On the eve of independence (14th August 1947) the total number of ophthalmologists left in the country perhaps could be counted on the fingers of two hands. There were a few in Karachi, some in Lahore, one each at Shikarpur, Quetta, Daska, Taxila etc., Karachi: Dr. A. D. Minhas, Dr. Mahmood Ali, Dr. Ankal Saria, Lahore: Dr. Ramzan Ali Syed, Dr. M. Bashir, Peshawar: Dr. Qazi A. Jabbar, Quetta: Dr. Henry Holland, Taxila: Dr. N. E. Christi. Besides a few in the armed forces. At the time of partition of India, vast majority of the doctors were Hindus, Sikhs and few Christians. Almost all of them left for India or other countries, so the young Pakistan was left with a whopping gap of these professionals. Consequently there was no Ophthalmic Society what so ever, although all India Ophthalmic Society existed since 1942.
In the hearts of our hearts, we did wish to have our own eye society. But these ideas mothballed in our hearts or in the office files of our nascent country. Then to our good luck, a person like Dr. Raja Mumtaz, a smart young man arrived on the scene. His do something attitude could not rest for long. His unalloyed dedication and hard work did bear fruit for OSP.
The formation of OSP took a strange course Dr. William John Holmes of Honolulu, Hawai, President of APAO wrote the following letter to Dr. Raja Mumtaz on 10th July 1957. This letter acted as a catalyst for our dreams to come true.
Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology, Suite 280 - Alexander Young Building
Honolulu 13, Hawaii, July 10, 1957
In order to realize these objectives, I propose that following the International Congress of Ophthalmology in Brussels in 1958, a group of ophthalmologists from the West visit various countries in Asia including Pakistan and hold joint meetings with part or all of your members. Conceivably the visitors could present the same papers in Pakistan that they will read at the International Congress. Your members in turn might want to reciprocate by holding wet or dry clinics or conferences on subjects of local significance.
To date my plans already created a considerable interest among prominent United States Ophthalmologists. With your interest and encouragement the Post-International Congress meeting held in Pakistan in 1958 might become one of the outstanding ophthalmologic conferences of the year.
Kindly let me know that you and other local ophthalmologists think about our planned visit.
William John Holmes, M. D.
Dr. Raja Mumtaz then wrote letters to all the ophthalmologists to his knowledge in both the wings of the country (East Pakistan and West Pakistan). There was an encouraging response as every body was enthusiastic for the formation of Ophthalmological Society of Pakistan.
70, Nedous Hotel, Lahore.
Without your encouragement and valuable suggestions, it will not be possible for me to take any practical step. I hope you will be kind enough to attend the meeting punctually.
On 19th of December 1957 (a date to remember) the long awaited dream of forming of our own society came true, and thus the OSP was born.
The inaugural meeting was attended by thirty two (32) doctors from all over the country. The proceedings were started with the recitation from Holy Quran by Dr. Abdul Rahman Khalid at 02-15 pm in Lecture Theatre No. 2 Patiala Block, King Edward Medical College, Lahore. Aims and objects of the society were discussed and explained by the convenor, Dr. Raja Mumtaz. He then thanked the audience for their cooperation and help. The list of the 32 doctors who attended the inaugural meeting and became the founding members is as follows:
|1. Prof. M. Bashir||2. Dr. Abdul Aziz (Sialkot)|
|3. Dr. Naseer Baksh (Khanewal)||4. Dr. M. S. Faridi|
|5. Dr. Rashida Begum||6. Dr. Hameedullah|
|7. Dr. J. A. Shore||8. Dr. Nadeem Minhas|
|9. Dr. A. Majeed||10.Dr. Mohammed Ishaque|
|11. Dr. Mohammed Yaqin||12. Prof. Ramzan Ali Syed|
|13. Dr. Munawar Hayat||14. Dr. Akhtar Ali|
|15. Dr. Kh. Sadiq Hussain||16. Dr. Abdul Rehman Khalid|
|17. Dr. Ikram ullah Malik||18. Dr. Bashart Chaudhry|
|19. Dr. B. I. Peerzada||20. Dr. Asghar Ali Syed|
|21. Dr. Riaz Ahmad||22. Prof. M. H. Alvi (Multan)|
|23. Dr. S. M. Sadik (Daska)||24. Dr.Imdad Ali (Rahim Yar Khan)|
|25. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Cheema (Daska)||26. Dr. S. A. Hamdani|
|27. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Cheema (Daska)||28. Dr. Abdul Khalique (Bahawalpur)|
|29. Dr. Riaz Ali Syed||30. Dr. Abdul Qayuum Malik|
|31. Dr. Nisar Ahmed||32. Dr. Raja Mumtaz|
This was followed by proposals for the office bearers. Dr. Munawar Hayat proposed the name of Lt. Gen. W. A. Burki for the post of President. Prof. R. A. Syed sconded it. While Prof. M. H. Alvi proposed the name of Prof. M. Bashir as President. Dr. Hameedullah seconded it. Prof. Bashir suggested that the meeting be postponed and an executive committee should be formed to work out the details for the formation of the society. He also pointed out that since Lt. Gen. Burki was absent his name could not be proposed in absentia and more over he was not a medical college teacher. At this point the convenor informed the house in the presence of Dr. Imdad Ali, Medical Superintendent Rahimyar Khan, that a telephonic message from Lt. Gen. Burki was received expressing his inability to attend the meeting due to a very high powered meeting taking place at Rawalpindi. He also conveyed that the decisions taken would be binding on him.
A heated discussion started, and to avoid the unpleasantness the convener put the matter to vote by show of hands. Twenty four voted in favour of holding the election the same day with the plea that such a representive gathering from far flung areas may not be possible again. Seven abstained, but none voted for the suggestion of Prof. Bashir that the meeting should be postponed. At this point Prof. Bashir with drew his name in favour of Lt. Gen. Burki. The convenor asked the house again whether Lt. Gen. Burki should be considered elected unaminously, the house replied in affirmative. Rest of the decisions were all unanimous.
For the post of Vice President, the name of Prof. Ramzan Ali Syed was proposed by Dr. Khalique and seconded by Dr. S. M. Sadik. Name of Prof. Riffatullah, Principal Dacca Medical College was proposed by Dr. S. A. Hamdani for vice president from East Pakistan. It was seconded by Dr. Mohammad Yaqin. For the post of secretary general the name of Dr. Raja Mumtaz was proposed by Dr. B. I. Pirzada and was seconded by Dr. Akhtar Ali. Dr. Imdad Ali proposed the name of Dr. M. S. Faridi for the post of treasurer, which was seconded by Dr. S. M. Sadik. It was also resolved that an 18 member executive committee should be elected. Prof. R. A. Syed proposed the name of Prof. M. Bashir, but he expressed his inability to serve in that capacity.