Slander And Mischief


I stand at a crucial precipice today. Life has become a warzone. Unnumbered hardships wait around every corner; every nook and crevice harbors enemies and false friends. They say they will annihilate my very existence with enmity and slander. I smile valiantly. It must be very hard for people to make up lies about honorable people just to win their side of the arguments. It must be a smoldering ember of hatred within their bosoms that makes them say cruel words. Their defamation shows that I have won way before the actual dual even started. It is easiest to sort out your true friends from your enemies and hypocrites when a bad word of gossip travels. The people whose hearts are with you stand up for you and fight in your absence, and those who pass on the words do you the undeniable favor of leaving your life without any further tests. I do not claim absolute wisdom but I know there never was a story, real or concocted, between good and evil where evil won and goodness suffered. It all boils down to a happily ever after, if even the reward starts long after we cease to be.

I have always lived my life from a third person perspective, trying incessantly to please my family, friends, mentors, saints and God. I have always felt cheated and judged by social skepticism. Words like ‘too good to be true’ and ‘Mother Teresa’ have been reiterated so many times that I have come to deeply abhor the underlying metaphor. I heard the worst words in the world today and I suddenly felt free. I do not need to prove my purity, innocence or goodness anymore. I can be as human as the next person. I will never be rewarded for doing everything good I feel within my essence and am compelled to do, at least not from the mortal world. Any sin or wrongdoings will also be punished by an Omnipotent and I will not allow any person to persecute me anymore. Today was an important turning point in my attitude. I have always taken too many right turns in my life. No wonder I have always felt lost in circles. I have finally decided to take a couple of left turns as well. Sometimes, if not often, I will indulge in things that make me happy, provided I do not hurt or abuse any other person’s rights or liberty. This one moment of clarity has lifted a huge burden off my chest. I can be who I am without any guilt or remorse. I am free and I have every right to be so.

We all suffer from hatred, jealousy, gossip and meanness of others and sometimes these things hurt more deeply than any physical assault. It is necessary to remember that not everyone’s opinion counts; for every hundred false friends and foes, one true friend who stands by your side tips the balance in your favor. Unfortunately, sometimes even our own families do not love us the way we deserve to be loved; other than sheer humanity and kindness we do not owe those people any courtesy that they do not reciprocate. People who cannot love us unconditionally must be taught a code of ethics to love and regard us conditionally. If they do not comply they must endure a penalty of some sort, be it a physical or emotional detachment or sometimes complete cut off from our inner circle of life. As I ponder upon these sad musings I realize that more than love and care, the complicated intricacies of human relationships need our attention. There will always be hearts we will not be able to mould no matter how deeply we love them or how generously we share our blessings with them. These relationships are not our losses or failures; they are the misfortune of those souls who cannot understand unconditional love.

As I write these lines, the wisdom of the ages touches my heart and heals my heartache. I know deep within that as there have been people who have loved me for no reason at all, there will be others who will hate me for the same unexplainable rationale. I for one can only thank God for giving me the former, ask him to help me to forgive the latter and seek wisdom to know the difference between the two. As I reiterate my feelings I am thinking of some beautiful people and many ugly ones and saying a silent prayer for each and everyone. May I still remain a blessing for the good and the bad alike and may I teach some souls to love, who have never been blessed with this feeling. The slander and mischief of people is just another way of testing our mettle and courage. Even though I wish no one would do something as low and mean as this, I know there will always be people like that. I write today’s lines in dedication to a very hurt soul I met today, hoping and praying that if even one person changes his ways and stops hurting other people, maybe the world will after all be a better place for our children.

Wild Pigeons And A Law Firm


Ascending the stairs to his office I peek at the wild pigeons outside the window of the second floor landing. The eggs have just hatched and one of the parents is always guarding the newborns from unknown dangers. I have been coming here for the last six months and I still feel fascinated by the universal maternal instinct. I will always remember this time of my life when I see wild pigeons. It is one of the darkest, bleakest periods and yet is radiating with the warmth of his devotion, sincerity and strength. I have walked a thousand mile journey of pain and sorrow with bare feet and my soul has been pierced by a thousand thorns. I have met some of the lowest forms of life I will ever encounter in my entire existence. I have endured treachery, disrespect, ridicule, abandonment and humiliation. These few months of my life have added years of experience, wisdom and pain to my heart. But I will still remember a very bright and sunny era just because he was a part of this miserable journey.

