OTR

Print
off record
 
Shaukat Ali Jawaid
 

 

Punjab Govt. owes an
apology to Prof. Junaid
Sarfraz Khan and his family

ShaukatJawaid

Since democracy has never been allowed to flourish in Islamic Republic of Pakistan from its inception, different Mafia Groups have emerged in the country which pursues their own agenda. Media is one of these Mafias and it has become very strong during the last few years. With due respect to those in the media who uphold professional ethics, a vast section of the media do not hesitate to humiliate and defame people, institutions and organizations without any proof and they keep on doing this round the clock. Since we as a State have so far failed to establish the rule of law, even if those affected goes to the Courts of law the defamation cases are not decided for decades hence this game goes on. During this process many innocent honest individuals, institutions and organizations which become victim of such malicious campaign in the media suffer a lot.

The most recent victim of this malicious campaign by the media was Prof. Junaid Sarfraz Khan whose family had to go through very difficult times. One would like to extend words of sympathy to his elderly parents who had to witness all this. As is well known it all started with a media campaign against the entry test to medical and dental colleges conducted by the University of Health Sciences. It is alleged that it was another powerful mafia of private medical institutons which wanted to get rid of this entry test so that they can have a free hand and also get rid of the central admission system which the PM&DC had recommended. It might have some drawbacks which could have been improved and one also needs to look into the reasons why the PM&DC in its wisdom had to think of such a central admission policy. It was alleged that the entry test paper was leaked. A great hype was created through a malicious campaign in the media. Prof. Junaid Sarfraz who still believes that there was no leakage of paper, was defamed, humiliated and the provincial government under pressure from the courts due to judicial activism first sent him on forced leave and later he was arrested and investigations went on for quite some time. During the enquiry which lasted many months the authorities failed to find any evidence of financial or intellectual corruption against Prof. Junaid Sarfraz Khan who in the meantime fed up with all this had tendered his resignation. The new acting Vice Chancellor who replaced him also played a very dirty role about which less said the better. Now eventually the Supreme Court of Pakistan which had taken up this case like so many other cases has issued the order in this case on April 28, 2018. This order by Mr. Justice Saqib Nisar Chief Justice of Pakistan reads like this:

“As per report of Director Anti-corruption the investigation team has recommended drop page of the case to the extent of Mr. Junaid Sarfraz Khan Pro Vice Chancellor of UHS Lahore. Therefore we do not want to proceed further in the matter. However any job offered to him should not be jeopardized on account of any campaign against him in the media. Disposed off accordingly”

This is not the first time that an honest God fearing kind hearted physician and a government servant has been humiliated and victimized for no fault and they had to undergo such a severe mental and physical torture, punishment for a crime which they had never committed. Let me share with you a few more such episodes.

In early 60s, an honest, intelligent and brilliant medical teacher Dr. Ali Muhammad Chaudhry who was serving as Assistant Professor of Medicine at Liaquat Medical College Jamshoro Hyderabad was implicated in a cooked up corruption case. He lodged a strong protest. Prof. M.H. Toosy the then West Pakistan Health Secretary conducted a fresh enquiry which proved that Dr.Ali Muhammad Chaudhry was innocent and he was implicated in this case by certain vested interests. He prepared a summary and recommended his case to the then Governor of West Pakistan Malik Ameer Mohammad Khan of Kalabagh for his re-instatement with full honours. His file was pending with the Governor House when suddenly Malik Ameer Mohammad Khan was called to Islamabad by the then President Field Martial Muhammad Ayub Khan who had developed some strained relationship with the Governor and he was ordered to resign immediately which he did. Hence, since he had not yet signed the re-instatement orders of Dr. Ali Muhammad Chaudhry, the country lost a brilliant, competent and highly intelligent medical teacher. This story was shared with me by no one else but by Prof. M.H. Toosy himself when I had gone to interview him when he was working as the Project Director of Punjab Medical College, Faisalabad. 1,2 Since Dr. Ali Muhammad had got fed up with intrigues and conspiracies hatched by some of his own colleagues he did not further pursue his case. He contributed a great deal as one of the leading cardiologist of Pakistan. He was honoured by his colleagues in Pakistan Cardiac Society who elected him as President and he was also appointed as the Founder Editor of the Pakistan Heart Journal which was started by the Pakistan Cardiac Society. He was always showered with great respect at cardiac society meetings. He shifted to Lahore and died there on-April 20, 2016. I often discussed this case with him whenever we met as he was very kind to me and was one of the three eminent medical personalities the other two being late Col. M.H. Shah and Prof. Ejaz Ahmad Vohra who had insisted that I must continue in the field of medical journalism when I had some very difficult times in 1978 and had almost decided to leave this profession.

