Dr Hasan Sohaib Murad’s sudden and unexpected passing away in a tragic car crash has left thousands, including me, at a loss for words. Thousands who had known him professionally and personally; thousands who he had instructed; thousands of others who have grown into who they are today under his guidance and patronage, and thousands who merely remember him for once speaking a few words of kindness in an angelic demeanour.
Dr Hasan’s numerous professional achievements are well known across all sections of society in Pakistan and far too many for me to list down or understand the importance of. But those who understand them know that Pakistan has lost a special someone. He was a man who wore many hats, but never could you for once doubt him on not doing justice to any of his roles. Never.
He was an excellent teacher who took great pains and pride in imparting more than academic knowledge to his subjects. He aspired bigger, thought deeper, and questioned harder. And these were the very traits he strived to inculcate among his students. Talk to any one of them and they will tell you not about the academic knowledge that they got out of him, but of life lessons they learned, not knowing that they were in fact being provided to them during Dr Hasan’s various lectures. Such was his finesse with the delicate art of instructing.
Dr Hasan was indeed a man larger than life, and one who was committed to enabling mankind actualise their God-given potential. And although he was as excellent as they get as a teacher, he knew he had more inside of him. And that probably was the encouragement for setting up what has now become the University of Management and Technology Lahore. Dr Hasan built the institute one step at a time, but he himself worked at a pace many of his peers found hard to keep up with. He was an administrator one day, a professor the other and then the next day you saw him being a financial and management guru devising ingenious ways to grow the institute. He was a leader par excellence. He was “lead by example” personified.
Today, UMT speaks volumes of Dr Hasan’s efforts. The institute set up by him has risen in stature, respect and repute, and has amassed domestic appeal as well as an international outreach. But as he was, Dr Hasan still wasn’t content with the varsity’s achievements in the Pakistani academia. He had an acute global vision for the development of the education sector. Despite having stepped down from his role of the UMT rector last year, Dr Hasan was striving hard to expand its network internationally. Only a few days before his demise, he was in Sri Lanka attending various meetings and seminars as part of university’s internationalization initiatives.
His sad demise has concluded a remarkable spell of institutionalisation and leadership. He was an accomplished leader who founded several learning institutions that offered educational as well as corporate trainings. He was at the forefront of curriculum development that drove innovation in academics, in everything from social sciences to life sciences and technology.
But despite his uncountable achievements, it is not his professional acumen, his vast knowledge, his noteworthy understanding of worldly and religious matters or his ability to turn ideas into reality that I will miss. What I will really find missing in my life from now on is the feeling that there is someone out there who can be truly counted on in an hour of need. I think so because in spite of his busy schedule, the heavy burden of responsibilities on his shoulders and his endless commitment to his cause, I cannot recall even one instance when Dr Hasan did not respond to a request for advice or guidance; be it over telephone, via email or in person.
But what’s truly mind boggling is that almost everyone who knew him thought exactly the same about him and his ability to be there for others. Financial, legal, physical, religious… Show me a problem and I’ll show you a person who Dr Hasan helped get out of. And that is what truly made him, above all else things, a true friend to be relied on.
Dr Hasan Sohaib Murad was a friend the people got when they needed one.
His was a smile to assure the jitteriest of nerves; his was a character to inspire the most uninspired among us all and his was a mind set on greater good of the people. His life is a celebration of hard work, of determination, of devotion, of dedication, of poise and of possibilities. His life was beautiful, as was he, and as was his name. Hasan.
Farewell good friend. May you shine in the hereafter as bright as you did in this world.