Sunday, 12 February 2017

QK Archives : Alamzeb a friend of the masses

11th February is the death anniversary of ANP MPA Alamzeb. Killed in a brutal 9n February 11 2009

Alamzeb - a friend of the masses published February 2009 by the Statesman Peshawar

By Dr. Muhammad Hafizullah

“If it takes a life of an MPA to be sacrificed for the sake of peace, I will be the first one to present my life,” he announced with tears in his eyes.
One of his favourite topics was peace of NWFP. He was a firm believer in dialogue and politics as against militancy and power. He was a born politician but of a different kind! His aim of life was neither to earn money and nor fame. He was born to solve the problems faced by his poor voters, with whom he would spend most of his time. He felt great pride in living in a 6 marla house in periphery of Peshawar. He would 'let it be known' that though he had his rots from Dir he has taken permanent residence in Peshawar to serve the underprivileged.
I make no claims of knowing him very well; my only interaction with him was in his capacity as a member of institutional management committee (IMC) of Lady Reading Hospital. Initially when we received the list of new IMC members, two names were totally new. Alamzeb was one of the two. But his interest in the affairs of hospital and sagacious approach won respect and admiration of all. He was honest and took pains in his assignments. He was obsessed with the determination to improve the quality of services of the hospital.
In the maiden meeting of IMC, some of the members wanted access to paramedical and nursing staff. He was one of them. He made special efforts to attend the meeting with both delegations of nursing and paramedical staff. He addressed them and made a fervent appeal for 'change in attitude'.
He promised to solve all their problems and offered his all out but conditional support. His sole request was to respect the patients and extend maximum courtesy to people in stress. He was passionate in his request and carried his point across very well.
"My poor brothers and sisters demand only one thing from you- care, respect and love," he told the participants of 24th Advanced Cardiac Life Support Course held at auditorium of Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar. Cardiology department has the distinction of providing practical hands on training in cardiac resuscitation to doctors and paramedical staff of all the hospitals of NWFP. He was the chief guest and distributed certificates of attendance among participants of course. He was warm and shook hands with all with affection. He had a compliment to present to all. He kept on emphasising his point of 'change of attitude' with all during distribution of certificate ceremony and tea break.
A fortnight after our first meeting, he came to the office of Chief Executive of Lady Reading Hospital, visibly annoyed and disturbed. It transpired that the night before he had visited the Accident and Emergency department and had noted some deficiencies. He was very vocal and presented me a list. Most of the things were already taken care of like renovation of building and equipment of operation theatres and trauma room. We shared the orders already placed and presented already approved PC 1 developed by the director for the development of Accident and Emergency department. That left us with some furniture items and more importantly 'change of attitude'. His change of hue and expression on learning that most of his points were already taken care of revealed his internal joy.
Though one hand he used to constantly complain about deficiencies in operation theatres, outpatient department and in-hospital care, yet on the other hand he would stand by Lady Reading Hospital at every forum. During a PAC meeting on which he was sitting on the side of 'appraisers' he took a firm stand for Lady reading Hospital. He threw an open challenge and offered his own personal guarantee. We in the administration appreciated that in the house he was perennially asking us to improve the services but in the outside world he would hold the flag of Lady reading Hospital very high.
The bomb blast at 'Zanghali' was one of the worst blasts. Casualties poured in large number without any premonition. Hearts were sad and all human eyes were wet on witnessing the mutilated and charred bodies. There were a large number of dead bodies which needed to be shifted to a respectable place. We had enough doctors, paramedical staff and nursing staff to look after the patients but the main problem was security. Keeping the unnecessary people out of trauma room was an uphill task. Alamzeb was there in Accident and Emergency department and helped us in organising and triaging patients.
He was instrumental in bringing the Chief Minister to the hospital. Amir Haider Hoti was satisfied with the arrangements made and announced a special package for the staff of Accident and Emergency department. Alamzeb kept his words and took these lists personally to the chief minister for processing and approval. At one time we were wondering as to which names should be included in the list, he insisted on adding maximal names and stressed on better representation of lower staff.
"What is happening to Peshawar Institute of Cardiology?" he would frequently ask me. He had visited Cardiology and Cardiac surgery departments of Lady Reading Hospital and was very enthusiastic about enhancing of Cardiac services. While waiting for a meeting, he went through the detailed structure designs of the project, in my office. He appreciated the designs and was very excited about the plans for the services especially for the poor and underprivileged. Only a week before he lost his life he accompanied me and Prof Riaz Anwar to the site at Hayatabad. His radiant face exhibited his inner mirth on seeing the physical work under progress. He promised to invite the Chief Minister for the stone laying ceremony and offered his all out help at every step. But alas, he left us even before he could see the realisation of his and our dream into reality.
His words still echo in my ears, "I have a unique present for the people of Peshawar -first of its kind -a Commerce College only for girls." He went through the details of his project. He described in details how he conceived the idea, acquired the college building, and staff- all without much investment from the provincial government. He was most excited when he revealed how he had arranged for a hostel for girls from far flung areas and their free food. In a way, he was encouraging us to undertake patients' welfare projects.
The news of attack on Alamzeb spread like a fire in a jungle in the hospital. It was heart wrenching to see him being operated upon in the newly refurbished theatre boasting of a new operation table, new light and new anaesthesia machine. All members of staff had sadness written all over them, when he was struggling for his breath in his last moments in the ICU which had been upgraded recently doubling the strength of beds and ventilators.
Though upgraded Lady Reading Hospital with a 'changed attitude' tried her best to ward off the icy hands of death from him but then who can fight the dictates of luck. In the death of Alamzeb Lady Reading Hospital lost an enthusiastic supporter and the city has been deprived of a great friend whose life was dedicated to the down trodden and underprivileged.

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