As I reach the third floor to catch my breath I see the sign of the law firm proudly highlighting his name in big bold letters. I always reminisce upon my first impression upon entering these offices. I had gone through scores of dishonest, sleazy lawyers and I expected a sweet talking, deceptive person, ready to yank out all my cash with no service in return. God knows I had met enough of that kind before I met him. I was thinking and double thinking everything that was being said. I was probably scared, cautious and hopeful at the same time. Thank God for small mercies. He laid out all the problems before us and I thought he was trying to frighten us. It took me some time to trust him but eventually his sincerity shone through. I had stopped expecting honesty from anyone in the legal community, his was a refreshing surprise. The person who had highly recommended him both professionally and personally will always hold a special place in my heart for his kindness in my hour of dire need. I have truly come to realize how crucial it is to have a good doctor and a good lawyer on your side when things go haywire.

wild pigeonsWith my head full of silent thoughts I enter his office and I am received warmly. It has become a very comfortable routine. I drive all the way to the law firm and then he takes me under his wing. I feel protected and honored. He is a very wise, soulful man with quiet mannerisms. I have come to respect and value his opinions about life. He has taught me the worth of virtue, chivalry and sincerity. One sees the true colors of a person when one is in need. His are radiant shades of honesty, fair dealing and kindness. Some people are blessed with outward beauty but the heart leans towards those whose souls are beautiful. When I look in his eyes, I see absolute trust; when I hear his words, I sense sincerity and wisdom; when i see him smile, I feel an inner warmth and comfort. I often wonder how in God’s name I will ever repay him for everything he has been to me in this ordeal. Someday, somehow I will find a way to return this debt of kindness. Gratitude is a memory of the heart. Maybe years later we will smile upon this chance encounter that has bonded us deeply and watch wild pigeons protecting their young ones with compassion that is so hard to find in people.

A Life Less Ordinary


What is life? An existence, an experience or a journey? It is perhaps an amalgamation of all three. One breathes, eats, sleeps and procreates for a basic survival. It is done by every living thing and has no higher purpose in humans than the lower animals.One can enumerate all the facets of merely living but that existence is not even a dot in the grand scheme of life and thus to me, just living is not much of a life.

 

Along the years one meets illness and health, birth and death, victory and defeat, war and peace, etc as unique experiences that mold and shape who we are. If any one pivotal moment is altered in our life stories, we will become different people. Every miracle and every tragedy plays a role in making or breaking our inner selves. I often imagine human lives as projects in a potter’s wheel. The invisible hands hold us gently in one cycle while they smudge our very forms in others; as the wheel turns, we take on the final shape that we were meant to be. While we mourn and lament over our losses and celebrate our successes we forget that the cycle is never ending and the ones who are below will be at the top, it is but a matter of time. All we need is the sight to see what the eyes cannot and the wisdom to understand what makes no sense at the moment. Perhaps madness is the best way to look at everything, the only way to undo the spectacles we are forced to see life through as we grow older. A little game of seeing the world topsy turvy by standing on one’s head comes to mind. The same view can be so different. Only children and a select few lunatics like myself have the capacity to change the perspective from public opinion.

 

Everyone we meet, the good, the bad and the inconspicuous; are all a part of our journey towards the divine.The people whom we place in the grand central positions of life; who mostly fail us but sometimes the idols are kind enough not to shatter before our eyes. The people we are born into as family and endure the worst character traits of without questioning their presence in our lives. The near and dear ones we let go of when they hurt us so irreversibly and repeat the torments without remorse. The cracks we carry within our hearts for people we have loved and lost. This is the inner circle of our hearts and souls. The ones who enter them are few and far between. The second halo is of friends, the family we hand pick and decide if they should see our inner selves without the camouflage and protection of our hardened wiser appearances. The ones who will love everything in us that is not bright or beautiful. Once again, the count is miserably low and most of the friends we form will be for a reason or a season and very scanty for a lifetime. The outer circle is the world at large. The people we work with, meet in random places and interact while we are going about our own private lives. We often search for people to transfer into the inner two circles that have such a great want of replenishing. We are all a part of each others journey and the load is made heavier or lighter by the companions one finds in life. And needless to say some of us are lucky enough to find that one soul mate who was made to fit every facet of our existence.

