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How a dream came true? An inspirational story


By Sher Wali Khan Aseer

It was March 1983. I was in Karachi – then a peaceful and friendly city of our beloved country. I and my spouse had the lucky chance to participate in the charter presentation ceremony of the Aga Khan University, Karachi. It was an awe-inspiring function honored by His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims and the late President, Gen: Mohammad Ziaul  Haq. In his address, HH Prince Karim elaborated the aims and objectives of the university. The gist of his address was that the university shall provide quality education in medical field to the meritorious medical students of the country as well as to foreigners the entire world over without discrimination of faith, race and other man-made differences.

Late Ziaul Haq termed the establishment of the university as a minaret of light for the whole regions of South East and West Asia and the Middle East. The whole proceeding of the memorable function was highly inspiring and a desire or wish of parents watching live highly valued educational function is quite natural. And when a person from an area, the most far-flung, partly detached from the rest of the country, financially poor, under privileged like Yarkhoon valley of Chitral, develops a sudden wish to see one of his children in such an international University, headed by the most warm hearted and generous educationist of the world as its Chancellor, then such a wish is considered to be just a ‘dream’. But, everyone has the right to dream irrespective of the fact whether it’s going to come true or not.

That innocent dream remained dormant in some corner of my heart till my daughter Zubaida Sirang passed her intermediate exam with distinction and resolved to study medicine. She was fortunate enough to get into medical college of the AKU. While attending parents, teachers and students briefing session of the University in 2006, I found myself to be the luckiest father whose innocent dream had come true.

But, a fear also remained in my mind whether my little daughter whose basic education had been in institutions of average educational standard of Pakistan would make it till the end. Getting admission in AKU is a hard thing to do but passing its prescribed syllabus within the scheduled time span is the hardest one. There are examples of dropouts and truancy just because of the tough course of studies and strict academic discipline of the AKU. But, Zubaida proved her competency and passed the required course in first division. When  Allah Paak blessed me and my spouse to attend the AKU Convocation 2011 and watched our daughter, little Dr. Sirang, honouring with the Degree of MBBS, I could not keep back my tears of thankfulness to my Allah, the Almighty, for fulfilling my wish and making the dream of 1983 come true. This blessing of God has further strengthened my faith that when a dream is pursued with sincere cause, dedication and strong belief in the blessings of God, it comes true according to the desire of the ‘dreamer’.  Recently Almighty Alllah gave us another chance to participate in the AKU Graduation Ceremony of December 2012 in which Dr.Sirang received her Certificate of Postgraduate Medical Education from this prestigious medical institution.

I still find no words to thank my Beneficent and Merciful Allah except tears which flow and shall continue to flow till the last breath. My second wish is that my children may serve the under-privileged segment of the human societies and I pray for their long life and devoted services to the mankind irrespective of faith, race or color. Aameen.


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  1. Nisar Ahmad Shah, Garam Chashma says

    One day a dignified person entered our classroom (9th class). Not being mentally prepared, we were nervous. But he politely asked to translate a sentence into English. I raised my hand, and was honored with appreciation. Only a student can understand what it means to him or her when a teacher says ‘Shabaash beta’ in a class. Fourteen years past since then, I feel great pride to recall it even today. Margaret Cousins once said “Appreciation can make a day – even change a life”. The respected person who asked the question and appreciated me was not other than Sher Wali Khan Aseer. The sentence which made me ‘popular’ in my class and my teacher (Khuda Panah) proud was as difficult as ‘I shall go with you’!
    @: How a dream came true? An inspirational story
    You made my day, sir. It is simply a brilliant piece. I just knew you as a respected teacher and a renowned educationist, but you were a dreamer too. The story reflecting parents love for their children. This also highlights the importance of parents dream for the betterment of their children. Sir, you reminded us, how parents feel on their children’s success. In spite of the fact, hailing from the remotest, poorest and far-flung valley, you, dreamt to educate your children in one of the finest medical colleges of the country. Even more important is that you not only dreamt, but accomplished, shared and inspired. Sir, thank you very much. And congratulation to you and your family!
    Martin Luther King Jr. dreamt in 1963: “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood………I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”.
    Jesse Jackson – an African American civil right activist – hypnotized thousands of peoples by his eloquent speech in 1988: “Don’t submerge your dreams. Exercise above all else, even on drugs, dream of the day you are drug free. Even in the gutter, dream of the day that you will be up on your feet again! You must never stop dreaming. Face reality, yes, but don’t stop with the way things are. Dream of things as they ought to be. Dream. Face pain. But love, hope, faith and dreams will help you rise above the pain”.
    Having read and watched of the great dreamers, I can understand your feelings, sir. I can even visualize your tears of joy rolling down on your face and your gratitude to Almighty Allah. Obama won presidential elections first time in 2008. Negroes were being shown on TV, with tears in their eyes. Jesse Jackson was mainly on focus with tears rolling down on his cheek. My mother became confused to see them crying instead of celebration, and asked me. I could only reply with full of emotions; ooh mom, those are tears of joy and gratitude, and their dreams have come true today!
    Really pleased to know that you are running a school. The students, the people and the soil must be proud of you. May all your dreams come true! We pray for your good health and long life.
    Best Regards,
    Nisar Ahmad Shah
    Garam Chashma
    Jan 14, 2013.

