CBEC Forum

The CBEC Forum is an informal group of CBEC faculty, students, alumni and invited guests from diverse backgrounds that meets over tea on Saturday afternoons. A wide range of issues, national and international, are selected for discussion with a Forum member who takes the lead with a brief presentation.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

This event attracted a large number of physicians who took time out from their busy schedules to hear Dr. Babar Hassan, a pediatric cardiologist at Aga Khan University, Karachi and Dr. Muneer Amanullah, a pediatric surgeon at Liaquat National Hospital, Karachi speak about their experiences of providing care in challenging circumstances. The two physicians focused on the ways care is provided to children suffering from congenital heart diseases in locations strife with socioeconomic inequalities and political unrest.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Dr. Summaiya Syed Tariq, an Additional Police Surgeon at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, shared her experience of working in the medico-legal field, where stark realities of the world interface with human suffering. As a forensic specialist, she discussed the ethical dilemmas she has faced during her practice when dealing with stigmatizing topics such as suicide, self-harm, rape and domestic violence. This was a widely attended forum, with participants joining virtually from outside the country.

Saturday, 14th March, 2020

Three infectious disease specialists, Dr. Shehla Baqi, Dr. Asma Nasim and Dr. Sunil Kumar Dodani led a CBEC forum called, “COVID-19: The Ethical and Social Fallout” in March. They talked about the ethical fallout of the global response to this intimidating outbreak, the history of Coronavirus and the social repercussions which have largely been ignored. The Forum was well-attended by a diverse group of people from different fields and backgrounds. The session not only fostered interdisciplinary discussion about the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, it also inspired new analytical and critical approaches to the ways in which the new coronavirus outbreak is discussed, conceptualized, contained and experienced.

Dr. Shehla Baqi is a Consultant in Infectious Diseases at three different institutes including, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Institute of Trauma, Civil Hospital Karachi, and Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation.

Dr. Asma Nasim is Assistant Professor at Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT), and heads the Department of Infectious Diseases. She is also an alumnus of the Postgraduate Diploma in Biomedical Ethics from Centre of Biomedical Ethics and Culture (CBEC), SIUT.

Dr. Sunil Kumar Dodani is Assistant Professor at the Department of Infectious Diseases at Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT).

Friday, 24th January, 2020

With rock meeting spirituality, we ended up with some brilliant Sufi songs and yes, that is what happened when Arieb Azhar led a CBEC forum titled “The Musical Transformation of a Revolutionary to an Artist.” He took the audience down the Sufi path and left his listeners, especially our Kenyan students, mesmerized by his baritone voice. Arieb Azhar is a contemporary folk and Sufi singer and songwriter in Pakistan. Inspired by folk and Sufi music from an early age, his music reflects an attractive fusion of Western Rock and traditional Sufi music. The Forum was well-attended with almost 50 people, including students, all of whom were awestruck by Arieb Azhar’s performance.

Saturday, 30th November, 2019

Dr. Syed Nomanul Haq, a distinguished scholar, led a CBEC Forum titled “Looking for Ahmad Faraz.” He presented the argument that the disappearance of Ahmad Faraz from scholarly works is pitiful as the poet captured the hearts of hundreds and thousands during his lifetime. He attributed the cause of this disappearance to Faraz being viewed through a revolutionary lens, as opposed to a more romantic one. Dr. Nomanul Haq stressed the dualism that exists between the persona of Faraz and his poetry that has soft and beautiful undertones. During the discussion, the speaker along with the audience lamented the slow and gradual death of Urdu literature within Pakistan, and considered ways to revive the subject. The CBEC Forum was well-attended and was also covered in the national press. (https://www.dawn.com/news/1519998/ahmed-faraz-was-very-good-at-using-talazmaat-says-scholar)

Dr. Syed Nomanul Haq is currently Dean of the School of Liberal Arts at the University of Management and Technology, Lahore. He is also Visiting Distinguished Professor of Comparative Liberal Studies at Habib University and the Chair of the Standing Committee on the Arts and Humanities of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Visiting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Syed Akbar Abbas led a CBEC forum titled, “Ethical challenges associated with cochlear implants to correct deafness,” which attracted a wide audience both from within the medical field and beyond. The talk highlighted the nature of cochlear technology, particularly within the context of Pakistan, and the associated challenges. Dr. Abbas spoke about the moral discomforts that he had faced while practicing as an implant surgeon in the country. His talk generated an interesting discussion about deaf culture, and whether implant technology ought necessarily to be utilized.