 

While we suffer and endure all the hardships and savor in the gifts of life, we seldom remember the unseen hands that scribble judgments on deeds carelessly done and words randomly spoken. I am perhaps one of the crazy few who contemplates about the chance encounters and heartfelt moments. But i know somewhere in the unseen someone smiles at my deliberation and strife for a life less ordinary. I need to share the concept of writing our own life stories: picking and choosing the hallmark moments and the pivotal people. And dropping acts of kindness in the way to be later retrieved as spiritual breadcrumbs when lost in the enchanted forest of life. If the journey ends in a six by six hole in the ground, the very fact that it was thoroughly enjoyed makes it a success. However, if a proclamation is held at the end and we are to be rewarded for the lives well lived, i would like to face my judgment smiling at all the things everyone thought silly and frivolous.

Torn And Tattered


I caught my dress on a barbed wire while walking in the woods today. I tried to pull it away forcefully and the fabric tore with a shrill sound. I couldn’t breathe for a moment and then I walked back to the wooden post that held the nasty fence. I knelt in the tall, grassy knoll and tried to disentangle my hem. I gently picked up threads from the torn piece and one by one moved them to and fro to help me extricate my clothes. After five minutes of patiently removing my garb from the wire, my finger accidentally got pricked by the rusty thorns. Scarlet blood oozed all over my hand and the milky white fabric. I stood up suddenly and realized that I had sprained my calf muscles in this endeavor. With a sharp, whizzing sound another piece of my dress was ripped. In that one moment, even though I had destroyed my favorite outfit, all I wanted to do was to control the damage and walk away. I knew that the harm was done already and I was merely picking up the pieces. With one swift move I yanked my clothes off the fence and walked away. Tiny, tattered pieces of white fabric fluttered in the morning breeze as I limped back home. They will always remind me of what I lost and the pieces will only wither away with time.

I thought of you today and missed you intensely. For the first time, I realized that like barbed wire some people have already broken us in a million ways. The best way to salvage what is left is to forcefully remove them from our lives in one swift motion. Unless we want to end up more hurt than before, speed is necessary. Usually friends and family try to be the peace makers. Everyone who doesn’t really care about you tells you that misunderstandings and hurt are part of the deal called marriage and relationships. They try to give you the other person’s perspective. You want to explain everything that went wrong to your own self before you start telling others. But there are so many muddled memories and a frivolous part of you keeps waiting for a miracle. Things that make no sense in the first place cease to have any meaning at all when everyone in a thirty mile radius makes it his duty to advise you on your private affairs. People, who do not even know a fraction of the truth, fabricate such elaborate lies out of every word you say and every gesture that at one point you just stop confronting them with the truth. You can just tell by the way they stop talking among themselves as soon as they see you, that you are the flavor of the month’s gossip. The worst are the ones who love you unconditionally and immensely. They hold such pity for your condition that they happily demonize your beloved and burn the effigy with pride and devotion.

But that is only one facet of the nightmare of breakup. The highlight is what your heart and mind do to you. Your mental faculties work at a hundred percent and analyze every word said, text-ed or emailed. The way he smiled when you talked about your future seems to be a nasty, villainous smirk. The look in his eyes when he first confessed of his love is deciphered as malevolent greed. The first flower he picked for you, the one you have tucked safely in your poetry journal, seems to be a cheap cliche. The photographs that you adored with all of your heart are stowed away never to be seen again; just because you don’t have the courage to see them for one last time and burn them to ashes. Everything that made your heart flutter seems to be an act of preplanned deception. Everyone agrees with your analysis and swears on their grandmother’s grave that they always thought something was off about this guy. Your mind gets clouded by the relentless opinions, hatred and decisions and you are just numb to whatever is happening to your life. Somewhere in all this humdrum, you keep your fingers crossed and pray like you did as a child with your eyes tightly shut and your heart caving in. Please God, save my dream from complete annihilation. Just perform one little miracle for me and make him as heartbroken and lost without me, as I am without him.