The second case I would like to share with the readers pertains to Prof. Eice Mohammad another noted physician. One may not agree with his point of view on every issue and I do disagree with him on certain issues as well but there is no doubt that he cannot be blamed for any financial or intellectual corruption. However, during the Martial Law of General Ziaul Haque as the provincial government of Punjab had decided to teach him a lesson, he was implicated in a cooked up corruption case and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment by the Military Court and sent to Mianwali Jail. Since I knew him well and was convinced of his innocence in this case, I took up this issue and started a campaign for his re-instatement. The then Federal Health Minister Dr. Nasiruddin Jogezai threatened me of dire consequences if I did not stop this campaign and even threatened that the declaration of my medical newspaper will be cancelled. We had very heated arguments at one of the functions but I continued the campaign to get justice for Prof. Eice Muhammad. Eventually when President General Ziaul Haque read one of those reports, he ordered the case to be re-investigated. The new enquiry revealed that Prof. Eice Muhammad was innocent; hence the Government was kind enough to order his re-instatement with full honours. He later served as Professor of Medicine and also Principal at numerous medical colleges in the public sector. After retirement he was affiliated with a number of private medical colleges as Professor as well as Principal. Even today he is on the faculty of one of the private medical colleges. In recognition of his devotion, dedication, honesty and professional integrity, the Government of Pakistan also honoured him with a Civil Award of Sitar-e-Imtiaz. He was also nominated as one of the government representatives in the PM&DC and he is often appointed member of the committees constituted by the Provincial Government to investigate cases of unethical practices and other cases related to the medical profession.

Coming back to the case of Prof. Junaid Sarfraz Khan, he has gone through lot of agony during this malicious campaign in the media. His elderly parents had to suffer all this. In fact he had left UHS and gone to Saudi Arabia where he was offered a very lucrative job in one of the medical universities. He was persuaded by the two former Vice Chancellors of UHS and he agreed to come back and was appointed as Pro Vice Chancellor. UHS had made tremendous progress and ranked as the second best medical university in the country due to the untiring efforts of Prof. Maj. Gen. Muhammad Aslam VC UHS and his team. After his term expired, Prof. Junaid Sarfraz Khan who was working as Pro Vice Chancellor assumed the charge of Acting Vice Chancellor. He was an important candidate for the post of Vice Chancellor, started working in earnest before this conspiracy and malicious campaign. Even during the investigations when he is reported to have pointed out to the investigators that he had left UHS and gone to Saudi Arabia, one of the investigation officers is reported to have been very rude to him and said that you came back to make money. What a shame. This is the way we treat those who have a desire to serve their country.

 In the whole process the Dept. of Medical Education at UHS has also suffered a fatal blow. Earlier Dr. Amina Ahmad another noted medical educationist who somehow could not adjust had to leave UHS. The tragedy with our medical institutions is that they neither attract the talent nor they are capable of retaining the talent. Dept. of Medical Education at UHS needs competent, well trained team of medical educationists if it has to successfully continue its various programmes in Medical Education. Many faculty members who had already enrolled in different programmes must be worried at all these developments.

The image of the UHS as an institutons has been tarnished, Prof. Junaid Sarfraz Khan and his family has been humiliated and defamed and all this cannot be undone. A Commander is supposed to protect his troops and in this case the Commander the Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif who is one of the most honest, energetic leader who has accomplished a lot in the shape of tremendous all round development in the province, failed to protect one of his honest officers. His own family has and continues to face the malicious campaign in the media and victimization by the vested interests hence he very well knows how painful it is. Even in a country where the sitting Prime Minister can be disqualified on the basis of Iqama and not taking salary from the firm of his son, anything can happen. The least Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif can do is to call Prof. Junaid Sarfraz Khan along with his elderly parents and offer a sincere apology on behalf of the provincial government. God know how many such innocent people are suffering in the country about whom we do not know and nobody talks about them. These people continue to suffer in the system where one seldom gets justice.

REFERENCE

  1. Late Dr. Ali Muhammad Chaudhry: A Physician par excellence. Pulse International May 1, 2016.http://www.pulsepakistan.com/index.php/off-the-records-may-1-16 Accessed on May 5, 2018.
  2. Late Dr. Ali Muhammad Chaudhry: A physician par excellence. In A Combination of Acid and Honey. Ed. Shaukat Ali Jawaid. Published by Professional Medical Publications, Karachi. Pakistan. October 2017. Page 182-186.
© Professional Medical Publications. All rights reserved.