Syed Akbar Abbas graduated from Dow Medical College in 1996. He completed his postgraduate training in Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery from Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH), Karachi and is a Fellow of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Pakistan. He practiced as a consultant at Patel Hospital for 14 years, where he set up a cochlear implant program for children at a subsidized rate. Currently, he is working at AKUH as full-time faculty.

Saturday, 13th July, 2019

CBEC hosted a Forum led by Dr. Kamran Asdar Ali, currently serving as the Dean of School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), on female friendships and sexual politics explored through the lens of 1960s Pakistani cinema. Dr. Asdar utilized two movies, Saheli and Neela Parbat, in order to showcase women’s representation in the popular media in the country. The Forum was well-attended by a diverse group of participants from different fields and led to an excellent discussion about various aspects of women’s lives as featured in the movies, with participants providing their own interpretations.

Saturday, 29th June, 2019

Keeping in perspective the spreading epidemic of HIV in Sindh province and subsequently Punjab, a Forum was arranged with Dr. Asma Nasim, an infectious diseases specialist, in order to have a conversation about the alarming situation in the country. Titled, “The HIV Epidemic: Time for Introspection,” the session provided an overview of the science of this infection, and then discussed the various societal and cultural factors that increase the stigma, making prevention difficult in Pakistan. Dr. Nasim focused on the problems in the healthcare system, including unsafe practices such as reuse of injections. She emphasized the need for safe medical practices,

Dr. Asma Nasim is Assistant Professor at Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT), and heads the Department of Infectious Diseases at SIUT. She is also an alumnus of CBEC’s Postgraduate Diploma in Biomedical Ethics. including basic hygiene. The session attracted more than 70 participants, many of whom were nurses and physicians.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

In the CBEC Forum titled, “Calling Karachi Home”, Ms. Lynette Viccaji and her daughters, Zoe and Rachel, shared their experiences of growing up in the city within a minority community. Ms. Viccaji, who has also authored a memoir, “Made in Pakistan,” read out excerpts from her book, followed by a moderated question and answer session. The discussion was lively with the Viccajis sharing personal anecdotes which kept the diverse audience extremely engaged throughout the session. The discussion ended with a short and absolutely delightful musical performance by Zoe and Rachel.

Lynette Viccaji, born and raised in Karachi, has been teaching language and literature for the past 30 years and published her memoir in 2017.

Zoe Viccaji is best known for her debut cover song, Mera Bichra Yaar, and Ishq Kinara, which featured in the world renowned Coke Studio.

Rachel Viccaji has been part of musical theatre productions and has also featured on Coke Studio, Pakistan.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

In February, CBEC hosted a Forum led by Dr. Arsalan Khan, a General Surgeon at the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT), with a special interest in hepatobiliary and transplant surgery. Entitled, “Would Cardiac Death Donors Be More Acceptable to Pakistani Society?” the Forum questioned whether organ donation after cardiac death (DCD) would be more acceptable in the Pakistani context than donation following brain death. Dr. Arsalan raised the possibility that the concept of ‘brain death’ was unclear to many non-medical people because it differed from traditional understandings of death.

Attended mostly by participants from healthcare related fields and a few participants from non-medical backgrounds, the session was interactive and lively, provoking comment, debate and extensive discussion.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Dr. Uzma Ambareen, a psychiatrist from The Recovery House and associated with Pakistan Association for Mental Health (PAMH) led the Forum titled “Suicide in Young People: Psychological and Social Factors.” Given the recent increase in the rate of suicide among adolescents, Dr. Ambareen stressed the role of various factors that pave the way to suicide. She aptly described suicide as hopelessness and a cry for help. The Forum was extremely well-attended by participants from different professions including teachers, educators, students and healthcare professionals. The discussion also centered on the role of social media for increasing isolation and thus suicidal tendencies thereby creating a pathway to suicide. Dr. Ambareen stressed upon the importance of taking concrete steps to decriminalize suicide within the Pakistan Penal Code and provide respite to those suffering from mental illnesses.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

