The Rising Star


 From the back of the room arose the voice of a young woman. The room was filled with the legends of APPNA. Even Baba Dr. Zaheer Ahmed, founding father of APPNA was there and so was Dr. Iltifat Alavi. There was a heated discussion going on about what APPNA should do. Many seniors had spoken. The room was small but it was full. When all had finished speaking, it was then this youngest member of APPNA spoke up.

I turned to look at her. I knew she had not attended any previous meeting of APPNA for by this time I had become addicted to APPNA and so knew that she was coming here for the first time. Others too in the assembly quickly became silent to hear what this young doctor had to speak about the vision of APPNA.

Quite bold I thought to myself. Here she is on the very first day of APPNA, on the very first meeting that she is attending in APPNA. Her membership if it had been established was just hours old and here she was holding forth her own with the best of them. The ideas she expounded about APPNA were not only delivered with confidence which is a matter of style but it was of substance too. After hearing a few of her sentences, I felt elated for here was APPNA being invigorated by the fresh ideas and what seemed to be boundless energy. She had not introduced herself before she spoke and so no one head even heard her name but all in that room had begun to hear of her vision of her for APPNA. Feeling somewhat conscious of this vacuum in communication, Dr. Iltifat Alavi introduced her to the assembly when she had delivered her piece.

 Later that evening we were all invited to Dr. Ikramullah Khan’s home for a private, for APPNA only gathering. Dr. Ikram Khan , yes you can see him on the back cover of APPNA journals. He was the 7th APPNA President. It was he who had invited us all. It was chilly in the lawns of a palatial dwelling where elaborate arrangements had been made for a sumptuous dinner. It was a glitzy affair. The food was good and so was the assembly. As the evening progressed the desert climate set in and it became increasingly chilly and some of us shivered under the open sky.

 Many curious ones were looking to the sky and pointing out to a small lit and slowly moving object.  Yes it was the Hale-Bopp comet which is perhaps the brightest comet by some criteria of the sky. There was a lack of comfort for by now we were shivering which wanted us to go inside while our curiosity kept us outside to see this natural wonder. Hale Bopp was making the closest approach to earth and so it was a heavenly sight.

 Those who were peering skyward were in grave error. Although the advent of the comets is usually followed by predictions of the doomsday events and apocalyptic phenomenon, for APPNA Hale-Bopp was no such omen I say that those peering skyward should have gone inside and looked at what was happening in the house where shivering refugees of the lawn party had taken cover. People were sitting everywhere. Some were sitting on the floor, some on the staircase. Others just stood. Pakistani Ambassador Khokar was there too and he expected a friendly crowd. But he was in for a surprise for here was this same young woman asking him all the tough questions. Earlier I mentioned that people should have looked inside because while a comet in its cosmic journey is in the process was dying, inside Dr. Ikramullah’s house an APPNA star was being born, Dr. Zeelaf Munir.

 Over the years we have watched her career at APPNA which by no means is over. She began by reviving Dow Medical College and successfully initiated and made functional the verification of credentials program. She served first as secretary of Dow and then its President. By the time she stood for Treasurer’s position, no one wanted to stand against her so complete was her track record. The next year she went on to win the Secretary’s position. Her “presidential material” qualifications were first recognized by Dr. Durdana Gilani the first woman President of APPNA. This was revealed by Dr. Zeelaf Munir during the first fall meeting in Scottsdale Arizona while the tour bus was returning after seeing the scenic rocks.

 Since her very first encounter with APPNA (1997) she has sacrificed a lot for APPNA and today we see another act of selfless devotion to APPNA. Her accomplishments both inside and outside APPNA need not be recounted for by now we should all know them. In the annals of APPNA there has not been another example when someone being a hair breadth’s distance of APPNA’s Presidency has let it go for the greater good of APPNA. What the future holds for APPNA can only be good for such sacrifice will infuse APPNA with a realization that all she wanted was a chance to serve. The example of cohesion amongst APPNA members and leaders will be told and re told at Pakistani American gatherings. APPNA will be held in even higher esteem. One person that has made it possible is the rising star of APPNA. Click for Photo

 M. Shahid Yousuf

Apocalypse =1 a: one of the Jewish and Christian writings of 200 b.c. to a.d. 150 marked by pseudonymity, symbolic imagery, and the expectation of an imminent cosmic cataclysm in which God destroys the ruling powers of evil and raises the righteous to life in a messianic kingdom bcapitalized : revelation 32 a: something viewed as a prophetic revelation b: armageddon3: a great disaster <an environmental apocalypse>

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