Dr Ghulam Hussain, one man can bring change for people | By Shahnoor Waqas Malik

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Dr Ghulam Hussain, one man can bring change for people

FROM a humble origin in the village of Jammarghal (Jhelum) to representing Pakistan on the international stage, Dr Ghulam Hussain is living proof that with sheer will-power and through the pursuit of knowledge, the sky is the limit.

With his father working as a policeman and his mother a housewife, Dr Ghulam Hussain was born on June 26, 1936 into a family with 3 sons and 2 daughters.

Despite the ‘jagidar’ system of his village where people sat on the floor while landlords sat on a charpai – his mother instilled in him the power of equality/respect irrespective of wealth and status.

She gave him the confidence that he can change the system as she told the landlords that one day my son will sit where you sit – showing the genes of democratic values which Dr Ghulam Hussain carries till today.

During his early schooling, he would walk 3-4 miles from his home every day to attend his classes.

With the absence of any man-made roads built at the time and there being a major lack of educational institutions, this was his only opportunity to avail education – in which he persisted towards.

By 1963, Dr Ghulam Hussain, now the first certified doctor within his locality, started his medical practice in Mandi Bahauddin.

He set up his own clinic where he would treat people and never bat an eye at the time or pay attention to his hunger, seeking to help as many as he could.

After almost a decade of being a general practitioner and being involved in the organisation of the ‘Kayssan Council’ of his area, many people began to follow him and to trust him.

With the support of his followers and being known for Jhelum – he caught the eye of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in the 1970s, who was looking to capitalise and introduce PPP into Punjab.

During the conversation between ZAB and Dr Ghulam Hussain, he first refused to involve himself into politics as he had little experience in such a field and was earning modestly through his medical practice.

However, ZAB managed to convince him that he was the only right man to represent his region and that he knew he could trust the young doctor.

As a result, Dr Ghulam Hussain agreed and joined ZAB as a co-founder of the PPP as well as a major ally.

Given a ticket to contest as a candidate, Dr Ghulam Hussain won the election and became an MNA.

After securing his seat, the good Doctor never forgot about his origins. He began the development of roads linking his village with others nearby – launched more than 100+ schools (primary + high school + colleges) and universities to provide educational opportunities for the people – built medical centres and hospitals which helped deter people from travelling far and away for treatment when they now have the ease and convenience of having their own facilities.

As of today, literacy rate of Jhelum is amongst the highest in Pakistan with an overall rate of 64% – female literacy rate being 50.5% as compared to male literacy rate of 77.7%.

Population growth rate in Jhelum is one of the lowest in Pakistan at 1.51%. Poverty rates have also massively reduced thanks to Dr Ghulam Hussain’s contribution.

From an MNA, he was appointed General Secretary of the PPP and also Federal Minister for Railways of Pakistan.

Unfortunately, the 1980s were a dark chapter for democracy in Pakistan.With the crackdown on ZAB, major PPP leaders were arrested including Dr Ghulam Hussain. Outside his jail would wait his wife and their 5 children.

But no matter where he was, he always earned the respect of the people and helped in any capacity – from treating other prisoners medically and having good relations with the wardens.

Despite his good spirits, he would be transferred from jail to jail to prolong his illegal trial yet he remained resilient.

The infamous PIA Flight 326 hijacking by the militant group Al-Zulfiqar, led by Murtaza Bhutto, demanded the release of all political prisoners in Pakistan.

Due to high tensions and risk, the government agreed to release those captive.However, Dr Ghulam Hussain, finally with a chance to reunite with his family, refused to leave captivity.

He believed the hijacking was wrong and undemocratic with him having no part of or in it – the government still forcibly released him.

Dr Ghulam Hussain

Now as an ex-political prisoner, the world saw his release through means of aggression and terrorism.

Pleading his case along with countless others as being unfairly politically victimised, he approached the United Nations.

After explaining the true circumstances and having no connection to the hijacking, he sought political asylum for his family.

As a believer in true democracy and socialism, he opted for asylum in the UK as he could speak in English and it would be a convenient change for his family too – the UK rejected his application.

As a blessing in disguise, he and his family were offered political asylum in Stockholm, Sweden.

Not having a massive role in the political world, Sweden was unknown to most Pakistani’s but was accepted by Dr Ghulam Hussain who sought a different change for his family.

While his dream for his family was to live in a society of peace and equality, it came true but not in his home nation.

After shifting to the cold weather and adapting to a new language, Dr Ghulam Hussain is responsible for countless lives having a new opportunity to live and grow albeit with the status of political asylum.

To this day, Dr Ghulam Hussain has not given up his Pakistani passport nor has he given up to see his nation prosper.

From the son of two villagers, Dr Ghulam Hussain has and still continues to change lives from all over the world.

His life story is definitive proof – with good intentions and a relentless will to help others, one man can bring change for the people.

—The writer is Lawyer, Businessman.

 

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