off record
Shaukat Ali Jawaid

“I beg you for an
Extension in service Sir”

General Ziaul Haque was the Chief Guest at the annual conference of Association of Pakistani Physicians of North America (APPNA) held at Nishtar Medical College Multan. After the inauguration, he was talking to Prof. Hayat Zafar in a corner when a senior faculty member approached him. After introducing himself, he requested Gen. Zia that “I beg you for an Extension in service Sir”. At this before General Ziaul Haque could say anything, Prof. Hayat Zafar looked at this faculty member and said, “Doctor Sahib, if you do not have any respect for your own dignity, do not humiliate the whole medical profession. What are you saying? It does not go well with your status as Professor?” General Ziaul Haque as usual laughed at it and the faculty member begging for an extension had to face lot of embarrassment.

All those who maneuver for an extension after having completed their tenure of service in fact suffer from inferiority complex. They also fear that they will lose all respect, privileges which they enjoy the moment they leave their job and after retirement, they will be reduced to non-entities. Hence they try to prove that there was no replacement for them but little do they know that the graveyards are full of those people who once thought themselves to be indispensable. Hence, many of them are then forced to leave in a very disgraceful manner. We have recent example of three Vice Chancellors of Medical Universities who having completed their tenure of service, were desperate to get extension after extension but then a day came when they had to leave their office in a very disgraceful manner.

Once I asked late Prof. Akhtar Khan who enjoys tremendous respect in the medical profession, can he share any particular incident which must have put him in a very embarrassing situation in his professional career? He thought for a while and then said, “Yes, the day I accepted an extension in my service. I could see a visible change in the attitude of my own colleagues.” His advice to the members of the medical profession in general and the faculty members, those occupying coveted positions in particular was, never dream, ask or maneuver for an extension in service. Retire honourably and go home and this holds true for all other professions as well. In yet another incident, I was sitting with Prof. Iftikhar Ahmad Principal of KEMC in his office when a senior faculty member of King Edward Medical College approached him with an application with a request to recommend it to the health department for extension. Prof. Iftikhar Ahmad tore that application and threw it in waste paper basket and said, “Doctor Sahib, go home, relax and spend time with your family members and friends and enjoy your remaining life. Do not block the promotion chances of others.” He further stated that “I can assure you that I myself will never ask for extension in service for a single day and the day I retire, I will go home” and that is what he did.

While on one hand we do have people in the medical profession who are all the time planning, maneuvering for extension in their service praising those in the power corridors, there is no dearth of people who value their self-respect and dignity. Prof. Alaf Khan and Prof. Lala Rukh an ideal couple from KPK who both retired as Professor of Medicine and Professor of Obstetrics & Gynaecology respectively from Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar went on Leave a year earlier so that they can make room for juniors waiting for their promotion. Even after retirement they enjoy tremendous respect in the medical profession. Speaking at the farewell reception held in honor of Prof. Saeeda Haider hosted by the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine at Dow Medical College and Civil Hospital Karachi on March 14th 2012, Prof. Tipu Sultan a distinguished member of the medical profession and former Principal of DMC whose family has established Malir University of Science and Technology in Karachi after retirement had remarked “Come with respect and learn to leave in a graceful manner. Do not maneuver for extension in service and give chance to others to play their innings.” Remember when some people do not wish to retire and keep on maneuvering for extension, those whose chances of promotion are blocked, start praying to God Almighty to send them an invitation to such persons from the other world. My sincere advice to everyone is please “Do not wait for that day.”


1. Farwell reception for Prof. Saeeda Haider at DMC/Civil Hospital. Pulse International April 1st 2012.

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