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Article: History of Nishtar Medical College

This is an account of the history of Nishtar Medical College, originally compiled by me in 2009 for the college's official website. The original also included a list of principals of the college which I have omitted. Some details of architectural planning have also been omitted.

Contrary to the popular belief, Sardar Abdul Rab Nishtar was NOT the founder of Nishtar Medical College. It was all the effort of a worthy soul named Dr Jamal Bhutta that led to the foundation of the college.


The idea of establishing a medical teaching institution in Multan was first forwarded by Dr. M. J. Bhutta in 1945. At that time, there was only one medical college in Punjab, King Edward Medical College in Lahore. The Muslim students’ ratio in KEMC was very low and after the formation of Pakistan on the 14th of August, 1947, the majority of doctors left for India, while few Muslim immigrants were of the profession. This vacuum in the availability of medical doctors necessitated more medical colleges in the newly formed Muslim state.
On this basis, Dr. Mohammed Jamaal Bhutta and Dr. Col. S. M. K. Mallick (Director General Health Services, Punjab) were of the view that Punjab would require a second medical college on priority basis to meet the needs of the province in near future. The Government of Punjab took this situation seriously and authorized the Governor of Punjab, Sardar Abdul Rab Nishtar to make a historical announcement of establishing a modern medical college and hospital in Multan.

Sardar Abdul Rab Nishtar laying the foundation stone of Nishtar Medical College
The question of the location of the college depended entirely on the collection of donations from the region. Col. Mallick first contacted the commissioner of Rawalpindi, who told that the people could not donate a collective total of 1 Million Rupees. Ultimately, the commissioner contacted Mr. Inamullah Khan, the commissioner of Multan Division, who told Col. Mallick that he would arrange the donation. Despite the poverty, the people donated generously and a donation of 1.815 million rupees was collected initially, which raised to 3.3 million rupees later on.
After that announcement, planning of the college and hospital began in which Dr. M. J. Bhutta, Mr. Inamullah Shah (Superintending Engineer, Building Department) and Syed Ismaeil Ali Shah (Executive Engineer) actively participated. Soon, Government of the Punjab Sardar Abdul Rab Nishtar gave the sanction and approved the plan. The credit of such a rapid approval must go to Sardar Abdul Rab Nishtar, Mr. Inamullah and Mr. Allauddin Arshad (Secretory, Medical and Local Government, Government of Punjab). The next step was to have a detailed map for the college building. Mr. Habib J. Somjee (Architect), Mr. Inamullah and Dr. M. J. Bhutta worked day and night in this regard. The idea of domes and Nishtar clock tower was put forward by Dr. M. J. Bhutta and the architectural assistant respectively. Further Islamic touch was given by Mr. Somjee by providing pillars and balconies.
As the construction work started, the Anatomy and Physiology departments were first to be built. In the meanwhile, staff and equipment was also arranged for the first batch. The inauguration ceremony was held on the 9:00 a.m. 1st of October, 1951 by the then commissioner Mr. Inamullah Khan. The ceremony was attended by the staff and students of the first batch.
               The first batch included a total of 52 students, delivered by Dr. Mohammed Hafeez Toosy. The teaching started at the Civil Hospital Multan, while the construction work was going on rapidly at the present site of Nishtar Medical College.
The uniforms for the students of Nishtar included Grey Jinnah caps, white shirts, khaki pants, black shoes and white coats.
               Then came the next year (1952) and Dr. M. J. Bhutta designed the Nishtar flag, Nishtar crest and its motto. The Nishtar Flag has a red stripe added to the Pakistan Flag. The crest has the surgical lancet or “Nishtar” as the centre piece of the crest. This also indicates the name of the college. The crescent and star (the Islamic logo) are shown in the right hand upper corner of the crest. The dome of a mosque with a date palm in the upper left corner symbolizes Multan. The symbolic five rivers are included in the crest to indicate Punjab.
In the second batch, co-education at Nishtar Medical College started and 64 students including 6 female students were admitted. The first batch of M.B.B.S of NMC students appeared in the 1st professional M.B.B.S examination in May 1953. Mr. Abdul Haleem of Nishtar Medical College stood first in the University of Punjab and gained distinction in Anatomy. The third place was also captured by a Nishtar student. This was source of great honor and encouragement to the staff and students of the youngest medical college in the country.
The first function of the college was the celebration of the foundation stone. It was held on the 28th of April, 1952. The construction of the college continued as the first batch progressed from 1st year to the final year.
The teaching in Pathology started at the present site of the department in 1953.Professor Drennan of the Pathology Department of University of Edinburgh provided more than six thousands histopathology slides for teaching of Nishtar students.
For the classes of the Pharmacology the department of physiology was shared till the end of 1954 when the Pharmacology department was shifted to its present place. Dr. Nazeer-ud-Din Ahmad was appointed the first professor of Pharmacology.
The construction of the Nishtar Hospital block started in 1953. The basic idea and its plan was provided by Dr. M. J. Bhutta. He had already collected many ideas during his tour of U.K. by visiting many hospitals there. Mr. Inamullah, Mr. Jamaal-ud-Din and Mr. Murat Khan also participated in the construction. On the 1st of October, 1953 Nishtar Hospital started functioning with 80 beds.
In 1954, Medicine, Surgery, Gynecology, Tuberculosis, Pediatrics, Ophthalmology, ENT, Anesthesia and Radiology departments also started functioning. With the construction of the hospital building, many other buildings including the boy hostels, administration block, kitchen block, college first floor and staff residences were also built.
The first annual final professional M.B.B.S. examination was held in May, 1956. In 1974, the college also opened the Dental Section. Further development continued with the passage of time. And the hospital block was further extended with the construction of more and more wards. Similarly, the squash and tennis courts and the swimming pool were also constructed.
The details of first clinical faculty are as follows:
1. Dr. M.H. Toosy: Anatomy
2. Dr. M. J. Bhutta: Physiology
3. Dr. Mohammad Ibrahim: Physiology & Biochemistry
4. Dr. Nazeer-ud- Din Ahmad: Pharmacology
5. Dr. M. A. Farooqui: Pathology
6. Dr. Abdul Majeed Khan: Pathology
7. Dr. Abdul Aziz: Tuberculosis and chest diseases
8. Dr. Mohammad Alamgir Khan: Medicine
9. Dr. N.A. Sial: Gynecology and obstetrics
10. Dr. A.A. Wyne: Surgery
11. Dr. Abdul Ghani: ENT
12. Dr. Mohammad Akhtar Khan: Medicine
13. Dr. Mohammad Shafi: Ophthalmology
14. Dr. Khurshid Begum: Anaesthesia
15. Dr. Sardar Ahmad: Radiology
16. Dr. Shaukat Raza:  Pediatric Medicine
17. Dr. Maryam Khatoon: Radiotherapy

The Following Departments Were Added Later On:
1. Dr. Ghulam Qadir Malik: Community Medicine
2. Dr. Niaz Ahmad Baluch: 1Forensic Medicine

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