When all the shenanigans pass, the deafening crowd scatters and you lie in bed waiting for sleep that never comes the actual pain is revealed. You realize that your heart is sinking to the bottom of the ocean and the tears never cease. Your pillow is damp and your eyes are sore from insomnia and incessant crying. A tiny voice inside your head asks you innocently what went wrong and how could we have done it differently. How could the world of our dreams just fall apart without any chivalrous attempt of salvaging it from the both of us? One wonders how graciously we have catered relationship advice to others but when it boiled down to our own life, the river of wisdom ran dry. And a part of your heart just knows that you will love his smile, the look in his eyes and that first crimson rose as long as you live, maybe even after death. All the collective wisdom of the world cannot convince your silly heart not to mourn the loss of a fairytale; one you grew up believing so ardently that it never occurred to you that it would not end happily ever after. Long after your lives have gone separate ways, somewhere along the road a tiny remnant of a distant dream will make you cry. You will remember the white fabric fluttering in the wind stained with your blood, forever mourning the heartbreak of loving someone who loved you not.

A Letter To The Chief Justice Of Pakistan


Your Honor,

It is with great affliction and anguish that I write these lines. I mourn the demise of the legal system you represent with such grace and pride. I watch the news with a bleeding heart as you uptake sue motto notice of micro nuances of law and governance but remain blissfully unaware of the cadaver of justice that is being dragged in the courts of law every day. I am equally surprised and disgusted at the naivete a man of your stature and experience perpetually practices. Either you are actually unaware of the legal practices in the courts of law or you refuse to acknowledge them. In either case your presence grants no relief to the common man. Who cares if one institution is following a small legality or one political leader makes a comment about the legislature? You seem to be the only one who takes those issues up and lose sleep over them. What about the hundreds and thousands of cases pending in courts that will never be decided, at least not according to law. If awareness is the only missing link in your esteemed conscience allow me to uncover some very disturbing facts of life as a common Pakistani in our beautiful country.

I abhor being the bearer of bad news but dear Sir, there is no legal system in Pakistan that you proudly represent. It died years ago and the carcass has been heartlessly dragged in the district and sessions courts, hanged in the honorable High court and buried in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The least we can do as decent citizens of this great country is to give it a respectable funeral and inform the general public that no such institution exists hereon. If a citizen has a grievance, he should either call the news channels and enjoy his five minutes of fame or take refuge in prayer and expect God to send down some angels to help him and spend the rest of his days waiting for their expected arrival. There is no other way, at least none that works. Of course, for the mentally inept who insists on basing his learning curve on a long, tedious, painful journey of anguish, disgust and horror there is one path less traveled by. This road is littered with the bones and decaying remains of brave and gallant idiots whose forefathers started the journey of a thousand miles to nowhere. I am unfortunately one of those educated mental cases who insist that society needs knights in shining armor to save the virginity and sanctity of human civilization. Sadly, I have yet to learn the ways of the wise.

The sad alternative is what innocent people like me find themselves doing. We hire a lawyer, preferably someone who has no idea what amount of money lies in your bank accounts. The sooner he finds out, the faster the load on your bank is lessened. I am not saying there are no good people practicing law, but I can count those three people on my fingertips, the rest are just brigands and thieves. If you are rightful in your claim you will not find a single soul who will encourage your right to fight. The kindest words will involve a speedily retreat from the avenues of law. What a wonderful country. The legal system tells victims of theft, murder, rape, burglary, fraud, etc. to forgo their claim and hold on tight to what remains. If they insist on pursuing justice they are given a price list. The office bearers of the lower courts are amazing business people and they come highly recommended. I have had the golden opportunity of doing some very lucrative business with them. They will buy judicial officers, court clerks, opposing counsels and even judges for you. Of course this fast and reliable service is worth every million they ask for. It is only a moment of incredibility when one is initially introduced to this expensive merchandise for inexperienced fools like ‘your truly’ have only known diamonds and gold to cost this much and who with a decent income in Pakistan can afford to buy  jewelry, let alone justice.

Your honor, the story does not end here and the plot thickens as the esteemed lawyer is hired and the actual nightmare officially starts. The first day in a district court is much like a child’s first day at school. One is refreshed, eager to learn and ecstatic at finding a speedy remedy. Of course, as days go by and weeks turn into months and years, the experience is in no way less educational. The more one wanders into these corridors, the more misery and deceit unveils itself. One forgets his own complaint as one stumbles upon case after case of years of fruitless litigation. The honorable judges are sitting high and mighty in their courts, the esteemed lawyers are arguing and counter arguing cases and the poor litigants are wondering if everyone is doing their jobs right why are there no decisions made. The answer lies in observing the minutia of the system. It is easy to delay justice. The opposing counsel will narrate all the facets of life in his various excuses for adjournments. One feels the pangs of guilt as one realizes that one’s petty case is causing a horrific chain of deaths, disease and devastation in the life of the opposing counsel. The poor chap has lost his entire family and friends to an early demise, his doctor is counting his days in the mortal world, his home and office have been burglarized and burnt and here he feverishly stands in his only pair of socks and trousers to arbitrate his client’s right to steal your property. As he lays the stack of fake death certificates, health certificates and police reports with such audacity, no one in their right mind will challenge their authenticity. After all, the one hundred percent relief from legal consequences of crime is the promise delivered. Seriously, no soap opera has a greater entertainment value. I have a good mind to hire these people to run the country, they will do a job only paralleled by corrupt politicians, actually even better because politicians might still claim a spark of a conscience and morality.

