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Shaukat Ali Jawaid
 

 

AFIC, Death of General Asif Janjua
and Mian Nawaz Sharif

ShaukatJawaid 

One of my greatest assets is the love and affection I have earned from members of the medical profession throughout my association with them since 1966 and it includes many senior officers of Army Medical Corps. Some of them like Lt. Gen. Mahmud Ahmad Akhtar who also served as Surgeon General of Pakistan Army continues to write and contribute in my publications regularly on different topics of interest and I value his comments and suggestions.  I have all along been pursuing the healthcare professionals particularly those who had been occupying coveted positions in the medical institutions to write their personal memoirs to share their knowledge, experience, how they tackled certain difficult situations so that others could learn from it without making their own mistakes.

During the recent few years I have received quite a few personal memoirs, autobiographies written by some of the distinguished members of the medical profession for perusal and review. These included “Mukhtar Nama” by Pakistan’s eminent retina surgeon Dr. Mukhtar Ahmad, “Hadees-e-Arzoo Mandi” by Lt. Gen. Mahmud Ul Hassan, a distinguished surgeon in Pakistan Army “Journey through Medicine” by Lt. Gen. M. Afzal Najeeb and “In Pursuit of Knowledge” by Dr.Sher Muhammad Khan a noted Nuclear Medicine specialist. Last week I was delighted to receive a personal signed copy of “Keyani Kahani” an autobiography by Maj.Gen. Masood Ur Rehman Keyani, a very dear friend, an eminent cardiac surgeon who also served as Commandant of Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology, Rawalpindi. It will be interesting to note that when Maj. Gen. Masood Ur Rehman Keyani was Commandant of AFIC and even before him, patients with backache were never admitted to the AFIC. I have enjoyed reading all these autobiographies, written detailed Reviews on some of them, I have just finished book by Dr.Sher Muhammad Khan on which I intend to write a review shortly followed by a Review on “Keyani Kahani” which I am enjoying reading these days. There is a lot to learn in these books for those who are keen to learn and the readers will find pearls of wisdom spread on page after page. Those who have not yet read the above personal memoires, I will strongly recommend them to do so as they remove many misconceptions, throw light on some inside stories and also confirm certain facts. One would like to commend all the above authors for having taken pains to accomplish this task and making valuable addition to the literature related to medical history of Pakistan.

While reading the “Keyani Kahani” one of the chapters  of all those I have read so far was quite interesting which relates to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology with which the author was affiliated from the very beginning, the death of the former Chief of Army Staff General Asif  Janjua and what happened when he was brought to the AFIC unconscious and the later developments wherein an attempt was made to implicate Mian Nawaz Sharif in his death alleging that perhaps Gen. Asif Janjua was poisoned to death for which Mian Nawaz Sharif was responsible. Maj. Gen. Masood Ur Rehman Keyani has written about it in greater detail, which is authentic and well documented and I thought let me share it with my readers.1

Major Gen. Masood Ur Rehman Keyani in his autobiography in the chapter devoted to General Asif Jajuna’s death writes that “General Asif Janjua was a very courageous and truthful straight forward man who perhaps became Army Chief in 1990. Once Raja Sikandar Zaman an eminent politician from NWFP now Khyber PK who served as Federal Minister and also Chief Minister of then NWFP with whom I had very good relations asked me “Have you ever seen in the eyes of General Asif Janjua”? When I said No, he said, he had seen it, lot of courage and stubbornness is reflected in his eyes.

General Asif Janjua used to do regular exercise on Treadmill at his residence. One day during this exercise he suffered from acute myocardial infarction, became unconscious and fell down on the ground. Perhaps he had cardiac arrest. His Staff Officer instead of doing Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation which perhaps he did not know, or asking for an Ambulance from AFIC which was specially prepared and equipped for such situations, he brought General Sahib to the AFIC in his own car with great difficulty. By the time they reached AFIC, it was perhaps too late. On reaching AFIC General Asif Janjua was unconscious. After about half an hour’s CPR, his heart started beating but he could never regain conscious and breathing. All the specialists were present on this occasion. Major General Zulfikar Ali Khan who had earlier retired as Commandant was also called in. General Asif Janjua was put on ventilator and Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump (IABP). During the same time he also had angiography which showed blockage in his left main artery and blood clots. The specialists present did try their best to clear those clots and perform angioplasty but his heart stopped working due to non-supply of oxygen and blood and he left this world. Col. Mujeebul Haque (an eminent interventional cardiologist) who was present throughout later remarked that “General Asif Janjua was almost dead when he was brought to the AFIC.”

