Some Rights

Humans can be right. And wrong. But all of them have rights. Their own rights. As knowledge is advancing and science is eating away edges of religion, humans are acknowledged with human rights, at least in theory. Although they are less implemented. The books stacked high in annexes of High Court and a bench of Supreme Court of the country scream about human right. Yet, no implementation. Just look around and see the injustice on the roads, at hospitals, in police stations, in law chambers. This makes anyone’s any remaining belief on humanity vanish. But some frail humanity still exists in patches, like enlightenment in shadows. A lawyer near my college fights for the poor wrongly accused and implicated in cases that otherwise would take years out of their lives. Another hero of frail humanity distributes food on a daily basis to the ward of special children. The world still has good men, a few good men. The other type outnumber them, at least in Pakistan. One of the basic beliefs that the society fails to accept from the start is the divide in men. Different religions, colors, creeds divide people. I thought that education would clean the hearts but I made two mistakes in believing so. First, the books taught at a professional college would rarely impart knowledge to respect man. In the last five years as a medical student, I never came across a single paragraph or a single line on humanity and human rights or social values in any of the academic books. However, people appearing in foreign exams like USMLE have to go through Medical Ethics and that teaches them somewhat regarding the medical ethics of a doctor towards his patients. But what for those students who are not appearing in a foreign exam? There are many moral responsibilities of a doctor some of which are summarized in that Medical ethics book. And let’s be frank. What if tomorrow, the governing authority declares that there won’t be any questions from the Behavior Sciences. Those twenty something manners and etiquette which now at least students come across shall be forgotten. One of my friends is preparing for such exams and she keeps asking me such questions to which I have no answer. A wife aborted a child without telling the husband. What would be the responsibility of the doctor if the husband blames the doctor for not telling him? Again, I had no answer. I have seen people clash with doctors. Once a man walked into the Gynecology ward with a pistol in his hand. When the guards tried to stop him, he brought more armed me. The reason was a wife whose crime was delivering a daughter instead of a son. Such a husband is a worry for the whole society and not for just the doctor. The crippled Pakistani system of medical education teaches only one medical ethic. Ask the patient for consent and start examining. They never even say to listen to what the patient says. After that thank the patient and move to the next patient. Like those who haven’t read any book on patient ethics would know no more than these two steps. A teacher from Lahore presided over a seminar at my college. That was the only class on medical ethics that I ever attended. I once a hijaabi teacher what if the patient stops me from removing her veil. The teacher silenced me in front of the whole class and I never attended her class again. Patients turnover has increased year after year and until the country becomes a developed one this trend would continue. There will be excellent doctors and students who would diagnose patient properly but would never know about medical ethics. They will forget a basic thing – patient is a human but like all the other humans whose rights we have forgotten, patient’s rights are forgotten too.

Anyone who would read these words would be a human. The one who writes is a human too. Both have rights. Human rights. Every geographic place has a charm because of humans. Otherwise we are left with land and architecture or vast emptiness. Just look at the Taj Mahal. It was never built for the sake of architecture alone. The charm of that piece of art and architecture is because of a human. Otherwise it’s just a building. A beautiful artful building. Another building. A man is likely to develop emotions from his experiences. These emotions become a mirror to our rights. A human acted like an angel through her kindness. I never saw white wings on her shoulder though. She taught about rights and her words reflect in actions I do and the rights I try to keep intact. My experience lives on in my emotions and passes through my actions. For sure, she was an angel. But angels have no rights issues. They are not bound in laws, in wishes and in other desires of mortals. One day the angel fell. I saw her transform into a demon with fiery eyes and a red tail. But even demons don’t have rights issue. It is the human who through his life depict what rights a human has got and what he can do to protect them. Even to break the rights, you got to be a human. Right?
Aamir Bilal

Osama Anwer Pasha

A man can have many friends. But only a few last his life’s span. In the recent days, I have witnessed how this word and this relation is manipulated for monetary gains, personal interest and even mocks and revenge. One can be clear about an enemy but never a friend in today’s time. Friend is someone who can have many faces and it takes time to peel all these faces away to unveil the real face. The big price of pain is involved. Personally, I have not been rich when it comes to making friends. But I am lucky enough to have made very few but real friends. Then I was foolish enough to have lost a few. As life took turns, it had an impact on the list of friends. Facebook wasn’t anything in those days so keeping up with someone demanded quite an honest effort. In fact that is true even today. I don’t use the blue shitty social network where I had about a hundred and ninety friends. One day out of logic and sanity, I pulled the plug and had been happier ever since.

Pasha was my friend. Undoubtedly the most unenthusiastic and lazy student while I was his total opposite. Shockingly we were bench-mates too. It was like a rainbow, I being at one end and he being at the other of the colors. Once in an exam, I scored 97 out of 100 while he scored only 3. The teacher called his father and said I cannot deduct Aamir’s marks to make your son’s score a passing one but it would be better if your son donates his 3 marks to make Aamir score a century. His father was shocked that he was my best friend in school. But school’s days were numbered. And they ended one day.

I remember the night when we left the school, Pasha came to my home and drew a map of his house in Lahore. He was so bad at drawing. With trembling hands he drew a map that looked like being drawn by a kindergarten. It was unsettling to see him cry. But we were friends. So we promised to meet soon. After school we left that city. I moved to Lahore with no mobile phone or Facebook to keep up with people. The years in Lahore had been more cruel and less kind. There remained some moments I still cherish and crave to relive again and again and again only if possible. Some moments I hate so much that I wish I could just uproot them from my life entirely.

I found Pasha’s address. He lived in Model Town. He didn’t know that I had found him. So one night I paid him a visit when he was not expecting me at all. I went with a university friend to his place. Summers were ending and the winds had already become mild. We reached the desired neighborhood. And rang the bell. He came to the door. I remember the joy on his face. His mom was living with him. And he was under house arrest for crashing his uncle’s Corolla somewhere in Johar Town. He could not leave his house on the orders of his mother. But when aunty saw that it is Aamir, that rule was loosened and we went to a place to have dinner. It was a wonderful moment. We had a long talk and returned around midnight. I didn’t know that on that night it was the last time in life I meet him.

In 2007, a traffic accident occurred near Al-Haasa in Saudi Arabia claiming four lives. I read about that news in the paper myself. Later that summer I went to his Model Town place to meet him. To my surprise a guard in that street told me that the family had left the place some months ago. I searched online communities but to no avail. Then I went to the school where his mom used to work as a counselor. But they only had one information that she resigned. One evening at a hospital, I saw a poster about road hazards and traffic violation. In the pictures of people who have lost their lives, there was a picture I can never forget. Pasha was no more. A reality my heart still hesitates to accept. He tried joining a University but couldn’t because of his lack of interest in studies. A young, full of life friend no more. A friend who came to my home and cried like a girl. School’s farewell had a few pictures of Pasha. He was a rash driver and this took his life. One night I saw him in a dream. The next day I drew a picture of him. Then I abandoned the search to find him or his family. But deep inside my heart I still feel if I visit that street in Model Town, I might be able to catch a glimpse of him standing in the balcony.

In loving memory of Osama Anwer Pasha (1988-2007)

(Pasha's Model Town House, taken in 2016)
(Pasha’s Model Town House, taken in 2016)