DSF founding member Asif Hameedi passes on

Hameedi1DSF founding member, cardiologist Dr Asif Ali Hameedi passed away recently, aged 85 (see his remembrances of DSF and Dr Sarwar at: ‘In good spirits’ – from Dr. Asif Ali Hameedi, Chigaco) 

His first posting as a doctor after graduating from Dow Medical College was in Tharparkar. (Updated info: see his son’s detailed note below)

Dr Hameedi had been living in the US for many years, most recently in Grand Rapids, MI. He had diagnosed with throat cancer and had complications with diabetes. His wife passed away three years ago. They are survived by their three children, Samia Hameedi-Brown, Ashraf Hameedi and Jamal Hameedi.

Informed by the family, old friends like Dr Yousuf Ali in London and Eric Rahim in Glasgow informed other friends. 

‘Very sorry to hear the sad news. I recall him as a serious scholar of Marxism (some called him “our Liu Shao-chi”) and a committed DSF activist, who shunned the limelight,’ recalled S. M. Naseem. 

‘It is indeed sad news. Asif Hameedi was one of the founders of DSF. There are now so few of us left to mourn the death of our dear comrade. We often talk about him when we take a stock of the DSF  members and feel depressed at the ever shrinking number. May he be blessed and rest in peace,’ wrote Zain Alavi.

ALSO SEE: Ex-student leader

Asif Ali Hameedi, M.D., renowned cardiologist and co-founder of the Democratic Students Federation (DSF), passed away at his home in Grand Rapids, Michigan, last week. He was 85. Deeply influenced by the teachings of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and a strong proponent of Western education Hameedi parted from tradition to become the first in his family to pursue the study of the natural sciences and, subsequently, a career in medicine.

In 1948, he left India to enrol at Dow Medical College, in Karachi. Whilst there, in 1950, he became a founding member of the DSF, a left-leaning organisation whose initial aims were to address the students problems. In later years it became one of the most influential student-led movements in Pakistan`s history, successfully challenging government policy on a wide range of topics.

But his desire to pursue post-graduate studies in Britain and in 1961, his marriage to Masuda Hameedi (nee Ahmed), thedaughter of a wealthy and politically influential Pakistani industrialist, led many to question his commitment to left-wing, and led to a parting of ways.

He enrolled at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and later went on to join the University of Edinburgh, where he was admitted in 1958 as a Member of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons.

He returned to Pakistan as a Resident Medical Officer at the Jinnah Central Hospital in Karachi and in 1961, was appointed Associate Physician and Assistant Professor of Medicine at DMC. Sometime later he returned to Britain to pursue a fellowship in cardiology at the National Heart Hospital in London and the Regional Cardiovascular Centre in Sheffield. He would be admitted as a Fellow to the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1970, and returned to Pakistan in 1962 to assume the post of Associate Physician and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Jinnah Post-Graduate Medical Centre in Karachi, where he would remain until 1972.

In the intervening years, Asif would become one of Pakistan`s leading heart specialists and a senior physician to the country`s National Assembly. But political persecution led him to self-exile, first to Libya and later to the US. In America, he settled in Belleville, Illinois, where he practised internal medicine for 25 years as a sole practitioner. He is survived by his three children, Samia Brown (nee Hameedi), Ashraf Hameedi and Jamal Hameedi.

— Ashraf Hameedi, London

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