Karachi, Nov 11: Prince Karim Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Ismaili community, announced on Monday the establishment of endowment funds for the Aga Khan University Faculty of Health Sciences and the Aga Khan University Hospital. The endowments are to be named after Begum Shafiqa Zia-Haq.
Speaking at the inauguration of the 300 million dollar university and hospital by President Gen. Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq, the Aga Khan said he wanted to give a permanent form of expression of gratitude to the President for his support in establishing the university and the hospital.
The endowments of Rs 10 million each would, he said, provide scholarships for medical students and health care for the poor at the hospital.
The Aga Khan announced the appointment of a Board of Trustees of the Aga Khan University and Hospital under the chairmanship of Sahabzada Yaqub Khan, the Foreign Minister, "whose eminence needs no further tributes from me."
He said: "We are honoured at his and the other members' willingness to serve our cause", but gave no names.
The targets set for 1993 have already been attained through the generosity of the donors, he said. The income from this institution would in part be re-invested each year, so that its earnings would grow, thus enabling it to meet its expanding needs.
The university, he said, would draw upon the great historical tradition of Muslim learning, the heritage of such Philosophers and scientists as Ar-Razi and Al-Biruni, Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd. "In the true spirit of this tradition, it will also address the higher educational needs of Muslims as they face this now 15th century of the Hijra.
"Islam is for all places and all time. This is why there is a role for a modern Islamic University which can draw inspiration from the faith and from the past in addressing the opportunities of the future," he said.
About the returning Pakistanis who are now serving the university, he said, he hoped many more would do the same because "Pakistan needs the skills of its own sons".
The Prince also announced his plans to introduce graduate training in the college and a degree course in nursing.
In future, the hospital might broaden its horizons, possibly coupling research carried out at the Faculty of Health Sciences with high technology, tertiary care in health areas determined as being of particular relevance to Pakistan.
Quoting an example, he said, recent statistics in Karachi revealed an increase in degenerative diseases and it was the "duty of leading institutions always to be aware of such changing patterns."
In conclusion, the Aga Khan said that for the last 21 years he had been looking forward to performing the inauguration ceremony of the Faculty of Health Sciences of the Aga Khan University and of the Aga Khan University Hospital.
The inaugural ceremony was held at the campus of the university under a specially designed shamiana, and the President unveiled two plaques which were fixed on two sides of the dais.
Seated on the dais along with the President and the Aga Khan were Sind Governor Lt.-Gen Jahandad Khan, Sind Chief Minister Syed Ghous Ali Shah, Mr. Shams Kassim-Lakha and Dr Habib Patel.
The Aga Khan conferred the first award of Emeritus Professor of Surgery at the AKUH on Dr. Habib Patel, who is the President of the Aga Khan Hospital and Medical College Foundation and has served the medical profession for the last 45 years with great devotion. The Dean of the University read out the citation.
Earlier, Mr. Shams Kassim-Lakha, Chairman of the Owner's Representative Board of the University, gave a detailed resume on the teaching university project and was specially happy to note that three more universities have been opened on the country since the charter of the medical university was presented by the President to the Aga Khan in 1983.
He said that to date the project had cost $225 million, out of the $300 million budgeted amount. Of the 721 beds to be provided, 624 had been commissioned while 60 beds would be added every two months.
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