off record
Shaukat Ali Jawaid

When Honesty without
competence and ability
can be a disaster

One of the senior faculty members of King Edward Medical College, Lahore an honest, upright kind hearted, God fearing man was appointed Medical Superintendent of Mayo Hospital in late 80s or early 90s. During my visit to the KEMC, he invited me to come and see him in his office as he had a very important news to share. After I finished my meeting with another senior Professor at King Edward Medical College, I went to see him and he greeted me with respect. When I asked him to share the news, he said, “In the history of Mayo Hospital this is for the first time that we have saved and returned an amount of Rs. Twelve Million (or Twenty Million now I do not remember exactly) as saving from the budget which was allocated for the hospital in the current year. We have tried to reduce the expenditures and checked misuse of the funds as far as possible.”

He was expecting that I will appreciate him but he was furious when he heard me saying that “With due respect, I think you must have been the most incompetent and inefficient Medical Superintendent Mayo Hospital ever had because you lacked the competence and ability to utilize the sanctioned funds.” He stood up from his chair in anger and shouted at me but I tried to calm him down saying that he could have used the funds for improvement or expansion of services. The hospital which is visited by thousands of patients daily certainly deserve better patient care. You should have asked your other colleagues in different wards, ascertained their needs and provided them the required funding so that the allocated funds do not lapse and you do not have to return them. All my arguments failed to satisfy and calm him down and I decided to leave his office before we exchange any further harsh words as the situation was getting worse with the every passing moment.

Some years later the then Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto invited few renowned Head and Neck Surgeons from University College Hospital London to whom she used to consult to visit Pakistan. They conducted a workshop on Cochlear Implants besides delivering lectures. During their visit an eminent Pakistani ENT, Head & Neck Surgeon Prof. M. Jalisi from Dow Medical College hosted a dinner reception in their honour at his residence in Clifton, Karachi. It was very well attended by ENT Surgeons besides some other distinguished medical personalities from different disciplines. Sitting in the lawn, one of the physicians during the discussion praised General Ziaul Haque saying that “the late General was a very honest, and Sharif human being”. At this Prof. Kh. Zaki Hassan a renowned neuro physician who was listening to the whole discussion patiently, snubbed the physician concerned saying “Honesty and Sharafat should be seen while you are looking for a son-in-law only but for running and managing any institution, organization or country apart from honesty, competency and ability is also extremely important. Otherwise honesty alone will lead to major disasters.” These were the pearls of wisdom from a learned man who also had the honour of serving UNICEF during his professional career. This is exactly what we are seeing in Pakistani these days.

Tail-Piece: Pakistan has unfortunately become a highly polarized society these days. There is an urgent need to promote harmony, love and affection between different segments of the society. Those who are sowing the seeds of hatred, should not expect flowers from others.

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