off record
Shaukat Ali Jawaid

Multifaceted personality
of late Dr. Maqbool Jafary


Dr. Maqbool H.Jafary FRCP an eminent physician passed away on Sunday March 22nd at about 10.00 AM at the age of 75 years after a prolonged illness. Late Dr. Maqbool H.Jafary was a multifaceted personality, a very humble, kind hearted, God fearing physician who not only  practiced ethical medicine throughout his professional life but was also an important member of ethical movement in Pakistan being the founder member of National Bioethics Committee formed by the Government of Pakistan. Wherever he went, in whatever field, he entered; he set standards and  left his imprints  which are not easy to meet and follow.

A graduate of King Edward Medical College 1963, Dr. Jafary went to England for postgraduate studies and on his return to Pakistan joined Sandoz as Medical Advisor which was later renamed as Novartis Pharma. He retired after thirty two years distinguished service as Medical Director of Novartis’s Medical Center for South East Asia region. He founded the Pakistan Association of Pharmaceutical Physicians (PAPP) and was elected as its founder President. He also served as President of Pakistan Society of Physicians in Karachi as well as Vice President of Asia-Pacific Society of Cardiology. He had the unique distinction of being chosen both by the Pakistan Cardiac Society as well as Pakistan Hypertension League to head the experts panel to prepare Guidelines on Detection, Control and Treatment of hypertension which was recognition of his talent and expertise. He was honoured by Pakistan Hypertension League with lifetime achievement award at its last conference in 2014 at Larkana.  He was elected President of Pakistan Medical Journalists Association, was Hony. Editor-in-Chief of Pulse International and Chairman of Editorial Board of Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences. He was a founder member and also served as President of Pakistan Aspirin Foundation. He was one of the founder members of Eastern Mediterranean Association of Medical Editors (EMAME) and was elected as its President in December 2010. EMAME at its meeting in Shiraz in February 2015, EMMJ6 which he could not attend due to his poor health, honourd him as one of the three distinguished Editors from the Eastern Mediterranean Region. He was also very fond of music. Above all he was a determined fighter and fought with death for the last few years and managed to defeat it many times.  His treating physician told me in confidence a few years ago that the prognosis was not good as his liver was highly de-compensated but he struggled and tried to live on.

Being an intelligent physician he knew everything and we often discussed about his health and he will always say, let us see when the time comes. He was in and out of Aga Khan University Hospital many times and about two years ago he shifted to Lahore as all his children are settled abroad and they were feeling here lonely. He had developed cirrhosis and often complained of ascites which used to be managed through medications by his treating physicians.

No one knows me better than late Dr. Maqbool H. Jafary as our association is spread over forty years. About one and a half years ago I decided to write my autobiography “ The Plight of a Medical Editor” and it was my greatest wish that I must complete is in his life time so that he can go through it and also write a few words. Knowing his health condition, I started working late over nights and tried to complete it. Eventually I managed to accomplish this last month and sent a copy of the manuscript to him. About ten days ago, he told me that despite the fact that we know each other so well, but after reading this autobiography, he had discovered many new things and it has brought us still further closer as we have many things in common as regards our struggle and family life. I last talked to him on Friday March 20th in the morning when he told me that he wanted to find some Master to start music classes again but today I felt some pain in the abdomen and as a precaution I decided to consult my physician hence went to the hospital. He has made some changes in medications but otherwise it is OK. We also talked about the sad demise of late Prof. Shaukat Ali Syed and Dr.Jafary said that he did talk to his son Dr. Nadir Ali Syed to offer his condolences. He further told me that he has read sixty four chapters of my autobiography and only a few last chapters are left which he hoped to go through in the next few days but alas it did not happen and he received a call from the God Almighty and left this world. As such, one of my wish remains half fulfilled. He did get time to read the autobiography but could not find time to write few words. However I am happy that I could pay him some tributes and give him the credit as my mentor and whatever I have achieved in my professional life today, it is mostly because of him and I have acknowledged that in my autobiography and he did read it and thanked me saying, ”you have been very kind”. I have already sent the manuscript of this autobiography to Prof. Kh.Saadiq Husain an important medical personality of Pakistan, former Principal of King Edward Medical College and also former President of College of Physicians & Surgeons Pakistan who has very kindly agreed to write Foreword for this book which is a great honour and privilege for me.  Dr. Maqbool H. Jafary was extremely happy to know that Prof. Kh. Saadiq Husain is writing Foreword for my autobiography. For the last three years, Dr. Jafary’s advice to me has always been “slow down, slow down, you are too much overworked and you do need some rest, cut down your travelling as much as possible” but my professional commitments are such that I could not accept his advice despite the fact that I have not been feeling well for the last couple of months.

I rang him again on Saturday March 21st  to enquire about his health but it was Mrs. Jafary who attended his mobile phone. Whenever she used to attend Dr. Jaffrey’s mobile phone, I always got frightened because it meant that most likely Dr. Maqbool Jafary is not well and is in hospital and most often it had been true. When I asked AApa (Mrs. Jafary) about Jafary Sahib, she said, Bhai we are in the hospital. I could not talk to Dr. Maqbool Jafary and decided to enquire about his health next day. I again rang up on March 22nd Sunday morning at about 10.00 AM but his mobile phone was powered off.  It was in the afternoon that I received a call from Lahore. Dr. Maqbool Jaffrey’s brother and Mrs. Jafary were on line to confirm the sad news of Dr.Jafary leaving this world. May God Almighty rest the departed soul in eternal Peace? Ameen.

His last professional engagement was at University of Health Sciences Lahore on March 10th where he was invited as special guest of honour at a meeting of Professionalism Punjab where Prof. Mahmood Ali Malik was the chief guest. His address on this occasion also appears in this issue.

Dr. Maqbool H. Jafary had always remained a great source of strength for me and he leaves behind a large number of relatives, friends and well wishers in the medical profession, pharmaceutical trade and industry, in the field of medical journalism in which he contributed a  great deal, to mourn his death. He was very kind to his patients and excelled in listening skills which a vast majority of healthcare professionals lack these days, with the result that his patients used to get lot of placebo effect and felt much better immediately after consulting him. He always practiced ethical medicine, would never order any un-necessary or unwanted investigations and also used to write only a few drugs as he had firm belief in rational prescribing. With me he co-authored many books including Medical Writing, Medical Men and Women of Pakistan, Medical Ethics in the Contemporary Era and Aspirin- the life saving miracle drug in English as well a small booklet on Aspirin in Urdu. A keen researcher and prolific writer he published over fifty Scientific Papers in peer-reviewed medical journals  beside fifty three write-up in Medical Press and twenty seven write-ups in National Press on various important topics. His son Dr.Faheem Jafary is an interventional cardiologist who was on the faculty of Aga Khan University for quite some time but left for Singapore a few years ago and is now settled there. There is still a lot to write about late Dr. Maqbool H.Jafary and I leave it for some other time. Late Dr.Maqbool H.Jafary was not an angel but an excellent human being whom God Almighty had gifted with many qualities. His personality was a perfect description of the following couplet: