The last rites of Dr Mohammad Ali Shah will conclude today, bringing an end to the legend who didn’t understand the word ‘impossible’.
Dr Shah leaves behind a legacy of accepting challenges and a lesson to his countrymen about running sports affairs efficiently despite being a renowned orthopaedic surgeon.
Dr Shah, who passed away at the age of 67 after a prolonged battle with cancer, was a sports enthusiast serving almost every game being played in the country until his death.
He was serving as adviser on sports to the Chief Minister of Sindh after he resigned from the post of Sindh Minister of Sports and was well known for his love for cricket, a game which he served from the grass-roots to the top level.
Shah’s feat to bring the World XI team in Karachi last year at a time when even the Pakistan Cricket Board failed to do so has been termed as his biggest achievement.
Many assert that it was an impossible task for the man who was battling cancer and was running constant high-fever.
“One day I made a resolve to bring international cricketers to Pakistan and never let the feeling of failure come into my mind after that,” Shah had said after the successful event in Karachi.
“I believe with hard work, devotion and perseverance, you can achieve anything and Almighty Allah helped me succeed in my endeavours.”
‘Dr Shah was Edhi of cricket’
PCB’s chief selector Iqbal Qasim said Shah possessed a combination of many qualities.
“The services of Dr Shah for the people of Pakistan are countless,” commented the former Test cricketer while showering praise on the deceased. His services for cricket will be recorded in history books.”
Qasim also recalled Dr Shah’s initiative to organise a coaching clinic for youngsters a couple of decades ago amid fragile law-and-order situation in Karachi.
“No one dared to hold such a camp in the early 1990s in that situation but Dr Shah was brave enough. Because of him, hundreds of youngsters benefitted from the cricket camp for free.”
Qasim agreed the initiative to bring World XI was a huge achievement.
“Whenever international cricket will revive in Pakistan, the late doctor will deserve the main credit for it because of his initiative. He was the [Abdul Sattar] Edhi of cricket and his demise is a huge loss for the game in particular.”
Stadium should be named after Shah: Jahangir
Squash legend Jahangir Khan – who was once a patient of Dr Shah in his playing days – said it will be impossible to fill the vacuum.
“His services for sports are unprecedented,” said Khan. “Dr Shah had the quality of bringing people from different thoughts together. He was a leader of sports and worked hard for its betterment. I will request authorities to name a ground after him in acknowledgement of his services.”
‘A brave man gone’
Meanwhile, legendary hockey Olympian Islahuddin Siddiqui, a close aide of the late Dr Shah, termed him a brave man.
“Shah was fighting a deadly disease but he never let on about his pain,” said Siddiqui. “We cannot find an example of a man working tirelessly for the huge task of organising World XI matches in such a condition. He also wanted to bring World XI of hockey and now we will try to make his dream possible and will name the series after him. Dr Shah’s demise is a huge loss and he will be missed sorely.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 7th, 2013.