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Speakers appreciate Prof. Ishaq’s efforts to profile the evolution of cardiology in Pakistan

Whatever we all have achieved is because of Pakistan-Prof. S.H. Shafqat
My heart has always remained with cardiology though later I decided to pursue paediatric – Prof. A. G. Billoo To write history one needs courage, spine and be prepared to face the consequences – Shaukat Ali Jawaid

KARACHI: Speakers at a meeting to formally launch Prof. Ishaq’s book appreciated and commended his efforts to profile the evolution of cardiology in Pakistan which gives lot of useful information. The meeting sponsored by PharmEvo Pharmaceutical was attended by a select gathering of eminent cardiologists where Prof. S. H. Shafqat and Prof. Ejaz Ahmad Vohra were the Chief Guests while Prof. Surgeon Muhammad Rehman an eminent cardiac surgeon and founder of Rehman Medical Institute at Peshawar, Prof., A., Ghaffar Billoo the well-known pediatrician of Pakistan, and Prof. Feroz Memon another noted cardiologist and Principal of Indus Medical College Tando Muhammad Khan were the Guests of Honour.

During the Book Launching ceremony of History of Cardiology held at
Karachi on February 03, 2024 sitting on the dais from (L to R) are
Prof. M. Ishaq (author) Prof. Feroz Memon, Prof. Ejaz Ahmad Vohra,
Prof. Surgeon M. Rehman, Prof. A. G. Billoo and Prof. S.H., Shafqat.

In his welcome address Prof. Ishaq thanked the Chief Guests and Guests of Honour besides other guests present to grace the occasion with their presence. He further stated that it is extremely difficult to write history when there is no written material available and collecting information was an uphill task. However, he has tried his best but still he might have missed some names. Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid in his review has identified some names which are missing and any new information which becomes available after comments from the colleagues will be included in the next edition, he assured.

Group photograph shows the participants at the book launching ceremony “History of Cardiology” alongwith the author, Chief Guests, Guests of Honour
and speakers. The meeting was sponsored by PharmEvo Pharmaceuticals.

Prof Ejaz Ahmed Vohra as well as Prof. Surgeon Rehman congratulated Prof. Ishaq for compiling this book which the younger generation of cardiologists will find it extremely useful and informative. Prof. Billoo remarked that his heart has always been very close to cardiology. He started his career as a cardiologist when he was working on Rheumatic Fever Rheumatic Heart Disease Project at Central Heart Clinic at JPMC but when this project was completed, there was no job hence he decided to pursue his career as a pediatrician. Under the guidance of Prof. S.H. Shafqat he wrote a paper which was then published in BMJ. At the Aga Khan University he prevailed upon the university authorities to start fellowship in Paediatric Cardiology and over a dozen specialists have been trained in this discipline so far. He further stated that almost 70-80% of research in Pakistan is industry driven, we must concentrate on indigenous research and promote the research culture.

Prof. S. H. Shafqat speaking on the occasion reminded those present that whatever we have achieved today was because of Paksitan. Before partition, it was extremely difficult for Muslims to get admission in to medical colleges as there were just a few seats. Had it not been Pakistan, he would have been serving as a Dispenser of a Hindu doctor in India, he remarked. He also thanked Prof. Ishaq and congratulated him on compiling this book.
Prof. Ejaz Ahmad Vohra and Prof. A. Ghaffar Billoo commended PharmEvo for sponsoring the publication of this book. Their contributions to promote literary activities deserve appreciation. They both requested that PharmEvo should revive its project Jane Maseeha through which they used to organize literary activities and also sponsor publication of books.

Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid Chief Editor of Pulse International and Pakistan Journal of Medial Sciences speaking on the occasion stated that he was a well-wisher of Prof. Ishaq and not his friend. He has remained in my firing range in the past and one cannot say about the future. He then quoted the famous speech of a British Prime Ministers Clement Attlee who while addressing the House of Commons had said “Oh Lord save me from my friends, I know who my enemies are”.

