring.” Seemab Sheikh, 3rd Year

“It was very motivational.” Junaid Alvi, 2nd Year

“It was a marvelous effort to provoke the youth of pakistan to wake up and join hands to save the flowers like Anum from thalassemia.” Fazila Gondal, 1st Year

“It was a very good platform for all the enthusiastic people who want to eradicate thalassemia and it really made all of us fully aware of the danger at hand.” Saba Sabahat, 1st Year

“The JZT event was well organized. It’s great that they were trying this hard to spread awareness.” Maheer Nayyer, 1st Year

“It was great motivation.” Fariah Mubeen, 1st Year

The true kemcolians – giving advice:

“It was a nice experience to attend this convention. I would like to attend and actively participate in such events in future as well. We should also organize such events in our university.” Zainab Ikram, 1st Year

“It was amzing and such events should be organized on regular basis and pariticipation of maximum studets should be ensured.” Umair Mazhar, 1st Year

Thus in short, the Volunteers’ Convention had it all – motivation, activism and most importantly determination to bring about a change and a means to do so as well.

I’m extremely thankful to SPWS for providing us the opportunity to attend this great event and contribute to a better society.

These kemcolians attended the JZT convention at University of Central Punjab on Wednesday, 28th March 2012:

1st Year girls: Alisha Kainat, Amna Khalid, Amna Khalil, Areeba, Arooba Safeer, Ayesha Ikram, Fariah Mubeen, Fatima Qayyum, Fazila Gondal, Hafsa Aslam, Paras Mehmood, Rohma Ihsan, Saba Sabahat, Sania Saleem, Sara Zainab, Urva Khan, Zainab Ikram.
1st Year boys: Ali Anjum, Aqeel Qureshi, Arsalan Ahmad Khan, Farhan Ashraf, Hammad Shafi, Haroon Rashid, Hasan Taha, Kashif Saleem, Maheer Nayyer, M.Ali Zia, M.Arsalan, M.Fahar Hayat, M.Hamza Arshad, M.Rafeh, Raza Shehzad, Umair Mazhar, Umer Saleem, Zahid Qadeer.

2nd Year: Junaid Alvi, Shaarif Bashir.

3rd Year: Farkhanda Qaiser, Humaira Sarfraz, Iqra Saeed, Seemab Sheikh

4th Year: Faza Fatima

Being Patch Adams…!

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This blog was published in KemUnited (the official blog of King Edward Medical University) on 9th March 2012.
 
By Farkhanda Qaiser
 
Thinking it to be just another lecture on ‘communication skills’ by some senior teacher, I headed towards the Mini Anatomy Lecture Theatre (which I later found out to be the demonstration room in DH). This workshop was being conducted under the auspices of “Kemcolian Akhuwat Club” which had found an ingenuous way of filling up the seats. Namely, asking all society presidents to send 3 of their active members. And since I happen to be QUITE an active member in A LOT of societies so I was representing many of them. But still I wasn’t really happy about this sudden interruption in my plans.
However my thoughts changed drastically after the 1 hour which was the duration of this workshop. Mr. Pervaiz Bashir – advisor to President of CPSP – was the convener. As is the style of motivational speakers (I dub him that), he started off by asking a simple question from the 40+ audience of medical students:
 
Why did you join this profession?
Almost one-half cited parental pressure as the cause while the other half passionately dubbed it as their own choice to serve humanity.
Then there was a chain of questions which were duly answered by the audience as whole. Some of them were:

Who comes to a doctor?

Ans: Patients.
 
