It was somewhere in the early part of 1969 that Dr. M.R.A Hashmi brought to my notice an advertisement inviting papers for the 3rd Asian Australian Congress to be held in Canberra in 1970. If the paper was selected for publication in the proceeding of the congress by scientific committee, the author will be given an all expenses paid trip to Canberra. The offer was valid for only a few of the Asian countries, and one person will be selected from any country, I decided to try my luck wrote two papers – both were selected – and I was invited as a guest.
I was impressed by the Australian Society of Anaesthesiologists who had organized the Congress and by the various officers of the World Federation of Society of Anaesthesiologists with whom I come in contact. I was nominated on a committee to deliberate on the establishment of WFSA Anaesthesia Training Centre in Manila.
These experiences filled me with a burning desire to establish a Society of Anaesthesiologists in Pakistan.
Back home it was a different story. Up till now I had only heard words of encouragement and promises of help – but now – although everyone that I talked to appeared to agree with the need of a Society – yet almost everyone thought that it will not succeed.
I myself recall an attempt as far back as 1955. During the ten years that I was away a few more attempts were made but they did not materialize. Each time an organization was formed office bearers elected, bickering started almost simultaneously and the newly formed society failed to develop. I searched for the causes of failure, as to why an active and representative society could not be formed even after 23 years of country’s independence? My conclusions were: a) Too much personal projection, b) too much personal control, c) Institutional rivalries.
After a lot of discussions with most of the anaesthetists we decided to give it a try. I am most grateful to most of the senior Colleagues in the profession like Dr. Hussain Ahmed, Dr. Attar, Dr. Muneeruddin, Col. Rehman, Dr. Syed Yousuf, Dr. Rehana Ehsan, Dr. Ehsan, Dr. Rauf, Dr. Faizur Rehman, Dr. Kamal, Dr. Amir Ahmed, Dr. Rashida Loya, Dr. Zurek, Dr. Hasnain and others. We decided to launch a Society of Anaesthesiologists from Karachi in which we would try and avoid the pitfalls others had fallen. We decided that we will work selflessly that we will only do things that will be for common good – that we will not take up controversial issues in the beginning and that our major aim will be to improve academic standards of profession. With these thoughts in mind we called a meeting in PMA House at 7:30 P.M. on 13-3-1971 and Pakistan Society of Anaesthesiologists came into being.
I and Dr. Hussain made vigorous contacts with other anaesthetists in different cities, Prof. Rustum Nabi from Lahore, Dr. Khursheed Begum from Multan, Dr. Jamil Ahmad from Peshawar, Dr. Hassan Ara Qureshi from Quetta and a few others not only welcomed the formation of society, but promised to work for it.
In less than 6 months of its formation the Society decided to arrange for training of Anaesthesia Technicians. A course was started at Holy Family Hospital of Karachi. This activity is still going on in the form of a course and examination conducted from the Civil Hospital Karachi.
As these activities were going on along with our not very regular clinical meetings on the first Saturday of every month, a very good gathering of Anaesthetists had come to attend (Forty anaesthetists to be precise) the Annual dinner in 1974.
Dr. Habibul Haq Siddiqui,
Pakistan Society of Anaesthesiologists Centre