RANDOM THOUGHTS: What a Varied Nation - BY: Dr. A.Q. Khan

What a Varied Nation
Dr. A.Q. Khan


We Pakistanis are a very varied nation. The diversity we see here is nowhere else to be found. People belonging to various provinces all have their own cultures, dress, language and even varying religious practices. The weather differs greatly, from the hot, dry deserts in the south to snow covered peaks and heavy snowfall in the north. But what about their habits?

According to reports, we rate second in the number of people performing Hajj and Umrah. However, at the same time, we are ranked below 160th place as far as honesty and truth are concerned. A matter of not practicing what you preach? One consolation – we are one of the top few nations who donate freely and generously for social welfare projects. It is through these donations that the poorest half of our nation is receiving free schooling, medical care and food. For this we have the many sects in our nation – Memons, Bohris, Agha Khanis, Dillike Punjabi Sodagaran, Chinniotees and some religious organizations to thank. They have all been very active in helping the poor. Who has not heard of the late Abdus Sattar Edhi, Dr. Ruth Pfau, Al-Mustafa Welfare Trust, Seylani Welfare Trust and philanthropists like Mr. Arif Habib, Sardar Yasin Malik, Mr. Aqil Dadi, Mr. S.M. Muneer, Senator A. Haseeb Khan, Mr. Mehtab Chowla, Mr. Sultan Chawla, Mr. Zubair Tufail, etc., etc., to name but a few. Most of these great Pakistanis help the poor in the form of medical facilities, schooling, food, etc.

Another such philanthropic work is the establishment of first class schools for the children of martyrs and armed forces personnel. It has been set up by Brig.(R) Javed Ahmad Satti of Behand Tehsil, Kahuta, District Rawalpindi. About 3 years ago I was invited to attend a Defence of Pakistan Day function at Behand. The road from Kahuta to Behan was in bad condition. Since I had an operation for a slipped disc a few years ago, it is painful for me to travel over bad roads for longer periods. At Kahuta we not only put Pakistan on the nuclear map, but I have also done a lot of social work there so the people know me well. I was also instrumental in giving them colleges, good road connections, gas, etc. and for providing jobs to locals on a priority bases. Kahuta is also known for having produced some very fine soldiers – i.e. Gen. Tikka Khan, Gen. Ahmad Jamal, Gen. Ahmad Kamal, Brig. Saeed Beg, Brig. Javed Ahmad Satti and, of course our ever-smiling, fine Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Aziz Mirza – to name but a few. Being aware of my medical condition, Brig.(R) Javed organized their Defence of Pakistan Day function at the Convention Centre in Islamabad 2 years ago. This year the function was again held at the Convention Centre on 1st December and I was honoured to be their Chief Guest. Almost 4,000 children and their parents were present and I was given a rousing welcome.

Brig.(R) Javed came from a modest background. He was assisted in his education by Lt. Azeem, a relative and officer in the Pakistan Navy, which enabled him to secure a commission in the army. After his retirement, he established the Al-Azeem Trust as a labour of love and a way to pay back. The aim of the Trust is to impart quality education to deprived children of backward areas so as to enable them to realize their potential. He and his wife established the first school in their village, Behand, Tehsil Kahuta in April 2002. Talented children are groomed until they are able to generate their own livelihoods, whether this involves supporting their higher professional studies or exposing them to vocational training. Children of parents who cannot afford the tuition fees are admitted for free. Beneficiaries pay for the tuition consistent with their capacities, with the marginalized having access to free education. An excellent quality of education is maintained, for which teachers are purpose trained. They display exceptional commitment, are well paid and academic standards are strictly monitored. The Al-Azeem School System is now financially self-sustaining. It provides quality education to over 11,500 students in 35 schools from primary level to Class 12. Local educated women and younger girls practically run the entire School System which includes providing tuition and administrative functions – a model for women’s empowerment. Many students are accepted into quality institutions for higher education. In the future, the Trust plans to build institutions of higher learning to help their students pursue college educations after they complete their secondary and higher secondary levels.

Over the years, the System has contributed to restoring local forests. These efforts range from community based awareness raising, provision of watch and ward services and re-plantation of trees during monsoons. Recently a new “Taj Mosque” was inaugurated at the main campus located in Behand village. The mosque, located on the mountain top, is named after Brig.(R) Javed’s mother, “Taj”. The design of the buildings is the brainchild of Air Commodore Ahmed Salam Khan.

It is worth remembering that those who serve humanity will be blessed by the Almighty in this world and in the hereafter!

Posted on Dec 10, 18 | 2:23 pm