    1. SWK Aseer says

      Thank you beta for your highly eulogized comment. I’m glad that you still remember the short interaction with this teacher.
      This reminds me of my own very honorable teacher, Mr. Hazrat Ullah Jan ( May he live long). I was in 6th grade and was good in the mathematics subject. One day my teacher was very impressed and said to the whole class ‘ I want to promote this little kid to the 7th grade because you guys don’t deserve to be his classmates’. This sentence was such a huge appreciation and it brought such a big change in my life that I cant explain in words.
      I pray that all my students get blessed with the biggest achievements and all their dreams may come true. Aameen

  2. Zulfiqar Ahmad, Islamabad says

    This is indeed a thought-provoking piece and only those who tread their paths without shoes could realize the value of such an endeavour. Mr Aseer – a man who needs no introduction – has seen the life trembling and crying in the cold valley without anything to give them some relief for a while. Perhaps, this was the reason he opted to spread light in the valley through the light of education.
    He could have chosen a luxurious lifestyle in a city like Islamabad or Karachi but he went back to the rugged mountains after his retirement. He felt the pain of his poverty-stricken people who still live in sheer hopelessness and spent all his life savings for building a school.
    Education is the only medicine which has the power to cure the ills of poverty, ignorance and helplessness. The efforts being made by Mr Aseer will go a long way in building a vibrant society in the much deprived valley. He is a beacon of hope for people of his area and a source of inspiration for those who want to join the mainstream in building a healthy society.
    Mr Aseer soaked his eyes while narrating the story of his children, who despite being taught at some low middle class educational institutions brought laurels to the whole area, along with his proud parents. This reflects that sheer determination can conquer the tall mountains like Himalayas what to talk of a medical school.
    His message to the youngsters is not to give up and the day is not far when you will emerge victorious. To strengthen the endeavour of young generation, Mr Aseer is the perfect example. The crux of his sojourn was the day when he, along with his spouse attended the convocation of his brilliant daughter.
    The tears, which rolled down through his cheeks, were of joy as what he dreamt long, long ago, finally tuned into a reality. What else a parent can dream of in his life except seeing his children achieving the desired goal with limited resources.
    It is not something new for a man of Mr Aseer’s stature as he learnt the ropes the hard way. His services in the education sector in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, particularly in the remotest valley of Chitral, will be long remembered.
    Believe me sir, the flow of my pen is not going to stop but hats off to you sir and you deserve more than this for the services you rendered to downtrodden humanity. We are so proud of you sir, may God bless you to see more springs in your life.

    1. SWK Aseer says

      Much much thanks for appreciating my services, over and above the standard which I think I couldn’t meet. However, your comments are valued.

  3. Kudoos Khan Yarkhunic says

    I am immensely happy to see your heart-touching write-up and also happy to know that your dreams have come true. But unfortunately you didn’t mention the great uncrowned king in whose university your daughter got such a magnificent achievement. Besides, you had close attachment with AKDN institutions in Chitral and also religious attachment. It makes me really feel bad when you missed out his name. You should also be thankful to that great personality – I mean the Aga Khan IV. Don’t mind to remind you because people forget many things after getting such a splendid achievement due to their generosity.

    1. SWK Aseer says

      My dear! He needs no thanks publicly but practical submissions to his farmaans through actions which he favours most. Thanks for comments.

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