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October 7, 2019

Senior Citizens Day

Opinion

October 7, 2019

Every year the International Day of Older Persons is celebrated throughout almost the whole world on October 1. In Pakistan we have also kept up this tradition.

Some senior citizens have taken the initiative of establishing the Senior Citizens Foundation of Pakistan (SCFP) in many cities, with its head office in Islamabad. Many retired officers are members of it. I have been their elected president for the past six years, being a bonafide senior citizen at age 83.

Our annual Senior Citizens Day is always held in the auditorium of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences, as it was this year as well. The auditorium was full with both local members and those coming from outside Islamabad. The function started at 10:30am with recitations from the Holy Quran and prayers for the dead, the sick and the safety and welfare of Pakistan. After this, the secretary general gave a detailed report on the state of affairs and the activities of the foundation. The secretary finance then informed us about the financial position and presented the auditor’s report.

This year, Distinguished Senior Citizens Awards were given to Prof Dr Javed Haneef and (late) Prof Dr Naseer Bakhsh. Their citations read as follows: “Dr Javed Hanif was born on ovember 11, 1944 in Multan. He holds a PhD in chemistry from the University of Dundee, UK, with additional teaching and working experience as professor of chemistry. He retired on November 10, 2004 as chief scientist Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. He has been [a] member of the selection board of various national universities and fellow of multiple professional institutions at national and international levels. His field of specialisation is Radiation and Analytical Chemistry.

“He has varied experience as teacher and administrator and has made outstanding scientific contributions in the subject of Nuclear Chemistry. Dr Hanif, since his association with the Senior Citizens Foundation, has been regularly contributing to our quarterly magazine ‘Senior Citizen’ on various issues relating to senior citizens. He is also an active member of the executive committee of the Senior Citizens Foundation. The foundation has greatly benefitted from his devotion, experience and contribution.

“The foundation has great pleasure in conferring the Distinguished Senior Citizen Award, 2019 on Dr Javed Hanif and wishes him a long and happy life and continuation of his fruitful association with the Senior Citizens Foundation.”

For Dr Bakhsh the citation was: “Born on January 20, 1920, late Dr Naseer Bakhsh completed his early education in Amritsar, joined King Edward Medical College Lahore, acquired an MBBS degree in 1943 and DOMS diploma in ophthalmic medicine and surgery from Dublin, UK in 1955. He became a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in 1981 and was later awarded an honorary MD degree for his contributions. He also held a membership of the British Medical Association. He was a founding member of the Ophthalmology Society of Pakistan.

“His services as philanthropist and ophthalmologist led to the establishment of a hospital at Khanewal, providing free treatment and food to poor patients and a dastkari school for free training of girls in stitching and embroidery.

“He joined Sultana Foundation, Islamabad in 1993 and added an Ophthalmology Department, a well equipped mobile eye unit in an ambulance as well as a poor families’ uplift programme for surrounding villages of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. In 2003 he built and managed a 40-bed eye hospital costing Rs30 million at Mandra under the Dr Pir Bakhsh Memorial Eye Trust made in his grandfather’s name.

“On March 16, 2005 he transferred the hospital to LRBT to ensure continued support and help to the poor. His contributions to ophthalmology were acknowledged with gold medals, one from King Edward Medical College, Lahore and the other from Ophthalmology Society of Pakistan, Peshawar.

“The Senior Citizens Foundation of Pakistan is pleased to present Senior Citizen of the Year Award 2019 to Dr Naseer Bakhsh posthumously in recognition of his services to the people until his death on December 9, 2011.”

Email: [email protected]