In order to highlight the ethical discourse surrounding palliative medicine, a philosophy of care that is essential in today’s world of advanced medicine, Dr. Muhammad Atif Waqar was invited to lead our May CBEC Forum. Dr. Waqar began with a personal story relating the agony his father suffered as he battled cancer, and the way the entire family also suffered as a result of the disease. Through this narrative, he outlined the difference between quality versus quantity of life for patients faced with serious or life-limiting conditions. As a palliative medicine specialist, Dr. Waqar discussed the various ethical challenges manifested in his work, especially within the sociocultural context of Pakistan.

Dr. Atif Waqar, MD, is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Oncology at the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) in Karachi, Pakistan. He serves as the Section Head for the Palliative Medicine services at AKUH. Within the institution, he has developed multidisciplinary palliative care services across various domains and care settings.

Friday, April 27, 2018

The CBEC Forum “Among the Stars” was led by Mr. Abubaker Shekhani who provided a basic introduction to astronomy and outlined some of the famous Muslim scientists who made a mark in the world through their scientific developments. The Forum also included the showcasing of stunning pictures that Mr. Shekhani had taken of the night sky on his various travels across Balochistan and Sindh, allowing the participants to get a glimpse of astrophotography. After the talk, the participants were invited to view the night sky on CBEC’s 7th floor terrace through a professional telescope. This particular Forum attracted a great deal of attention since participants from different parts of the city, representing various professions and age groups, attended in large numbers.

Mr. Abubaker Shekhani is one of the founding members of Karachi Astronomers’ Society. A software engineer by profession, his hobbies include amateur astronomy and astrophotography.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

The first Forum for the year 2018 was led by Ms. Sahar Gul Bhatti who captivated the audience with her talk titled, “Ethical Demeanour as an Essential Quality in Bhitai’s Poetry.” Establishing the premise that poet, Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai, through his verse, provides guidance for becoming an ideal human being, she provided beautiful examples from his poetry illustrating this phenomenon. Ms. Bhatti explored how Bhitai uses signs and symbols in his poetry to convey his message. She further described ten ethical characteristics in Bhitai’s poetry, and illustrated this through Bhitai’s female characters.

For this Forum, alumni outside of Karachi participated virtually through video conferencing. Moreover, the audience included people from diverse backgrounds which shows the powerful and far-reaching influence of Bhitai.

Ms. Sahar Gul Bhatti is the Director Benazir Bhutto (SMBB) Chair, a research and development think tank at the University of Karachi, Sindh. Besides teaching at two universities and several institutions in Pakistan, she has hosted many talk shows on socio-political issues for television.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Dr. Ibad Kureshi engaged the audience with his talk titled “Big Data: Losing Control of Your Digital-Self.” Focusing on the different ways data is collected and stored in today’s digital era, his talk was of great interest to the large number of participants who attended. Dr. Kureshi highlighted the multiple ways that we, as individuals rely upon digital technology in our daily lives. Ethical concerns with respect to security and privacy of the collected and stored data were also raised during the talk which led to a collective shudder around the room. He also provided a series of steps which can be undertaken to protect our digital selves in today’s world.

Dr. Kureshi is a Senior Research Scientist at Inlecom Systems in London, UK. With a PhD from the University of Huddersfield, UK followed by a post-doctorate and a fellowship at Durham University, UK he spends his day teaching computers how humans shop, make friends, and consume art and architecture.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Dr. Nauman Faizi led a CBEC forum titled “Reasoning about Religion: At the Intersection of Logic and Ethics”, in which he discussed the conceptualization of religion through different eras. In his talk which was attended by a large group of participants from various fields including medicine, philosophy and history, Dr. Faizi expanded upon the concept of religion, the sources of thoughts within the domain of religion and the ways academic scholars have studied this concept. The talk generated considerable interest among the participants and led to a lively discussion.

