Election of President during 1992 CPSP Elections

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 CPSP AFFAIRS
Election of President during 1992 CPSP Elections
Lt. Gen. (Retd). Prof. Mahmud Ahmad Akhtar

A detailed review of Prof Khawaja Saadiq Hassan’s autobiography “Reflections” by Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid has been published in the Fortnightly PULSE International recently. I would like to state my version of the CPSP 1992 elections and the affairs of the College for the benefit of your readers.

After the death of Lt. Gen. Wajid Ali Burki President of CPSP, Vice-President, Prof S..M.Rab from the Southern region Karachi became the President of the College and Professor Akhtar Khan from Lahore was supposed to become the President for the remaining part of the tenure but he did not. The CPSP authorities announced the holding of College elections 1992 at Quetta.

I was the Surgeon General Army/DGMS (IS) at that time. I approached the CPSP authorities requesting to hold elections at the regional centers like Karachi, Multan, Lahore, RWP/ISB, Peshawar and Quetta. As Quetta was a distant station from many cities, the fellows had problems in travelling from faraway places and also the problem of providing medical cover at various medical facilities. As an example the army had medical units at faraway places like Gilgit, AK, Tribal areas etc. but the CPSP authorities (called the Karachi group) refused the request. I pointed out that the Pakistani doctors holding the UK Royal College qualifications also take part in the Royal College elections by ballot paper.


Lt. Gen. (R) Mahmud Ahmad Akhtar

The Armed Forces had to spend a lot of money on fellows travel, lodging etc. The Civilian doctors had to bear their own expenses. Earlier there were only few fellows- it did not matter we got a shocking surprise that the PIA flight from RWP/ISB were blocked by the Karachi group. The money had been obtained from the pharmaceutical industry. Our participation was not possible. Furthermore it involved a lot of Govt. expenses. I requisitioned the service of the C130 Aircraft to carry the fellows from RWP/ISB to Quetta. The fellows from the nearby stations travelled to Islamabad. Fellows from Sindh travelled from Karachi to Quetta. PAF’s C130 has routine training and transport service flights. The Armed Forces Personnel availed their services. Even the retired Military Personnel are provided facility if vacant seats are available.

We reached Quetta a day earlier. The CPSP ruling group was shell shocked. Prof. Sultan Farooqi virtually leading the Karachi group, talked to Maj Gen M. Salim (later Surgeon General) to strike a bargain to have Armed Forces Fellows votes for his team- wanted to eliminate fellows from Lahore. Maj Gen Saleem did not agree to his terms. Prof Farooqi lost his temper; shouting we have committed grave mistake to make you people fellows of the College. Prof Farooqi took the College as his Kingdom and considered himself ‘The Sultan’.

The Armed Forces doctors had a role in the establishment of the College. The elections were held the next day and we returned to Rawalpindi by the same C130 on its scheduled return flight. The Karachi group in collaboration with fellows from Multan, Lahore etc. took away some fellows from the Armed Forces by striking bargains of providing facilities in the exams, obtaining honorary Royal College Fellowships for them, making examiners for FCPS diplomas. Prof Rab, Prof Hayat Zafar and Prof. S.A.R. Gardezi the stalwarts of the Karachi group were ousted under a plan by their own colleagues. Prof Khawaja Saadiq Husain received the highest number of votes.

I retired from the service. Prof. Farooqi got Prof. Luqman ousted from the post of the President CPSP. By an agreement the tenure of the Presidency of the College was taken by Prof Farooqi in the first half of the term and the 2nd half was agreed for Prof. Kh. Saadiq Husain. Prof Farooqi spent the college finances by throwing luxurious parties, burnt exorbitant amount on traveling, gave expensive presents etc. Prof. Kh. Saadiq Husain wasn’t allowed to function and he was made to quit the Presidency. \

Prof. Farooqi on becoming the President of the College wrote a letter to the Chief of the Army Staff, Gen Asif Janjua lodging the complaint against me that I had misused the C130 facility for the CPSP election. In the Armed Forces sanction/permission of movements are taken from the Chief. The letter was filed without reply.

At Quetta we complained about the blocking of the PIA seats from Islamabad to Quetta. The reply was that it was part of the election tactics and that we could have also done that. My wife Prof. Khalida A. K. Akhtar FRCS, FRCOG was a senior professor of obs/gynae who had trained and produced many CPSP fellows. She was denied the fellowship. She did not care. Later Prof ZafarUllah Chaudhry awarded her fellowship. Prof. Farooqi addressed my wife as ‘APPA’ and always used ‘SIR’ to address me. I do not hold any grudge etc. I have forgiven him. I am only writing this to put the record straight and for others to learn a lesson.

In the earlier period, the CPSP used to hold exams only at Karachi. Due to the condition of compulsory one year academic basic Sciences Course at CPSP Karachi HQ, there used to be a very few candidates, just like MD/MS candidates due to the condition of writing a thesis of doctorate level. Later the number of candidates multiplied to a large numbers and also the examiners. It was difficult for the candidates to travel long distance, arrange their boarding and lodging at Karachi. Furthermore the Karachi candidates were reported to have taken advantage of having patients for exam from the Karachi hospitals.

I approached to the CPSP authority (Karachi Group) to hold exams at regional centers like Karachi, Multan, Lahore, Rawalpindi/Islamabad, and Peshawar. I also cited examples of candidates who did not sit in the FCPS exam on second attempt because they could not afford the expenses. The Armed Forces also paid expenses for the first attempt only. The CPSP did not accept the request. The case was taken up with the Federal Govt- the orders were issued to hold the exams at the regional centers of the CPSP.