Appreciating Prof. Ishaq’s efforts to compile this book which provides lot of useful information regarding the evolution of cardiology in Pakistan in the face of almost non-existence of any record, he has done a wonderful job. However, it can be best called a profile of evolution of cardiology in Pakistan and falls too short of history. For writing history, there are certain pre-requisites like what is the source of information, the source must be authentic and it must be rechecked to ensure authenticity. The information provided must be vetted by some experts in the field and it must have proper references which are missing and it is one of the important deficiencies in this book. He agreed with the author that collection of information is extremely difficult as there is hardly any written record and not many are interested to provide any information.

While Prof. Ishaq has done well to list almost all the leading cardiac institutions and tertiary cardiac care facilities, to me it is just an abstract on which full paper can be written. He has provided some foundations on which an excellent building can be built but it is not possible for someone alone. He also disclosed that the first report he prepared as a young reporter in his professional career was on NICVD which was published in the medical newspaper on November 1st 1968. Later I had the good fortune of working with late Col. M. H. Shah and late Prof. Ali Muhammad Chaudhry who have contributed a great deal to this specialty.

Hence he has been following the developments in cardiology since 1968. Had it not been because of Col. M.H. Shah, Dr. Ali Muhammad Chaudhry and Prof. Ejaz Ahmad Vohra, he might have left this profession in 1978 but they convinced me that there was a great future for me in this profession. Later working with Prof. Abdus Samad and Surgeon M. Rehman my interest in cardiology further enhanced.

He was of the view that for writing history one needs to have courage, spine and be prepared to face the consequences as some people will not find certain facts palatable and they get annoyed. He also disclosed that once late Prof. S. M.Rab came to see Prof. Jalisi and said that twice his name was proposed for Honey. Fellowship of CPSP but every time it was vetoed by Lt. Gen.M. A. Burki and it was because of Shaukat Jawaid. If he can manage him, he might get the fellowship. The reason for this, he disclosed was his book “Medical Men and Women of Pakistan” which took him ten years to compile which covered some eminent medical personalities of Pakistan who did a lot in the field of medical education and health services from 1947 to 1960,1 it had certain historical facts which Gen. Burki perhaps did not like. Prof. Jalisi did get CPSP Honey. Fellowship after the death of Gen. Burki.

Continuing he said that after going through the book he has noted that some names were missing like late Dr. Zafar Ahmad and Dr. M. Javed both consultant cardiologists from Faisalabad. Dr. Zafar was affiliated with a Trust Hospital while Dr. Javed established a state of the art CCU, cardiac care center including angiography facilities at DHQ Hospital Faisalabad with the help of donors and philanthropists of Faisalabad. Another omission was of cardiac Surgeon Anjum Jalal who served as Executive Director of Faisalabad Institute of Cardiology and is presently Executive Director of Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology. Name of Dr. Muhammad Ilyas from Peshawar who founded Pakistan Heart Foundation and was also elected as Vice President of Asia-Pacific Society of Cardiology is also missing. His was no doubt a one man show hence with his death few years ago, this Heart Foundation could not survive. His son in law is a cardiologist and one of his daughters is Paediatric Cardiologist at present.

While Prof. Ishaq has done well to mention the contributions of late Prof. Bunyad Hiader and Dr. Mathew Samuel from India for training Pakistani cardiologists but he missed the name of Dr. Fayaz Shawl an eminent cardiologist from United States. He hails from Srinagar Indian occupied Kashmir and visited Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology to train Pakistani cardiologist. I had the pleasure of interviewing both of them i.e. Dr. Mathews and Dr. Fayaz Shawl. He agreed with Prof. Ishaq that unfortunately doctors in Pakistan are least interested in history. He further stated that we must respect our physicians and surgeons. Had I not asked some sensitive questions at the press conference held at NICVD addressed by Prof. Basharat Jazbi the then Health Advisor to Gen. Zia alongwith Prof.M. Afzal Najib the then Executive Director of NICVD in the presence of British Cardiac Surgery Team as to “what are the cardiac surgical procedures which our Pakistani cardiac surgeons cannot perform for which the British team was here”, cardiac surgery would not have picked up in Pakistan. It did annoy Prof. Basharat Jazbi who later exchanged some harsh words with me. That also proved the last visit of the British Cardiac Surgery team to Pakistan. Air Marshal Daoudpota’s visit to OMI where he was told by late Surgeon M. A. Rahim that cardiac surgery was being performed with excellent results at this hospital at which he announced that in future no PIA patients will be sent to UK for surgery also played a vital role in further strengthening cardiac surgery programme in Pakistan.

