Seasons and Cycles of Life by Ashur Khan is a gift for the younger generation-Lt.Gen. Mahmud Ahmad Akhtar

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Book Launching meeting at Rawalpindi
Seasons and Cycles of Life by
Ashur Khan is a gift for the younger
generation-Lt.Gen. Mahmud Ahmad Akhtar

RAWALPINDI: A formal book launch meeting for “Seasons and Cycles of Life” by Maj. Gen. Ashur Khan former Deputy Commandant of Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology was held here on November 10th 2019. It was very well attended by a select gathering of cardiologists, senior AMC officials, literary figures and members from civil society. It was chaired by Lt. Gen. Mahmud Ahmad Akhtar former Surgeon General of Pakistan Army. It was moderated by Prof. Iqbal while panelists included Prof. Munawar Ali Shah, Senator Shibli Faraz, Lt. Gen. Amjad Shoaib, Prof. Shujaat Ali Rahi and Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid, Chief Editor of Pulse International and Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences.

Speaking at the occasion Lt. Gen. Mahmud Ahmad Akhtar remarked that this book was a gift by Gen. Ashur Khan to the younger generation who should take inspiration from this. Prof. Shujaat Ali Rahi a noted poet who also hails from Kohat the birthplace or home town of Major Gen. Ashur Khan in his address paid him tributes for his struggle in life. It demonstrated that hard work, sincerity and devotion always pays with the result that he could reach to the level of a Major General in AMC and had a distinguished professional career.

Lt. Gen. (R) Mahmud Ahmad Akhtar

Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid speaking on this occasion said that Gen. Ashur Khan should be proud of the fact that he was born in a poor family which enabled him to become a good human being. Having seen the poor and poverty very closely, he can very well imagine the feelings and emotions of the poor thus encouraging him to help them. His struggle in life has also proved that God Almighty always rewards those who are sincere and keen to learn. Education is the key to progress and all those who concentrate on education, ensure progress for themselves and their family. Gen. Ashur Khan, he further stated, has given a very honest and factual account of his early life, as a student in the school where he was lucky to have teachers like Malik Anwar and Azmat Ali Shah and others who helped and encouraged him. It was due to their help, assistance and patronage that he could continue his studies and later became doctor.

All those doctors who came back to Pakistan after completing their higher studies overseas, he said, deserve to be commended and their contributions were far better and more than those Pakistani doctors settled overseas. Public healthcare facilities, he opined, were still the last hope of millions of poor people who benefit from there. He felt sorry for the malicious campaign against the doctors and hospitals in the media and warned that in the days to come we may find it difficult to man our hospitals even in the cities what to talk of rural areas if this malicious campaign does not stop. It is a pity that our rulers cannot digest a salary of Rs. Twelve lac per month for a world renowned transplant surgeon but feel happy to pay Rs. Twenty eight lac per month to a cricketer.

Continuing Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid said that the most painful chapter in the book was related to his service in East Pakistan, the first-hand information about the situation there, the life in the Prisoners of War Camps in India. He also recalled the writings of late Lt. Gen. Malik Shaukat Hassan in the book “Gentle Giant” compiled and authored by her daughter Dr. Maryam Malik and said that despite the fact that we have lost half the country, we have not learnt any lesson and keep on making the same mistakes again and again hoping that the outcome will be different which is never going to happen. Writing by late Lt. Gen. Malik Shaukat Hassan, particularly those which he wrote after his meeting with President Gen. Ziaul Haque, which is a part of that book, he opined, should be an essential reading for every army officer, politician and members of the higher judiciary. The book by Gen. Ashur Khan, also contains lot of medical history and some important aspects of our national life as well and he congratulated Gen. Ashur Khan for keeping up the professional ethics and writing the truth. Our survival as a Nation, he said, is in democratic order. We are faced with many challenges like problems of Health, Education and population explosion. Economic development, he remarked, is the best contraceptive. We need economic development for which we need political stability. For this we need free and fair elections and respect for the people’s mandate. Otherwise, even nuclear capability is of no use and we have seen this in case of Russia, he remarked.

Lt. Gen. Amjad Shoaib said that Gen. Ashur has commended his teachers, seniors and after postgraduate studies returned to the country to serve the ailing humanity. Referring to the crisis in East Pakistan, he opined that Gen. Ashur has given lot of details and it is much more reliable as he was a very junior officer at that time. It needs further study and in depth analysis. We all know what Mukti Bahni did, what was the contribution of the Hindu teachers. Military history is also very important He has described in detail how to interact with the patients, how to take history. In fact there are quite a few useful messages for many, he remarked.

Senator Shibli Faraz said that once someone asked his father poet Ahmad Faraz what are the qualities of a good person to which he had remarked that he must have authored a book, must have good children and must have had Ishaq. Gen. Ashur has written a book and I also know he has good children but I am not aware of any Ishaq which he might have, he remarked. The real Hero in his book, he stated, was Malik Anwar Khan who took care of him and inspired him to continue the studies. He also recalled that responding to another question late Ahmad Faraz had said that where the land is not fertile but consists of only mountains, people living there have a very fertile brain and that is why he could become a poet. He also referred to the dissolution of PM&DC and remarked that it will prove to be a turning point for the medical profession as the new measures being taken will ensure quality in healthcare, improve efficiency of healthcare facilities as well as improve the quality of medical education.

Prof. Munawar Ali Shah described the book a true story of Gen. Ashur’s life which is full of struggle and should be an inspiration for many in the younger generation. His suggestions related to East Pakistan crisis, he opined, needs to be discussed more in detail and he urged Gen. Ashur Khan to add more information after recollection of his thoughts and talking to other colleagues who were posted there and were made POWs.

Major Gen. Ashur Khan disclosed that it was on the suggestion of Prof. Akhtar Sherin that he started writing his life story and eventually it turned out to be a book. He thanked all those who were present, the speakers who graced the occasion with their presence. Prof. Iqbal who moderated the session supplemented the proceedings with couplets from time to time and made the proceedings quite interesting. He also urged Senator Shibli Faraz that if possible, the contents of the book should be included the curriculum of schools.

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