RANDOM THOUGHTS: Available Resources - BY: Dr. A.Q. Khan

Available Resources
Dr. A.Q. Khan


Pakistan has an untapped wealth of about 120 million youths. Unfortunately , most of them are uneducated, untrained and jobless. The fault lies with our system of education, an area sadly neglected by incompetent, inefficient and often dishonest bureaucrats and administrators – ghost schools (thousands of them) being a point in question.

Besides our human wealth in youth, we also have a well-educated, experienced, retired force of senior citizens. Senior Citizen Day is celebrated all over the world on 1st October every year. The number of senior citizens in the country is estimated at being 8.7 million, some of whom are organized within the Senior Citizens Foundation of Pakistan. The head office is in Islamabad and there are branches in Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar, Lahore and Wah. Of this organization I am currently the President, Mr. Akbar Hayat Gondapur is the Vice President, Mr. H.M. Chohan is the Secretary, Mr. Hafeezuddin is the Secretary Information and Mr. F.I. Qureshi is the Secretary Finance. All these gentlemen have been Federal Secretaries with decades of valuable experience behind them. Members of the organization include professors, scientists, doctors, economists, politicians, administrators, diplomats, water experts, engineers, etc. It is most unfortunate that this wealth of available knowledge has never been tapped by any of our rulers, Pakistan Engineering Council, Pakistan Academy of Sciences, etc. for advice and input for any important national projects or the solving of local problems. In developed countries, Think Tanks, consisting of senior citizens, are set up and governments regularly benefit from them. Funds are provided to these Think Tanks and requests for advice on policy matters and/or specific projects/problems are forwarded to them.

Every year the Senior Citizens Foundation of Pakistan selects two candidates for medals of special recognition. Last year these were Dr. Naeem Ghani and Mr. Akbar Hayat Gondapur. Selections for this year are still to take place.

Dr. Naeem Ghani is an eminent medical specialist. A graduate from King Edward Medical College, Lahore, Nishtar Medical College, Multan and Kings College, London, he has visited more than thirty countries in connection with his profession. Apart from working in Pakistan, he had a long distinguished career in Saudi Arabia, where he had the unique honour of being the Visiting Honorary Companion to King Suleman Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud. Dr. Ghani has concentrated on welfare work in Pakistan since 1992. He has established numerous free medical clinics in Rawalpindi and Islamabad as well as conventional and non-conventional educational institutions. He is Chairman of the Sultana Foundation – a non-profit organization working in the fields of education and healthcare – and Nazria Pakistan Council – which is committed to the realization of Promise of Pakistan. He is also the author of numerous publications.

Mr. Akbar Hayat Gondapur is an administrator with three Masters Degrees to his name – Public Administration (Punjab University), Economics (KPK) and Defence and Strategic Studies (QAU). During his service he acquired training in Rural Development Administration, Project Evaluation and Review Techniques and Investment Analysis and Decision Making. He speaks, English, Urdu, Pushto, Punjabi and Saraiki. During the course of his work he has been able to travel to many countries and interact with various other cultures, which has greatly influenced his approach to life and society. As Vice President of the Senior Citizens Foundation of Pakistan he contributed his time and experience generously and with great devotion to the cause of the welfare of senior citizens.

Some of the problems faced by senior citizens and needing urgent remedial action by the government are: 1) The constantly rising prices of medicines, which the governments have been unable to control. For senior citizens, medicines are part and parcel of life and ever-increasing prices puts a heavy burden on them. The government should take firm measure to regulate the prices of medicines and keep them at a minimum. 2) The Senior Citizens Bill. The draft of this bill was finalized by the Ministry of Capital Administration and Development and the National Council for Social Welfare. It has been languishing with the government for many years. It should be presented to Parliament without further delay. Only Punjab lags behind, as legislation has already been passed in KPK, Sindh and Balochistan. 3) The age at which pensioners qualify for 25% increase in pension. This is currently applicable to those of 85 years of age and over. This age limit makes the number of beneficiaries negligible and it would have made a greater impact and appreciation if it had been made applicable to those of 75 years of age and older. This would make life a lot easier for many old people. It is hoped that the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan will take urgent action to solve these problems.

Advice for senior citizens learnt from studies in the United States. 1) 51% of old people suffer a fall from climbing stairs and some even die. Old people should climb stairs with extreme caution and hold firmly onto staircase railings. 2) Do not rapidly twist your head as this may bring on dizziness. Do so slowly and if part of exercise, warm up the whole body first. 3) Do not bend your body to touch your toes without warming up the whole body first. 4) Do not put on trousers/shalwar while standing. Do so only while sitting. 5) Do not sit up from a laying-on-your back position. Roll to right or left first and then sit up. 6) Before any exercise, warm up the whole body first. 7) Do not walk backwards. This can cause a fall with serious injury. 8) Do not bend from the waist to lift something heavy. Bend your knees and lift up anything heavy while half squatting. 9) Do not get up fast from the bed. Relax a few minutes after waking up and then get up slowly. 10) Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly for proper bowel movements. Constipation causes piles. 11) Think positive and enjoy the life that you can now lead after many years of hard work. 12) Getting old is mandatory but feeling old is optional.

Posted on Sep 25, 18 | 7:07 am