History of cardiology will never be compelte if one does not write about what happened to Prof. Shaharyar Sheikh who worked with devotion and dedication to establish Punjab Institute of Cardiology. He was not only removed as Executive Director but the then government also indulged in his character assassination through media for too long. Had Col. M. A. Cheema not resigned from Army where he was not allowed to work independently though he was the first properly trained cardiac surgeon, no cardiac surgery programme could have been successful in Punjab. He has also acknowledged that it was due to Surgeon M. Rehman who trained our technicians, nurses and Perfusionist so that we could start cardiac surgery programme at PIC. He has acknowledged it in his book “Dil Darya”. 2-3 It was again due to Col. Cheema that cardiac institute could be established at Multan and later at Faisalabad. He selected Rana Altaf Anesthetist and Cardiac Surgeon Anjum Jalal who both later headed cardiac institutes in Pakistan on return from Saudi Arabia. It may be mentioned here that earlier another Dr. M. Aslam Cheema had come from United States and wanted to start cardiac surgery in Punjab but after meeting the health officials, he was disappointed and returned back to USA.

Hence where one Dr. Cheema failed, another Col. M. Aslam Cheema succeeded to prevail upon the provincial government to establish cardiac institute. History will not be complete if one does not mention why an eminent cardiologist Prof. S. H. Shafqat was kept away from NICVD, the role played by a Senator and a former Governor of Sindh when a new Executive Director was being appointed at NICVD. Surgeon Rehman had to face firing at his residence more than once while serving at NICVD. In fact some of these episodes and incidents have positive side effects which are visible in the shape of state of the art cardiac institutes established in Punjab and Rehman Medical Institute at Peshawar. Furthermore while writing history, one should not be influenced with personal likes and dislikes, refrain from praising certain people and just concentrate on facts. Any one writing history of cardiology will certainly find some references if little effort is made. Howsoever, history does contain some bitter facts which some will not find palatable. He suggested that Prof. Ishaq should take the initiative and make a team of four to five cardiologists who are interested in history, have time and can contribute.

They can talk to other colleagues who are still alive and have played a vital role in the establishments of various cardiac institutions, have tremendous personal contributions as well. They can be asked to contribute some chapters and once this information is collected, some senior cardiologists should be asked to go through it to ensure that it contains authentic facts. It may take a few months or more than a year but the pains and efforts taken will be worthwhile and rewarding.

Later Prof. Ishaq clarified that he has tried to ensure that no controversial information is included, he knew and has been a witness of personal jealousy of a few cardiologists but his objective was to pay tributes and recognize all those who have contributed for the uplift and promotion of cardiology in Pakistan.

Prof. Fawad Farooq from NICDVD thanked all those present and suggested that now a days it is the era of social media. Hence, one can have brief interviews with senior cardiologists and record their observations which could be preserved as record about the evolution of cardiology in Pakistan. Prof Ishaq thanked PharmEvo for helping him in publication of this book as well as sponsoring this meeting. Copies of the book were also presented to all those present through the courtesy of PharmEvo Pharmaceuticals.


  1. Medial Men and Women of Pakistan by Shaukat Ali Jawaid and Maqbool H. Jafary published by Pakistan Medical Journalists Association January 1995.
  2. Medical History Written in Haste by Shaukat Ali Jawaid. Published by Professional Medical Publications January 2021.
  3. (Accessed on February 9th 2024)


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