Part - XIX
This is in continuation of my columns highlighting the invaluable services of my colleagues, without whom the success of our nuclear programme would not have been possible.
In one of those columns I wrote about my best mechanical engineer, Eng Ejaz Ahmad Khokhar – an absent-minded genius. He hailed from Lahore and, like all Lahoris, was very fond of his city and of hot, spicy food. Once, while travelling to China with Khokhar and some other colleagues and aware of Khokhar’s love of spicy food, I took along four bottles of Tabasco. I took out one and gave it to Khokhar who was very pleased and put a few drops on his food.
After tasting it he proceeded to pour the whole bottle over his plate and then remarked: “Why do they make paste of sweet chillies nowadays?” The three other bottles were gone within two days without satisfying his taste for ‘hot’.
Khokhar had one fault – he would always try to start something new before having finished the first task at hand and he needed to be kept on track. Luckily he had excellent colleagues in Dr Tahir Rasool, Eng Nazir Mirza and Eng Saeed Ahmad. I had mentioned Eng Saeed – an excellent design engineer – earlier. He was in charge of the Design Section where he excelled. When CAD (Computer-aided Designing) and CAM (Computer-aided Manufacturing) was introduced abroad, he quickly learnt how to use them and computerised all our drawings. Long hours of manual work was now a thing of the past.
After graduating in North Cyprus where I had sent him to obtain an engineering degree, he returned to Pakistan by road via Turkey and into Iran, where he wanted to visit the holy shrines. That, in the eyes of Musharraf and his cronies was a crime and Saeed was later treated very badly and inhumanely. What a reward for hard work! He now runs a small workshop to support his family.
Eng Nazir Mirza retired as director. During his time he led the team that manufactured the 27-ton-thrust motor for the Ghauri missile – a great feat in a backward country like ours where even sewing needles are not made. He now lives quietly with his family. Dr Tahir Rasool, who supervised the manufacture of centrifuge components, was a top-class engineer. He now teaches at Air University, Islamabad. No plots or cash prizes for these unsung heroes!
In my last column I wrote about the measures I took to create adequate medical facilities for my staff. Our hospital in G-9 is considered to be one of the best in Islamabad. The current director general is Dr Kamran Majid, a UK-trained, top-class urologist. In addition to his administrative responsibilities he also practises and operates regularly. He has excellent colleagues in Brig Dr Babar Tehseen Javaid (director) with Dr Sohail Ansar, Dr Aamina Bilal and Dr Ghazanfar Zaidi as deputy directors.
Unfortunately, there are too many staff members to be able to mention them all. I am sure they are all giving their best and will continue to do so. Let it suffice to name only the heads of the various departments without meaning to detract from the abilities of the serving doctors.
Surgery: Dr Amir Ghazanfar; Orthopaedic Department: Dr Riffat Mahmood; Nerosurgery: Dr Mirza Faisal Ahmed Rafiq; Urology: Dr Kamran Majid; Radiology: Dr Wasim Awan; Dental Department: Dr Khawar Masood Khan (whom I had sent to the UK for higher training); Gynaecology: Dr Tahira Batool; Paediatrics: Dr Sughra Wahid; Optholmology: Dr Kaiser Ijaz Moghal; ENT: Dr Sarwar Khan; Medicine: Dr Saleem Qureshi (who is also our family doctor and who quietly and efficiently prescribes what is best for us. He has been doing so for over a decade); Nephrology (kidneys): Dr Zahid Nabi; Pulmonology: Dr Kaleemullah Toori; Neurology: Col Dr Saad Azim; Dermatology: Dr Shoukat Sultan; OPD and Emergency: Dr Azizullah Memon and Dr Omara Qureshi (who looks after us when Dr Saleem Qureshi is absent, for whatever reason); Psychiatry: Dr Senya Akhtar Habib (who took care of our mental health during those difficult years starting in 2004 and has been doing so ever since).
Then there is Cardiology: Dr Humayun Haq (who, smilingly, tells me I have the heart of a 20-year-old); Pathology: Dr Umar Farooq; Anaesthesia: Dr Shahida Tasneem (since I have been put to sleep and brought back many times here, nobody should doubt the competence of her department); and Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Centre: Dr Nurul Islam Khan (who has been taking care of me since my prostate cancer surgery by Dr Farhat Abbas of Aga Khan Hospital, Karachi in 2006 and, more recently, after a slipped disc surgery performed at KRL Hospital by Prof Dr Khaleequr Zaman assisted by his wife, Prof Dr Samina Khaleeq, of PIMS).
KRL’s full medical facilities consist of the hospital in G-9, a fully functional hospital at Kahuta where a large number of staff members live, OPD facilities at Rawalpindi Office and Golra respectively to deal with the large number of staff and their dependents for day to day ailments. Whenever I need to visit the hospital, it is most gratifying to see what has been achieved and to hear the gratitude expressed by my colleagues.
As I said in my previous column, I am not sure if there will be any reward for me in the hereafter for giving the country nuclear weapons, but I am convinced that providing good medical and educational facilities to my staff will count for something.
Tailpiece: I was extremely sorry to learn of the death of a very competent engineer, and our benefactor, Eng Chaudhry Javid Akhtar, former member power Wapda. He was instrumental in supplying us with an uninterrupted, failsafe power supply for both Mangla and Tarbela when we started the programme.
His chief engineer, Nazeer Ali, did the job competently on a war footing. The latter now lives in Lahore and is a good friend. May Allah Almighty rest the departed soul in eternal peace – Ameen.
To be continued
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