off record
Shaukat Ali Jawaid



When Physicians enjoyed
more respect than the Kings


When late Lt. Gen. Malik Shaukat Hassan the most distinguished surgeon in the Army Medical Corp decided to add his voice in the clemency appeals to President Genial Ziaul Haque for sparing Z. A. Bhutto’s life, in his meetings with President Zia during January 1979; he gave numerous examples to convince him. The first example he gave was a quotation from Holy Quran. “Forgiveness is close to piety and don't forget kindness between yourselves”. This principle, he stated, is gloriously exemplified in the life of our Great Prophet (SAW). For almost twenty years Kuffar of Makkah did everything they could to destroy him and his followers, torturing them and putting them to lot of hardships. Not only that, they even hunted them vengefully ever after they migrated to Madinah. They Kuffar attacked Madinah thrice, after temporary ascendance in the Battle of Uhud, they desecrated the bodies of the Muslim martyrs, cutting off their ears and noses. Abu Sufiyan’s wife Hind even cut open the belly of the Prophet’s beloved uncle Hazrat Hamza and chewed on his liver. After Fatah-e-Makkah, all his enemies were at his feet. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) could have taken revenge for all the atrocities, their heinous crimes but he decided to forgive them all without any exception. Allah Almighty was pleased with this clemency to proclaim “Indeed we have sent you as Mercy for all Words (Rehmat-Alil-Alamin)”.1

Addressing President Zia, Gen. Malik Shaukat Hassan said, “Sir, I believe, you are a deeply religious person. Wouldn’t you like to follow the example of our Great Prophet (SAW)? He quoted yet another example and a historical incident in relation to Napoleon Bonapart. When he saw that Gen. Zia was impatient to hear that, Gen. Malik Shaukat Hassan said, “Napoleon held many British prisoners of war and he was not willing to release them. He refused all representations from the British Government even a personal letter of request from the King of England. Then a doctor Edward Jenner, who had discovered the Small Pox vaccine, wrote personally to Napoleon for clemency. When his letter reached Napoleon, he said, this is one man I cannot refuse and ordered the release of all prisoners”. Those were the days when doctors enjoyed more respects than the Kings.

Gen. Malik Shaukat Hassan then said,” I am a doctor who has served Pakistan Army for forty years, I have treated hundreds of thousands of patients and by the Grace of God Almighty cured a vast majority of them. Now as a Doctor I am begging you for one life. Won’t you grant me this little request?” There was no response from General Zia. Gen. Malik Shaukat Hassan “blamed the judiciary much more than Zia-ul Haq for the biased judgment, politicized court proceedings, corrupt procedures what is now known as a form of Judicial Murder, as Judges are supposed to uphold Justice and debate it”. He also reminded Gen. Zia that he himself has said on many occasions that Bhutto has done lot of good things as well, hence it was better that we judge the person keeping all these things in view. Gen. Malik Shaukat Hassan reiterated “I would therefore earnestly request you to desist from execution of Z.A.Bhutto for I can see only harm and no gain whatsoever from it. The number of politicians who are now urging you to execute Bhutto, for their own selfish motives. As soon as the deed is done they will disown their responsibility and put the whole blame on the Army”.1 none of these pleadings had any effect on Gen. Zia and eventually what happened is now a part of our history.

Z.A.Bhutto’s execution, assassination of Benazir Bhutto failed to destroy Pakistan People’s Party which strengthens the belief of people like late Gen. Malik Shaukat Hassan who had a Vision and Foresight and above all immense love for this Country. It is people like him who really knew the value of this country and wanted it to progress and prosper. He was among those Pakistanis who earnestly believed that political problems should be solved by the politicians and neither Army nor the Judiciary should ever attempt to intervene in such issues. Politicians should be faced politically. Any attempt to eliminate popular political leadership through un-natural means will result in tremendous harm to the country. It will create permanent divisions in the already fractured society. In such situations then bitterness leads to permanent hatred and animosity which is not in the country’s interest. But alas we never learn any lesson from our past mistakes and keep on repeating them again and again.

Late Gen. Malik Shaukat Hassan did a favour to us all by noting his observations and details of his meetings with the military leadership. Dr. Maryam Azmat Malik his daughter deserves our appreciation to have compiled all this in the form of a Book “A Gentle Giant” published recently. It has also now become a part of our history and I earnestly believe that everyone who cares for this country Islamic Republic of Pakistan must read it. It offers lot of lessons. Finally as long as we have distinguished personalities like Justice Qazi Faiz Esa, I always have a hope for a better tomorrow.

This book is available from Googol Books, House No. 6-A/1, Street 70, F-8/3, and Islamabad 44000, Pakistan. ISBN 978-969-23255-1-6. Contact Person: Azmat Altaf Malik. E mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Cell: 0300-5048035.

Ref. 1. A Gentle Giant by Dr. Maryam Azmat Malik Published by Googol Books, House No. 7, Street 70, F-8/3 Islamabad 44000, Pakistan.2017 Page 193-196. ISBN 978-969-23255-1-6.

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