Why do they come to a doctor?
Ans: To seek the solution to some physical or psychological problem that they’re facing. (I had the burning desire to say that patients come with their presenting complaint…! You see I’m an enthusiastic 3rd Year student who takes her wards quite seriously=p)
 
What does a doctor do?
Ans: He solves their problems. (Or in ward language, he painstakingly takes a careful history, performs the complete examination, suggests investigations and plans a proper course of treatment)
 
Thus it was established that a doctor is a problem solver. Yes you better be good in solving issues. Whether it be at home, among siblings or among friends. Like it’s said in that famous movie, Patch Adams: Talk to strangers, talk to wrong numbers. Talk to everyone. Develop your communication skills because they will serve you best in this profession. P.S. There’s no need to take this so literally. If you know what I mean =)
 
At this point you might be weighing the importance of medical knowledge versus this art of communication. Undoubtedly, you cannot be a successful doctor unless you know your Last, Guyton, Robbins or the dreaded Katzung. However the need of the hour is to ask yourself, is that enough? Is that bookish knowledge enough to satisfy your patients? Would the books teach you how to deal with a beleaguered parent whose only son has become paralyzed waist down due to an RTA? (Sorry, wards talk again, it means road traffic accident) Would they inculcate in you the passion to become a doctor just to serve humanity? Many a times, it’s difficult to hold onto that passion when you’re passing through a hard phase. You’ve failed 5 pharmacology tests, missed half of the lectures, got repeaters in major wards and are cursing the moment you chose to do MBBS. You curse Munir the attendant for having picked your proxies or shut the door of the lecture theatre when you were just half a minute late. You curse your class fellows for being the ultimate thetas that they are (Yes, everybody experiences this during the Prof Season). You curse the supply in Anatomy that took away half of your year. In short, you’re passing through the worst experiences anyone could imagine. In this scenario, you’d probably slap someone who even dares to say that medicine is a noble profession and should be dealt as such. Because for you, it’s a nightmare in so many words.
 
From where would you get the motivation to continue? The answer to this question was one that literally shook me for a moment. I’ll be coming to that shortly.
 
So have you ever thought who decided that you’ll become a doctor one day?
You? Your parents? Your excellent grades in Matric/FSc or Olevels/Alevels? Your good luck?
 
No, none of these! It was the ultimate authority in this universe who decided your fate! Allah Subhanawata’ala…! He says in the Holy Quran that He provides shifa to the people. Doctors are merely his vicegerents doing as He wills. Infact there are only two branches of knowledge that are discussed in the Holy Quran: Ilm-e-deen (knowledge of the religion) and ilm-e-ibdaan (knowledge of the body). Thus it’s such a noble profession that it found a place in the holiest books of all times. We ought to feel privileged at being given the opportunity to study the human body – the creator of which is Allah Himself.
So firstly, the science of medicine itself is a wonderful science or as I say (Magic with Medicine) and secondly, the doctor who practices that science is doing a great service and will be rewarded as such. This can be explained as follows: As Islam tells us, Allah loves us more than 70 mothers which in Arabic is a way of saying, unlimited. Just imagine how much our one mother loves us. She cries at our pain; sacrifices her sleep when we are ill; fulfils our needs without being asked to and loves us without any strings attached. Now multiply this love and care by 70 or unlimited…! We cannot even begin to imagine how MUCH our creator loves each one of us. And when one such creation of Almighty Allah falls ill, he comes to us – the doctors. If we deal that patient with the due respect and care he deserves, he’d definitely remember us in good words and give us duas. Moreover, Allah would be happy with us too because we alleviated the pain of His loved one whether by medicine or simply by good behavior. So if we just think about the rewards that our profession bestows on us, we would never need any other motivation to carry on through thick and thin. After all, with rewards comes great responsibility…! (Well yeah, the doctors’ version of Spiderman’s punch line).
 
However, we’re not fulfilling half of our responsibility, if we don’t pursue the ART of medicine as well. The communication skills involved in dealing well with the patients; listening to their problems; providing them a shoulder to cry on and being their friends is what completes a doctor. This brings us to a pyramid about the grades of a doctor:
Doc
Good
Best
Excellent
Outstanding
Extraordinary
 

We can be good doctors only if we try to be extraordinary. If we try to appease all our patients, we might be successful in satisfying a handful. But in the end, it’s the effort which matters and not the result. So our ultimate goal should be to become a complete doctor who practices both the science and art of medicine and treats his patients with the due respect that they deserve. This is the call and need of the hour and it is time enough we realized that.