Abdul Hameed Buland was just a teenager coping with secondary school studies and perhaps unaware of the situation that one day he would selflessly be serving the needy, sick and poor people of Mandi Bahauddin city. It was, perhaps, the time when an elder in his village, Lala Bashir and his companions, over a routine cup of tea on a pleasant evening, thought of serving the impoverished people of the area.
Gradually but surely, this unique group of friends organized itself and laid the foundation of an institute named “IDARA-E- BAHMI ISHTIRAQI TAAWUN”. They expanded their working and start helping student in the form of fee payment, books, uniforms etc. Later on, they added medical treatment facilities for deserving patients. In 1969, the IDARA was renamed as Shehri Ijtimai Taraqqiati Council (SHATAC). In 1969, the Council decided to start its own healthcare centre enabling SHATAC to extend treatment facilities to relatively large number of people. SHATAC now operates as non-governmental and not-for-profit organization without any sectarian and political affiliations.
Hameed Buland was not one of the founder members of SHATAC, being very young when the council came into existence. Born in 1950, Abdul Hameed Buland passed his secondary school examination from Mandi Bahauddin High School and did his diploma in Perfumes (F.E.AT) from South East College London. He, perhaps, was nursing a ‘social worker’ inside him since adolescence.
He joined the council in 1989 and since then he dedicated his whole life to social work. As president, he selflessly dedicated himself to the work of council. Under his patronage, SHATAC first established a free dispensary where everyone is entitled to free medical checkup and medicines. He went on to establish SHATAC Ambulance Service. Later, he established a vocational centre for technical education. Abdul Hameed Buland contributed a lot for the victims of 2005 earthquake. He also established a special cell for the victims of devastating flood that played havoc across Pakistan in 2010.
He went on to establish Muhammad Buland Trust for which he purchased 52 Kanal of land from his own resources. The idea of such a Trust got its roots from the desire for establishing a quality institution where education would be imparted to the youth of his village without textbook. Abdul Hameed Buland also helps unemployed youngsters with jobs and establishing their own small businesses.
He also started a clinical laboratory and gave the concept of Medical Welfare Shop. For the women of Mandi Bahauddin, he established a maternity home. His dreams came true the day he laid the foundation of SHATAC mega project of 100-bed hospital with approximate cost of Rs. 400 million. So far Rs. 30 million have been spent on this project. Thirty two thousand people have so far benefitted from the Council network. The total budget of the SHATAC for 2011-12 is Rs. 69 million. Abdul Hameed Buland introduced a unique system of resource generation to run the organization. Funding for SHATAC comes mainly from charity, alms, public donations, grants, membership fee and other services. For deserving patients, treatment is 100 per cent free while general public pay a very nominal fee which comes under the income from services. SHATAC is working on three fronts i.e. health, poverty alleviation and education. SHATAC follow democratic system to run the affairs of the organization. Election is conducted after every two years. Various sub-committees have been made responsible to run the business of their respective departments. Needless to say, Abdul Hameed Buland gave new life to the project. Today, SHATAC is fulfilling the health requirement of not only the people of Mandi Bahauddin district but is also open to the people from all over Pakistan without any discrimination.
The Council’s current annual budget of more than Rs. 68 million shows that nothing is impossible if one has strong belief in Allah, a desire to do something for humanity and a resolve to achieve this goal. People like Abdul Hameed Buland, countless in this land of the pure, are our true heroes who bring sense and sensibility to life.
Award: Gold Medal by Pakistan Social Association Bahawalpur: 1994