If after years of court dates and endless pursuit the case is decided in the District Court, it is taken up in appeal in the Sessions Court. A new set of office bearers wave their price lists in your face and if you insist on being fair and just, another decade of your life is lost to this crowded arena of foul play. Of course they tell you there are ways to bypass the corruption. Write an application to the Member Inspection Team (MIT) in the High Court or better still take your complaint to the Honorable Chief Justice of the High Court. One gets a refreshing change as diary numbers of complaints pile up alongside the court dates and one is informed how reports are being demanded from the presiding judges and the court officials of the cited offenses. Yet strangely, no one is ever fired or even remotely answerable to the powerful High Court. The pattern of delay and deceit never changes, but one gets to meet endless characters of a future book of hostilities that the Penguin Books will pay you a grand royalty for. What more could an aspiring writer like myself ask for. The punch line is when you hear how outraged the honorable Chief Justice of Pakistan was when Imran Khan made a comment on the judicial system. I must say his great highness has a strange sense of propriety and morality. As a doctor I find it my professional duty to break the sad news to this kind gentleman and let him grieve the death of hope and justice in our dear Pakistan.

I have learned one very important lesson in these excursions. It is very legal to be a criminal in Pakistan. You can get away with anything if you hire the right office bearers and pay them to ward off any good lawyer that they could not buy off. You can buy degrees, documents, witnesses, entire court staff, revenue officers and the list goes on. All one needs is a firm belief in the absence of an Omnipotent and a vile, decayed moral character and the rest is a piece of cake. You can safely hope that no one in their right mind will fight back the system as they call themselves. And if God forbid, a downright fool comes wandering down these forbidden pathways, he will ramble for years, clamoring between countless court dates, depleting his finances, destroying his life and career and waiting for justice to be revived by a code red. Little does he know that the long buried system has been fitfully mourned and forgotten only to be replaced by a shady side kick. My father was one of the people who formulated the constitution of Pakistan in 1973. I am downright ashamed of his service to his great country. I am sure by the time he himself faced the legal rhetoric, he realized that he helped form a network of organized criminal behavior. No mafia worked in more underhanded ways than the ‘legal godfathers’ of Pakistan. It is such a miraculous system where anything can be anything. One feels a deliverance from the sordid realities of life as fantasy after fantasy is fabricated in the face of truth and eventually the victim starts feeling sorry for the wolf that had devoured him merely out of his natural instinct and incredible hunger.

Your honor, I sign off with a salute to your service to our great nation based on the eternal rules of righteousness and piety by noble Islamic traditions. No country has a greater legal system and such speedy denial of justice.  If I were given a second lifetime, I would spend it more wisely and never go near the side streets of Mall Road, let alone in any one of the scattered courts. You must be upset that I did not mention the Supreme Court or High court proceedings in my letter. Dear sir, maybe my grandchildren will have the good fortune of making it to those arenas, my lifetime is unfortunately too short to get there.  And last but not the least; I must commend you highly on your noble tradition of forgetfulness. It will take five to ten seconds of introspection at best and then you will kick right back into your great routine and forget about all the leftover, petty matters of the common people.  Justice delayed is justice denied; therefore you deny it out rightly to save our citizens the trouble of waiting for it. As a common, subservient citizen of the greatest nation of the world, I sign off with an unconditional apology on my audacity and stupidity to seek justice and fair play in a nation that boasts neither.

