Dr. Tabish Hazir: The Messiah Of Les Misérables Is No More

Dr. Tabish Hazir: The Messiah Of Les Misérables Is No More

One of the saddest days today – my great friend, the friend of humanity, my benefactor, the benefactor of the Les Misérables, the renowned paediatrician Dr Tabish Hazir is no more.  I won’t reproduce ‘google’ here but share my memories.

I came across Tabish in 1996.  My son Osaama Shehzad was just one-year-old.  He was so close to his death.  I took him to PIMS Islamabad where Tabish and Dr Jai Krishan did a miracle.  Osaama lived and he is now a consultant with the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan. Their kindness enslaved me. I spent three weeks in the ward and witnessed Tabish and Jai saving hundreds of lives. This is the truest Jihad, for God says the one who saves one life saves the entire humanity.  Tabish saved thousands of lives in his 40-year long career.

Tabish was a sarkari (government) doctor. Mostly, the government servants receive a salary for doing nothing and demand bribe for doing something. Tabish would spend his salary on PIMS’s poor.  He would ridicule his friends who would spend thousands of rupees every evening on booze. He set up Friends of Children Hospital Fund and made them contribute a couple of thousands every month. They contributed generously and the money was reserved for such parents who could not have afforded medicines for children.

Nusrat Fateh’s famous ‘doston kay darmiyan waje-e-dosti hay tu’ [the reason behind friendship] determines our friendship. Tabish loved classical music and I was half mirasi because of my music training. He wanted to learn music. So I arranged a mentor, Ghani Jafri for him and Shireen Mazari – his wife.  Both generously helped poor Jafri. The poor man would ride a bicycle from Raja Bazaar Rawalpindi to E-7 Islamabad for Tabish and Shireen music lessons.

I was very sad last year when I learnt through my friend Sarmad Sehbai ( who was Tabish's maternal uncle, his mamoo) that Tabish was fighting cancer.  Tabish never told me this.  I called him up and complained.  He said it was nothing.  Business as usual!  He was so brave he could have scared death.

Tabish was charismatic like a Hollywood hero. So punctual and dedicated and was never late for a second. He would tend to his patients even when he is hit by severe fever and was a strict administrator. He was extremely well-dressed with an excellent collection of suits and neckties. He sported a head full of thick hair and whenever he would enter the ward, everybody would be stunned.  All the nurses were in love with him. He would leave the ward and they would start gossiping about him non-stop.  Everyone wanted to be his wife.

The former Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry was a huge fan of Tabish, for the latter treated his special child as well and to the best of his abilities. So much so that the Chief Justice would go to Tabish, not demand that the doctor should visit his son at his place.

We have state of the art sources for communication today: smart phones, whatsapp, facebook, twitter, emails.  And yet people hate to reply, even to friends. Imagine the time it used to take us when we used to write a letter, mail it, wait for it to reach its destination, then wait for a reply. There was always the risk it may not reach us due to the 'efficiency' of the post office. But now those days age gone. Now we send digital messages and one can expect a reply in less than a second.

Yet, people act so arrogantly.  They feel insulted if they replied. But Tabish was rare in this matter.  He would reply instantly and positively. He was fighting cancer when I wrote to him saying that I needed his father's books, the great English poet Taufiq Rafat  He delivered all of them to me in a wonderfully beautiful packing and bag. I felt so ashamed that I bothered him while he was battling cancer.

Tabish never liked Imran Khan yet he never objected when his wife joined PTI.

Today, Tabish has left thousands of poor and sick alone. I know many are mourning and praying for him but I can see him. I can see him sitting besides God and smiling. All I can think of now is whether I will be able to do something before my death which could earn me a place in heaven like Tabish has.

Mohammad Shehzad is based in Islamabad. He has been writing for national and foreign publications since 1992. He is the author of The State of Islamic Radicalism in Pakistan (Routledge Taylor & Francis) and Love and Fear: Poems Beyond Time (www.amazon.com/dp/B08ZNK6SHB) He learns tabla and classical vocal music. He is a passionate cook and shares his recipes at Youtube.com/@mohammadshehzad. Email: Yamankalyan@gmail.com