ISLAMABAD: Dr Arjumand Hashmi, the American cardiologist who has recommended cardiac treatment of former president General (retired) Pervez Musharraf abroad, had received Sitara-i-Imtiaz from the latter in 2005.
Mr Musharraf has been under treatment at the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC) since January 2 when he suffered a cardiac unrest while on his was to a special court.
The special court had been constituted to try the former army chief in a ‘high treason’ case.
On Jan 9, 2014, Dr Hashmi, who is the director of Interventional Cardiology, Paris Regional Medical Center, Texas, had recommended that Musharraf “be transferred at the earliest to our medical facility to be provided further diagnostic and therapeutic treatment.”
The said letter was later produced by advocate Anwar Mansoor Khan, a counsel of Mr Musharraf, before the special court which was hearing the high treason case.
Subsequently, the court constituted a medical board comprising AFIC doctors to assess the condition of the former military ruler and submit a report by January 24.
In the letter, Dr Hashmi also stated: “President Pervez Musharraf has been under my care and supervision since 2006.”
According to a notification dated November 14, 2005, Dr Hashmi was conferred with the Sitara-i-Imtiaz for excellence in the field of medicine.
It may be mentioned that Sitara-i-Imtiaz is the third highest honour and civilian award in Pakistan.
It recognises individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of Pakistan, world peace, cultural or other significant public endeavours.
Therefore, the award is highly restricted and prestigious, and is only given to those who have done great service to the country. The cabinet division, after receiving nominations from different circles including the government and private sectors, recommends the names for this award.
Sources in the cabinet division on the other hand said there were no details of extraordinary services rendered by Dr Hashmi for which his name had been approved for the prestigious award.
When contacted, Ahmed Raza Kasuri, a senior counsel of Gen Musharraf, told Dawn that the award had nothing to do with the recommendations of Dr Hashmi and his relationship with the former president.
“For this award, a committee of the cabinet division approves the names of eminent professionals who have rendered distinguished services or achieved excellence in any field related to the national interest,” he said.
He added that Dr Hashmi was a well known cardiologist and deserved Sitara-i-Imtiaz for his services as he had built a positive image of Pakistan in the US.
However, sources in the prosecution team of the ‘high treason’ case spoke otherwise.
They claimed that Dr Hashmi was a close friend of Gen Musharraf and therefore the latter had conferred the prestigious award upon the cardiologist.
The cardiologist is trying to rescue his friend by recommending treatment in the US, they added.
Dr Hashmi is also said to have examined former president and co-chairperson of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Asif Ali Zardari in 2011 when the latter was admitted in a hospital in Dubai.
Sardar Latif Khan Khosa, PPP’s secretary general when contacted, admitted that American doctors were consulted for Mr Zardari’s treatment, but said that he did not recollect whether or not Dr Hashmi was part of the panel of doctors.
Dr Hashmi, despite repeated attempts, could not be contacted for his comments.