Forever Bonded


We are forever bonded. No one and nothing can part us. Time has ceased to exist between us. We have transcended all the limits of time and space. We can die today or tomorrow but our link will forever be as strong. I smile upon my frivolous thinking. I must be an absolute fool or a complete sage. The difference is always ever so slight. Madness lingers in close proximity to genius. And yet I smile valiantly as we are ripped apart. I wonder if it would make any difference at a cosmic scale if we ever met, married and had children or not. I wonder if on a god level we hold enough importance to be noticed by the omnipotent. Maybe we are so over obsessed with our own minuscule worlds that we fail to recognize how common and trivial our lives are from the creator’s perspective. This thought saddens me more than the one about parting. I would rather die a gallant death than live a mundane life. I am always performing in an imaginary spotlight, always trying to outdo my own talent. And this one thought brings me back to you. We are made out of the same mould. Our thoughts, dreams and aspirations are so intertwined. Sometimes I catch my breath when you say something so familiar that I feel you beneath my skin. How in god’s name will I let you go? How will we ever make sense of a universe where we are not together? And yet reality sneers at my innocence. I know the day will dawn when we will lose the last shred of hope and distances will be beyond measure. I am certain that a part of me will die with you. I know I will never find happiness as absolute as this. Life without you will not be much of a life.
As the sadness trickles into the farthest recesses of my mind, a small ray of hope shines through. My heart is ever so young and in its naiveté it hopes for a miracle. I say a silent prayer as warm tears gush out. There has to be some way in which the universe will conspire to keep us together. After all it was nothing less than a miracle how we came together and connected on all levels. The interlude between sorrow and joy is a fraction of a second as I recall our chance encounter. I smile upon that moment every time my heart sinks with sorrow. Your memory has the power to energize my heart and soul back to its youthful vigor. Another silent prayer is said as I wonder how we could change the world if our unflinching idealism and optimism is united. The stars in their eternal motion drew us together and now they are separating the very bond they helped us form. I can almost hear you argue endlessly about us being the masters of our destiny. I want you to prove it by being with me for as long as we both shall live. Like me, you too crave for challenges and love to win against the odds. This time I want to provoke you into winning this war of defiance and stand by my side as a victor. The blood curdles in my veins as I think of all the obstacles stacked against us. My better judgment trembles at the insanity of love and youth. And yet, it is so natural and instinctive to forget about the impending doom.
In the worst of times, my mind slips into oblivion and reality seldom sneaks in. I let my thoughtlessness peak and the days go by in a dazed state of mind. I will not think of parting until the unfortunate day dawns and I am forced to accept it. Until then, I will save every smile, cherish every moment and bask in your warmth. Our happiness cannot be measured in years of companionship; it is beyond all measures of time and space. We have found millenniums of bliss in mere moments. We have conversed for hours and yet have the depth of understanding of a lifetime of benevolence. What more could one ask for. No matter how many years of life we are blessed with, we will still long for more. Our love will not be satiated in a single lifetime. I smile as I imagine the promised eternity of the afterlife. In some quiet corner of heaven, probably in a celestial coffee shop, we could talk forever and laugh about the shortest of encounters in a worldly life. I would like to smile upon this thought as I breathe my last. I will hope, as my eyes close in eternal slumber, you will be on the other side to hold my hand and guide me to the promised light. No one and nothing will part us. We are forever bonded.

Dr. Mahmood Abbas Bokhari


Dr. BokhariLoss of a Scholar & Visionary

Dr. Mahmood Abbas Bokhari’s sudden demise has created a deep void. Our nation has lost a fine person and a great visionary. Dr. Bokhari was a senior medical doctor, a law graduate, a senior parliamentarian, poet and literary figure as well as author of many books and publications. He was one of the founding members of Pakistan People Party with late Z. A. Bhutto and a Member of National Assembly (MNA) for eight years. As a writer, he was fluent in Urdu, English, Punjabi, Persian and Arabic, and contributed many writings in all of these languages. He was a life-long student and scholar of Islam, history, constitutional law and divine philosophy. His life was as enriched as it was tumultuous.

Born to a humble and honest railway officer, he was prodigious as a child with a photogenic memory, witty personality and an immense aptitude for arts, sciences and sports. He not only excelled at his studies but also read and absorbed many books above his age. His grandfather (Nanna) loved him very much and recognized the talent in him. Young Bokhari spent a great deal of time with his nanna and heard him narrate passages from religious, history and literary books. Later on when his Nanna became blind, he would read various books to him. In this way, Bokhari not only became well read in history and religion but also developed an insatiable thirst for knowledge. Nanna frequently advised Bokhari, “Ahsan ul Ilm e Ilm ul Adian wa Ilm ul Abdan” (The best knowledge is the study of religion and body) and Bokhari took this advice to heart and lived by it. He also fulfilled his Nanna’s ardent desire and became a doctor at the young age of 19.

