Please tell us about your foray into the field of writing, editing and medicine. How did it all begin for you? There was no organised journey that landed me in a writer’s profession. I would say it was merely by chance. I was born into a literary household. All the big literary figures I’ve seen gracing my home’s drawing room. I have grown up admiring Dr Sadiqa Jaffery, Salim Ahmed, and Muhammad Hassan Askari. Intezar Hussain I admired immensely as he was a true literary hero for me. I have also written a book on him. I have been very fortunate to have met Ismat Chughtai, Ghulam Abbas and Qurratulain Hyder. As for medicine, from 1985 to 1993, I was working in the Community of the Health Science Department at Aga Khan University. I was picked by John Bryant to work in primary health care. The experience working with him was extraordinary as that really groomed me. He was a real hero to me. How have you managed to do justice to such different and diverse professions at the same time? Handling both professions has never been a problem for me. I would only say that strong convictions reinforced my beliefs to handle writing along with my career as a doctor. Growing up, who have been some writers and doctors that you’ve admired the most? In medicine, I deeply admired Abdul Ghaffar Billoo and in literature Saadat Hasan Manto. Which has been your favourite English to Urdu translation so far? Which has been the most challenging? Well, I would say Muhammad Hassan Askari’s translation of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick was superbly rendered. ‘I think the inadequacy of what I have done before motivates me to excel. I’m not the person who thrives on his previous laurels. I keep working in order to make improvements’ Which according to you has been your biggest achievement so far? What I would be doing next year will be my biggest achievement so far. The biggest challenges are around the corner for me. What are you currently working on? I’m a lecturer at Habib University in Karachi, which is an independent liberal arts university. At the same time, I’m also a regular contributor for senior journalist Wajahat Masood’s news website Hum Sab. I write op-ed columns on culture and general public and avoid political topics. ‘What I would be doing next year will be my biggest achievement so far. The biggest challenges are around the corner for me’ What motivates you to excel no matter what? I think the inadequacy of what I have done before motivates me to excel. I’m not the person who thrives on his previous laurels. I keep working in order to make improvements. What is your vision for Pakistan and what does it mean to be Pakistani for you? I’m not a great visionary but I would still say that I want Pakistan to prosper. It should be a country where people are given a chance to be educated and experience greater infrastructure in their country. Pakistan is a part of who I am. We, at Daily Times, consider you one of our national heroes. Who are some of yours? Some of my national heroes are Dr Adeeb Rizvi, Abdul Sattar Edhi, Dr Akhtar Hameed Khan, Hassan Askari, Intezar Hussain, Sadiqa Jaffery for her contributions to Pakistan’s maternity department and Abdul Ghaffar Billoo. These are some of the most extraordinary people to have walked the Earth. Achievements A MULTI-TALENTED PROFESSIONAL The legendary Asif Aslam Farrukhi, is not just a Pakistani writer but an editor as well, who is a physician by training and is a translator as well. LEADING LITERARY ICON Asif Aslam Farrukhi has translated books from English into Urdu. He has edited and compiled anthologies of Pakistani writers. He also writes for Dawn and other newspapers, and periodicals on literature. He has published six collections of short stories and two collections of literary criticisms. He also edits and publishes a literary miscellany in Urdu called Duniyazad. In 2010, he collaborated with Oxford University Press, and the British Council to bring forth the Karachi Literature Festival, and he is also one of the founders of it. A HIGHLY QUALIFIED INDIVIDUAL Asif was educated first at Saint Patrick’s High School, Karachi and later studied medicine at Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi and public health at Harvard University, United States. His professor and writer father and family background led him to contribute to literature in Pakistan. HONOURED AT HOME In 1995, Asif received the coveted Prime Minister’s Award for Literature. In 2005, he was awarded with the prestigious Tamgha-e-Imtiaz by the president of Pakistan. AN ILLUSTRIOUS CAREER IN HEALTH From 1985 to 1993, Asif worked on the Faculty of the Aga Khan University under the supervision of the public health pioneer Professor John H Bryant. From 1994 to 2014, he was associated with UNICEF, Karachi, as the Health & Nutrition programme officer. In 2014, he joined Habib University, where he is associate professor and director of the Arzu Centre for Regional Languages & Humanities. In 2016, he became interim dean & associate professor of te School of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences at Habib University. Published in Daily Times, August 30th 2017.