Behind the Curtains with Dr. M. Zahid - An Interview with HOD Pharmacology

Behind the Curtains

With Dr. Zahid

By: Taroob Latef & Moeed Ahmed

The HOD dedicated to teaching his students himself

Gold Medalist in Pharmacology Professor and a die-hard fan of poetry Dr. Zahid has profound love for his mother, admires the ex VC of KEMU Prof. Mumtaz and 
is very fond of having company around him.

Started career in Mayo Hospital as a Medical Officer. Did M. Phil From KE in 1996.

When we first pursued him for an interview his adamant reply then and many times after that was “why do you want my interview? Im an ordinary man.” That being said Dr. Zahid is an extremely down-to-earth person, very sensitive about manners and etiquettes and repeatedly during our three hour log session we realized that he is extremely friendly and jolly.

When did you join KE?
1993 (as a demonstrator)

When were you promoted to the post of HOD?

Which Medical College did you graduate from?
Nishtar Medical College Multan

How has been your experience in KE so far?
It has been good and still going well. Kemcolians are the best students.

I didn’t want to become a doctor in class 9. 
I was very good at Maths, Physics & Chemistry.
I was too fond of writing. My teacher used to 
call me ‘’Theory ka Badshah”.

How did you decide to become a doctor?
I chose non-medical subjects in Matric. The driving force behind me in becoming a doctor was one of my teachers Rao Sahb. On his insistence, I changed my subjects and adopted the medical path.

Did you ever wish to be rated among the top poets?
Although I was fond of poetry but I never came too close to it or wished for any kind of fame. I never learned how to say poetry. I’ve always been a backbencher and I feel comfortable being at the back.

Why is Pharma Dept. so strict with regard to attendance?
I don’t think anyone is as lenient as we are. I’ve never said anything to students for any mischief. When someone marks a proxy, I just scold him slightly and take a written assurane of not doing it again. I never compare students to myself or doctors.

Did you ever mark a proxy or get our proxy marked when you were a student?
He laughed and replied, ‘’Han. Students sab aik jaise hotay hain.”

Favourite Sport?
Table Tennis & Football. I used to play table tennis even while fasting and while playing football, I would not give a pass and run alone towards the goal.

Professional life is very tough and demanding. How do you think has it affected our morals and behaviors.

Whenever one of my students came to me with a family member asking me as a personal favour to check on them in the ward, I would without thinking say,  “Ofcourse, fikr ki koi baat he nai hai, ainda beshak ye meray pas direct ajayen”. Because a couple of words can mean the world to the other person and you have nothing to lose saying them. “Kisi ka dil barh jata hai tu itna he bohat hai”. That’s what I think is lacking in a lot of people today. 

How  was your experience with your clinic?

I have checked patients for 16 years free of cost. “Lakhon mareez”! When I used to enter  the dispensary, I never discriminated between patients. After I left that place, I learned so much, how even sons would forget their mothers in the face of financial crisis and maybe because of that I may have given more time than any doctor to my patients and yet charged very few of them.

I opened my own clinic, but it was nature
that there were more free patients then patients
 who paid for their check up. And I let it be.

Why did you leave the clinical side?
When my hypertension became difficult to control, I left the clinical side because I knew “mein insaaf nai kar sakun ge anpni job k sath”. I knew people working in Mayo and having clinic of their own and I think it’s impossible to do justice to both areas. That’s when I decisively left all clinical pursuance.

How has Pharma treated you?
Pharmacology was like this for me and he snapped his fingers. I got a gold medal in Pharmacology.

How would you compare the previous third year to the current third year?

He laughed surprised at the question and said, ‘’Students are students, all are the same. One thing I would say, that the way we respected our teachers, the students of today don’t. Shararten ache lagti hain but there is certain decorum of a class.”

Academically, the current third year has
disappointed me, a little. But I hope
 it will be better in prof.

During a Prof Viva, at what point do you fail a student?
There is no comparison between students of private colleges and kemu. They are bent on passing and we are bent on being fair. I circulate on all the topics when I conduct my viva.  We calculate the yearly internal assessment out of thirty and we consider it for anybody on the dangerous line of failing. (We got a very detailed description of what exactly happens was off the record =P)

Fail wohe hota hai jo khud chah raha
hota hai k mujay fail karen.
We are fond of passing.

What do you think of the students of today?
We used to be so much in awe of our teachers that we used to scurry past their offices in fear. The one and only time we stepped in was during Prof Vivas. If a professor is standing in the class, it means pin drop silence. Its not something that you need to be told. Now the student teacher interaction has increased too much.
Students darwaza kholtey hain, ander ajaty hain, ghalat bhe kah rai hotay hain tu datay rehtay hain, sir bus 2 number barha den, 2 number.

Students bethay hotay hain, I pass wo bethay bethay side pe hojayen ge, but won’t stand up.
Couples bethay hunge, regardless of the fact k peechay mera office hai ya upar vc ka.

I have always prayed
 “insaan ko insaan samjhun, aur Allah
 mujay denay wala hath bnaye”.

What do you think is more important, viva or written?

Did you find Pharma difficult as a sudent?
Pharmacology is a very difficult subject, no doubt abotut that. Back in my time, hmaray 50 ajatay thay tu ham chalaangen lagatay thay. The way of examination has changed with mcqs etc which is why we are sticter than usual in our checking.

Hmaray zamany me tu hota tha:
Kulun zaiqa tun supply. Itni zyada supplies ati thein.

Do you listen to songs?
Yes. Rather I used to. Raat ko sotay huay Lata Mangeshkar ko sunta hota tha. However, I listen to songs in very low volume.

Tell us about your family?
I have 3 kids.

I don’t keep “purani baaten” in my memory. No grudges held.

Why didn’t you pursue shaiyri?
Shairi karni hai tu Allama Iqbal ki tarah karen  jo mulk or qaum k liye ho.

“Meri qaum ko kya milta hai shayiri se”.

Why did you never go abroad?
I got offered from Iran and Saudi Arabia. I didn’t go because my mom just said, ‘’Mein peechay se akeli reh jaun ge.’’ And it is perhaps because of her duas that even though I’m the junior most person in this department, I’m at this seat.

What are your hobbies?

Which dish cooked by your wife do you like the most?
Prof. Zahid laughed very shyly, taken aback by our question and said "Im not very picky, jo bhe banati hai mujay pasand ata hai". 

Favourite Sports?
Table Tennis. I was a star player myself. Now I don’t play much, plus my hypertension limits me.

My mom’s illness had kept me worried for the most part of my life.
She used to get up in the night and I used to worry that
she might fall down. So I would sleep at the foot of her bed
 so that her feet would wake me up when she got up.

Disadvantages of being an HOD?
You have to bear the brunt of the attack every time. And its an enormous responsibility.

I try that whatever I teach, I make it logical and
easy to understand. I see the students whose eyes
move as I move along the board and I know
whose listening to me and whose not.

The best VC among the previous VCs?
Professor Mumtaz, amazing man and amazing memory. I had a cervical fracture once, and I was in pain and suffering from vertigo. He met me 6 years later again, and he said: “Zahid, how’s your neck?”

Message for students?


  1. best HOD,,,Great teacher!!!

  2. Ooo :-D i want to know wht happens off the record in vivaz :-p bht alaa interview!!! :-D


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