While at King Edward Medical College, Dr. Bokhari was patronized and mentored by KEMC Principal Colonel Elahi Baksh, a renowned physician and Quaid-e-Azam’s personal doctor. Dr. Bokhari considered him a father figure and idolized him. As president of King Edward Medical College, he excelled in his studies as well as sports. He was greatly admired by Dr. Baksh for his brilliance and integrity and he regarded him like his own son. As president he often had to host visits from various officials and celebrities. He only had one shabby suit to wear to these occasions. On one of these occasions, Dr. Elahi Baksh summoned him to his office and suggested that he use some of the college club (wrestling, rowing, boxing, general sports) funds to purchase a new suit. These funds are sanctioned for use by sports participants for their health maintenance and various needs. Dr. Bokhari, however, being a firm believer in the Categorical Imperative of Emmanuel Kant said to Dr. Baksh, “I am not a thief”. When Dr. Baksh offered to personally provide financial assistance, Dr. Bokhari said, “I am not a beggar”. He then excused himself from Dr. Baksh’s office and returned shortly to hand over his resignation as college union president. Dr. Baksh was so moved by his integrity that he got up and embraced him and promised not to broach the subject again.

In order to support his family, Dr. Bokhari took up the position of Demonstrator in Physiology at King Edward Medical College and also started private practice on Grand Trunk Road. After only six months into his practice he was forcibly posted to Muzaffar Garh District Hospital. At first it was a very difficult transition from Lahore to the remote city of Muzaffar Garh about 400 kilometers from Lahore. He was not only separated from his family but also lost his private practice with which he supported his family. Dr. Bokhari, however, soon established his practice and formed a commendable repute. He also developed friendships with the District Commissioner of Muzaffar Garh, Anayat Maula and other bureaucrats. Soon he became very popular among his patients for his excellent service, vast knowledge and amiable nature. The patients being poor villagers would express and pay their gratitude in the form of loyalty and gifts of livestock, vegetables, fruits and other bounties which were showered upon him despite his refusal. He requested the staff nurses to prepare and cook the food that he would give to the nurses, midwives, dispensers and staff members to take to their families.

When the 1956 Constitution was abrogated by President Field Marshall Ayub Khan, Dr. Bokhari was so incensed that he abandoned his job in Muzaffar Garh in protest to the government and came to Lahore where he was harassed.

Apne bhi hain naaraz paraaey bhi hain naalan
Mein zehray halahal ko kabhi keh nah saka qand
(Iqbal)

His conviction to fight for civil rights drove him to pursue a degree in law. The law degree not only helped him understand the constitution better but also to defend resistance from the government. He was a close friend of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and a founder member of Pakistan People’s Party. He conceived the idea of Islamic socialism as the precursor philosophy behind the Pakistan People’s Party. President Ayub was celebrating a 10-year leadership milestone as Dr. Bokhari approached Ayub Khan on that occasion and expressed to him the grave concerns he had about the government. Ayub Khan was impressed with Dr. Bokhari’s political knowledge and wisdom. Dr. Bokhari then felt the need of a platform that he could use to voice his concerns and effect change. He contested and won the election from the district of Kasur and became Member of National Assembly on the ticket of PPP in 1970, remaining in that position for 7 years. He was member of several committees and councils, including Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) and Constitutional council. He was well known for speaking his mind without any fear regarding all issues, unlike many other parliamentarians or ministers who were always happy to flatter and be subservient to Bhutto. Whenever he felt that Bhutto was making a mistake or being driven by his over-sized go, Bokhari would state it forcefully. This sometimes earned him the enmity of his own party. On one occasion, after repeated attempts on his life by the police, he spoke for more than nine hours continuously in the session of the National Parliament, and ended his speech by tearing off his shirt and throwing it in the direction of Z. A. Bhutto, challenging him that if he wanted to kill Bokhari, he should do it and wash his shirt in his blood. This episode was reported internationally and finally stopped the attempts on his life.

After the fall of Mr. Bhutto’s regime and his execution, he had to face innumerable false martial law cases filed against him. Due to his habit of speaking his mind, he had made enemies within the military establishment, who instructed the formulation of more than one hundred false martial law cases against him. Due to his legal training, he personally fought all cases over the next eight years and was acquitted honorably in each and every one of the cases.

