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.[TOP]
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.