NOVEMBER 17, 1990


In November 1990, Mawlana Hazar Imam visited Pakistan for the Third Annual Convocation of the Aga Khan University (AKU) where eighty-eight doctors and ninety-three registered nurses received their degrees and diplomas.

1990's Convocation also marked an important point in the University's development. In addition, eight nurses who recently graduated from McMaster University in Canada, under an arrangement with the Aga Khan University and funded by the Canadian International Development Agency received their degrees. The Associate Dean of McMaster School of Nursing, Dr. Andrea Baumann presented these eight degrees. And for the first time in Pakistan, another fifteen nurses graduated with a B.Sc. degree in nursing science from the Aga Khan University, representing the first group of students to complete this course.

Speaking to a gathering of over 1,300 people which included Sindh Governor Mahamoud A. Haroon and Chief Minister Jam Sadiq Ali, Mawlana Hazar Imam touched on various important issues. He said that, through two general elections, the democratic imperative had been growing stronger in Pakistan.

Mawlana Hazar Imam said that he believed that creating opportunities for individual excellence was the very essence of democracy. "It is my fervent hope that democracy will serve this purpose throughout the developing world, stimulating a quest for excellence and ever higher benchmarks of achievement in all areas of social economic and cultural life", Hazar Imam said.

Turning to the graduating nurses and doctors, Mawlana Hazar Imam, who is also the Chancellor of the University, said: "My pride is intense and my admiration is great for the achievements of the women and men graduating today."

Hazar Imam continued, "Today, this University is increasingly becoming the turning plate of the Aga Khan Health Service (AKHS)."

Referring to the future plans of AKU, Hazar Imam said that the School of Nursing would be expanded. A comprehensive cardiology programme including a new cardiac catheterisation laboratory and the introduction of sophisticated cardiovascular surgery has been established. Plans were also under way for research laboratories.

In the long term programme, development of sports facilities were envisaged. These would be used both for post-operative and rehabilitation purposes, as well as for sports by students.

Earlier, Dr.James W. Bartlett, Dean and Acting Rector of the University, said that for the first time, degrees were conferred on fifteen nursing graduates, which was the first of its kind in Pakistan.

Those graduated were seven nursing teachers, one senior community head nurse, an acting director of nursing services, one clinical nurse specialist and five mid-level managers in a variety of hospital nursing positions.

"The welfare fund of the hospital provides accessibility for the needy patients, and this year 12,000 patients would benefit," Dr. Bartlett said in his address.

He announced the formation of a University Board of Graduate Studies and graduate programmes in the medical and later nursing sciences that would lead to the masters and doctor for philosophy degrees.

Prime Minister hosts lunch for Hazar Imam in Karachi

Following the Convocation Ceremony, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, H.E. Nawaz Sharif met with Mawlana Hazar Imam at the State Guest House where they discussed various matters of mutual interest. This was followed by a lunch hosted by the Prime Minister in Mawlana Hazar Imam's honour.

Islamabad and meeting with the President

On the evening of the Convocation, Hazar Imam left for Islamabad where he was received to a tumultuous welcome at Islamabad airport by the President of Pakistan H.E. Mr. Ghulam Ishaq Khan.

Hazar Imam's motorcade then left for the Aidan e-Sadr where he made a formal call on the President. This was followed by dinner hosted in Hazar Imam's honour by President Ishaq Khan attended by leading dignitaries from the Pakistan Government.

Before departing from Pakistan, Mawlana Hazar Imam had a series of meetings with Government officials, AKF executives and development specialists.

Source: African Ismaili (1991)

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