In yet another event the University Grant Commission had sanctioned the PhD (doctorate) allowance to doctors holding MD/MS qualification on the basis that the thesis of MD/MS was of the Doctorate level- the same standard of PhD, LLD and in other subjects according to conditions laid in the University Calendar equivalent to Royal Colleges diplomas MD/MS also had exams, in the disciplines of Medicine and Surgery. When Prof. Naseer Sheikh became the Chairman of the University Grants Commission, Prof. Sultan Farooqi met Prof. Naseer Sheikh, got orders issued stopping MD/MS degrees special allowance.

A case was taken up with the Federal Ombudsman. The Federal Ombudsman noted that all doctorate level qualifications in all disciplines following the Punjab University regulations given in the University Calendar had the allowance then why MD/MS allowance had been stopped. The Ombudsman passed the orders for the resumption of the allowance. The Federal Ombudsman had called the establishment Secretary to elicit his opinion. The secretary said that in his experience based on the Annual Confidential Reports received of officers, he had noted that doctors down grade their colleagues and wondered if it could be due to jealousy generated in competing in the “Private Medical Practice”.

Another President

FCPS part II practical examination was held at Karachi CPSP HQ. The President formed panels of three pairs of examiners. In the first pair he opted for me as a partner. Examination consisted of a long case and two short cases. I examined the short cases and waited for the President to take his turn. He came but did not examine. Took my mark sheet and signed it. For the long case, I examined the candidates and again he did not ask a single question. He told me that he had a huge medical practice, remained busy even after 12 PM daily and was not updated meaning he was unable to examine the post- graduates. He asked me about my volume of private practice. I informed him that I had opted for non-practice- kept busy in teaching etc. He said he does lecture undergraduates. He had the reputation of being a good speaker.

New President

I was nominated to set the FCPS Medicine paper with the President, a senior teacher. In the morning, I set examination paper sitting alone in a room supposed to be the secret room. It was Friday. The President came to offer Jumma prayers at the College mosque, met me, took the question paper, had a look at it, and handed over the paper to his Head Clerk. I was surprised about the state of secrecy and his contribution in setting the question paper. In the exam the paper set by me was there without any change.

Another Event

I was the in charge of the FCPS Part I courses, also working as a teacher for the FCPS Part II medicine course in the Armed Forces Post Graduate Medical College. The examination was to be held at Karachi. This examination was important as the President of the Royal College of Edinburgh was taking part in the FCPS as an examiner. It was to be an assessment by him for recognition of the FCPS medicine qualification.

Our Chief of the Medical Faculties the Armed Forces and the FCPSP President were very close. At Military Hospital Rawalpindi every morning there used to be morning meeting- topics and cases were discussed. We were four specialists taking part in teaching FCPS part II Medicine Course. Our Chief told each of us to come prepared on a topic to discuss with the candidates (there were the Armed Forces candidates) in the morning meeting, we discussed these thread-bare. Lo and Behold these topics were in the FCPS medicine question papers. I inquired from the candidates about the practical examination held at Karachi. They informed me that a day earlier they had been told about the cases and were tutored. They appeared and all passed (there were total six candidates). Our candidates told me that the Royal College President was very impressed and praised their standard. The Royal College Edinburgh granted some exemptions for the FCPS candidates to take the MRCP exams.

Another CPSP President

There was a filling gap President for a short period. He was well known for doing irregular acts. I was the examiner at Karachi. The two candidates for FCPS part II exam appeared from the President’s unit at Lahore. I asked them to examine the short cases. They did not know the basic Clinical methods. I inquired about their training. They informed me that the Professor never took their Clinical rounds etc., the registrar took business round, no teaching at all. I prevailed upon the College authorities to introduce structured training programs and log book as was being done in the Armed Forces.

In yet another FCPS Part-II Medicine examination a candidate appeared who had obtained MRCP (UK) qualification a few years earlier and was an assistant professor of Medicine at one of the medical college. He performed very poorly in the clinical and viva-voca examination. I along with the co examiner judged him “failure”. The president along with the professor of the candidate came and pleaded to declare him successful. We showed the mark sheet in which he performed very poorly. The president said that the candidate had already passed MRCP examination. I told him that FCPS examination has its own rules etc. Royal Colleges examiners do not pass our candidates on the basis of having the FCPS qualification. It appeared to me that the assistant professor had stopped studying after obtaining MRCP qualification. The Royal College manifesto says that MRCP pass means that the doctor is fit to pursue further training to become a specialist. It appeared that the assistant professor had the assurance that he would pass. He was being made to obtain FCPS qualification to be used as a vote for the FCPS elections. On the other hand Prof Khawaja Saadiq Hassan did not care, he observed high morals and ethics, he was a high class professional, a teacher of teachers. Prof. Akhtar Khan simply said that you could decide, judging the academics and ethical values of Prof. Kh. Saadiq Husain and the other presidential candidates.

There were many reported instances of question paper leaked and even talks of question papers sold. There were many FCPS qualified doctors who were judged to be incompetent got involved in medical negligence cases and discharged from the Armed Forces prematurely. Dissertations were sold/ bought. Corruption was rife in the country. Nevertheless there were many who did extremely well- achieved high marks and positions. Wen Prof. Zafarullah Chaudhry became the President, the situation changed for the better, exams were streamlined.

Prof. Kh. Saadiq Husain had the distinction of being the noblest person of high integrity- one of the senior most Physicians of the country. The other doctors taking part in the elections were either students or colleagues of his students. It was a God given opportunity that he agreed to contest the office of the President of the CPSP. He got the highest number of votes but the entrenched mafia played dirty. Their corrupt tricks did not allow him to function. Of course in the later elections the mafia group was ousted.

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