In 1969 he married Dr. Sajida Mahmood Bokhari, a gynecologist. They had six children, three boys and three girls. Both Dr. Bokhari and Dr. Sajida poured their love and attention into the upbringing of their children. They made sure that their children not only pursued distinguished careers but were also enlightened in religious and spiritual knowledge. They imparted their wisdom and vision and made them the torch bearers of their knowledge.  The eldest son has distinguished himself as a particle physicist, is a highly successful entrepreneur owning several patents and two companies in the Silicon Valley in US. The middle son was a medical doctor and with also a Masters degree in Public Health, planning to pursue neurosurgery but unfortunately passed away suddenly at the young age of 26. The youngest son, completed MBA, law as well as CSS and is currently a second secretary in the foreign office of Pakistan. The eldest daughter is a Pediatrician in US and the youngest one a Physician with a talent for poetry and literature like her father. The middle daughter is a scientist in Molecular Biology and is also an excellent artist. Dr. Bokhari was also a proud grandfather of three children.

Dr. Bokhari was an overachiever with high moral and qualitative standards but no desire for personal gains. With his wife on his side as his professional and life partner he founded the Bokhari Welfare Hospital on Grand Trunk Road near University of Engineering and Technology. Treatment and medicines were provided free of cost for needy patients. Dr. Bokhari worked day and night at the hospital with his wife and had to balance it with his political activities and family life. After winning his battle with the martial law dictatorship under Zia-ul-Haq, he resigned from his active political career and played a dormant advisory role to the democratic leadership of Pakistan. His letters to all the living and deceased leaders of Pakistan are a rich heritage for the nation. He remained the Advisor to the Chief Minister Punjab and Punjab Police for the eradication of crime in the province and founded the Elite Force of Punjab Police. In the following years he focused most of his attention to medical practice, children’s education and his literary, social and religious writings. He wrote numerous books viz. Roodad-e-Wafa, Badar Aur Ali, Harf-e-Wasiq, Nawa-e-Sirosh, Yaad-e-Farzan and Mashaam-e-Amber. His regular columns, interviews, articles and reviews have been published in all the leading newspapers. He founded and contributed  immensely to Idara e Tajdeed e Fikr, Idara Mauraf e Islam and Etihaad Bain ul Muslameen. His work for the peaceful coexistence of all sects of Muslims is highly commendable.

In 1998, upon insistence from his second son, Farzan, a medical doctor, he revived his political career and joined Pakistani Awami Tehreek with Dr. Tahir ul Qadiri as Senior Vice Chairman. He believed he could affect an inherent change in our country. However, fate had other plans. In 2002, his son Farzan was assassinated by a political opponent. Subsequent to this tragedy, Dr. Bokhari lost interest in politics and resorted to dedicating his time to study and writings. He was always inspired by Allama Iqbal, and his writings are incorporated with the modern day advancements of thought. He has therefore touched unexplored horizons in poetry.  His vast study combined with his inquisitive mind resulted in novel inferences about history and religion.

Towards the end of 2012, he got his gravesite prepared although he was in good health. He also expressed his last wishes and legacy to his family and relatives to their puzzlement. On Jan 7th 2013, he died peacefully of a sudden heart attack while reciting Surah Yaseen and left world short of a scholar and visionary.

Bichra kuch is ada say keh rut hi badal gae
Ik shakhs saray sheher ko weeran kar gaya          
Timelines
BIRTH                                                                                                                    16th Nov 1932
MATRIC                                                                                                                                Mar 1947
FSc                                                                                                                         May 1949
MBBS                                                                                                                    May 1954
LAW                                                                                                                       May 1962
NIKAH                                                                                                                   7th Oct 1968
MARRIAGE                                                                                                         25th Jan 1969
MNA                                                                                                                     7th Dec 1970 – 5th Jul 1977
Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), Senior Vice Chairman                                   1998 – 2002                                           

PUBLICATIONS

1-      Roodaad-e-Wafaa

2-      Baddar aur Ali

3-      Sirus.

4-      Harf-e-Wasiq

5-      Nawaey Sirosh

6-      Yaad-e-Farzan

7-      Mashaam-e-Amber

8-      Author and editor, Muaaraf-e-Islam.

9-      Author of several articles and publications in leading newspapers   

10-   Haft Mukalaat