It was Sunday and I had gone for hunting with Brig. Iqbal who had served as Advocate General and was relieved from service when he termed Gen. Ziaul Haque’s revolution as Treachery. We went to the mountains in Chakwal. In those days there were no mobile phones and to receive messages, I had taken Beeper system from AFIC. It was about 10.00 AM when I had a call on my Beeper and I was being called to reach the CCU immediately.  We were at two hours’ drive away from AFIC at that time. I thought normally I have no emergency work in CCU and even otherwise my four cardiac surgeon colleagues were present there who had put General Asif Janjua on IABP. However, we shortened our trip and when we reached Brig. Iqbal’s residence; his wife informed us that General Asif Janjua had passed away after a heart attack.

When General Asif Janjua died, Mian Nawaz Sharif was heading the government. After some time Benazir Bhutto took over as Prime Minister. Some people with vested interested tried to convince his wife and brother that perhaps his death occurred due to poisoning for which Mian Nawaz Sharif was responsible. The case went to the Supreme Court. Late General Asif Jejuna’s body was exhumed after digging his grave and different forensic tests were performed. After complete investigations and looking at the angiography report and taking opinion of cardiologists, it was determined that the late General Asif Janjua had died due to acute myocardial infarction. His angiography film was kept under seal by my predecessor commandant and I too kept it in a Safe and I am sure it must still be in the Safe. Though lot of time has passed but who knows once again the case is not re-opened though one cannot say anything with certainty. Late Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s case has once again been filed and then put in the cold storage.

General Masood Ur Rehman Keyani feels that people in certain circles have been heard saying that General Asif Janjua knew about his cardiac disease. He even got some tests done overseas but made sure that no one knows about it in Pakistan. Perhaps he tried to open his blocked arteries through exercise on Treadmill but what had to happen, happened and it cost him his life.”

In the same chapter Major Gen. Masood Ur Rehman Keyani has also reported that he is a witness to the conversation between late General Asif Janjua and Major General Zulfiqar Ali Khan on the last day when Gen. Zulfiqar Ali retired.  General Zulfikar Ali Khan had taken lot of pains to establish and overcome the initial difficulties for this young institution AFIC and wanted extension in his service so that he could accomplish the left over agenda of developing this institution. However, General Janjua had already decided and made up his mind to promote and appoint his friend and personal physician Brig. Yousuf as Commandant who was working as a Medical Specialist at Combined Military Hospital Rawalpindi. Brig. Yousuf neither had any experience of command and administration nor cardiovascular diseases in particular but he was hard working and had mastered the art of becoming friendly with the higher officials. There was an exchange of hot words between General Asif Janjua and Major Gen. Zulfikar Ali Khan. I presume that perhaps the Army Chief told Gen. Zulfiqar Ali Khan that now we no more require your services. At this, Gen. Zulfiqar Ali Khan became furious and said “Ok if you think so then Good Bye” and then he put the receiver on the telephone with a bang, left the office and went home”.

REFERENCE

  1. “Keyani Kahani” an autobiography by Maj.Gen. (R) Masood Ur Rehman Keyani Cardiac Surgeon. Published by Hamza Pervez Printers, Kashmir Road, Rawalpindi. 2017. Page 221-225.

Note: The book “Keyani Kahani” is available from Mr. Mohammad Ali, Hearts International Hospital Rawalpindi Phone: 0333-5192026 and PANAH Secretariat P. O. Box No. 888, GPO Rawalpindi Ch. Aneel Ahsan Phone: 0333-5524911.

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