Dr. Faizi is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). He obtained his PhD from the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia, USA in 2016.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Ms. Anika Khan engaged the participants of May’s CBEC forum with her talk, titled “Growing up immersed in a virtual world”. This topic, relevant in today’s world, focused on the powerful influence of social media and other online forums on adolescents. The possible ethical ramifications of actions undertaken in the ‘virtual’ world were also raised, with insight provided about the different ways that norms of social interaction, sensory experiences and first-hand encounters have changed through the popularization of virtual reality. The participants found the talk interactive, useful and contextual.

Ms. Anika Khan is a Senior Lecturer at Centre of Biomedical Ethics and Culture (CBEC), SIUT with a Master’s in Bioethics.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

In our fourth CBEC Forum of 2017, “Conceptions of ‘trust’ in genetic research: participants’ perspectives from Pakistan and Denmark,” Ms. Zainab Afshan Sheikh presented findings from a research paper examining conceptions of trust among genetic research participants in Pakistan and Denmark. Based on interviews done in the field, the study revealed that ‘trust’ had different meanings for Pakistani and Danish participants. Ms. Sheikh’s talk, focusing largely on the Pakistani research context, was followed by lively group discussion and was streamed live to a closed group on Facebook.

Ms. Zainab Afshan Sheikh is a doctoral candidate in the department of Public Health at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Dr. Erfan Hussain led a CBEC Forum called “Stranger in a Strange Land: Ethical Variations between USA and Pakistan – Implications for Practice,” in which he presented cases from his experience in the critical care setting in both Pakistan and the USA. Attended by a large number of participants, the session generated a great deal of group discussion on the ethical dimensions of the cases and the different ways in which they played out in the cultural contexts of Pakistan and the USA. Noteworthy themes emerging from the discussion included the contrast between Pakistani and American families’ attitudes to truth-telling and the continuation of critical care at the end of life.

Dr. Erfan Hussain works at the Aga Khan University Hospital as Assistant Professor Medicine and Director Adult Critical Care Services.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

In a talk entitled “Revisiting The Weary Generations: Politics and Poetics,” writer and book critic, Mr. Raza Naeem, discussed Abdullah Hussein’s novel, The Weary Generations, and the subcontintental history woven into its narrative. The Weary Generations is the English version of Abdullah Hussein’s classic Urdu novel, Udas Naslein, translated by the author himself thirty-three years after the publication of the original work.

Mr. Naeem’s discussion of major themes from The Weary Generations was accompanied by readings from the novel, and anecdotes that provided an insight into Abdullah Hussein’s life and personality.

Mr. Raza Naeem is an Instructor of History at the Beaconhouse School Systems in Lahore. He has been trained in Middle Eastern History and Anthropology from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, US.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

In the first CBEC Forum of 2017, Dr. Taymiya R. Zaman gave a talk entitled “Gender and Sexuality in the Early Islamic World (1500-1800).” Speaking in the historical context of the Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal Empires, she discussed how relatively fluid notions about gender identity and expression in the region became more rigidly separated into a male/female gender binary as a consequence of the expansion of Europe in the 1800s. Leading a group discussion, she explored historical notions of gender, sexuality and the body through the lenses of law, literature, medicine and art.

Dr. Taymiya R. Zaman is an associate professor and historian of Mughal India at the University of San Francisco.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

CBEC invited Ms. Sabina Khatri, head of Kiran Foundation, to give a presentation on educational initiatives undertaken by her organisation in Lyari, a troubled area of Karachi which has become synonymous with gang warfare and conflict. In her interactive session, Ms. Khatri spoke about her motivation for starting the Kiran School and later adopting the DCTO Campus School in Lyari. She also related stories of children and adults whose lives have been changed by their interaction with the school and who are now bringing change into their own environments.

Kiran Foundation is a not-for-profit educational organisation promoting schooling in Lyari, Karachi.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

In a fascinating session entitled “Reason and revelation: a monumental philosophical problem,” scholar and writer, Dr. Nomanul Haq, discussed philosophical debates about reason and revelation as the sources of eternal truth and knowledge. In his talk, he used Ibn Tufayl’s 12th century novel Hayy ibn Yaqzan as a starting point for his discourse, followed by a rich group discussion on the roles of reason and revelation in the pursuit of spiritual and worldly knowledge.

Dr. Syed Nomanul Haq is a professor at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Dr. Ayeesha Kamal led a CBEC Forum called “New Conversations in Neuroethics” in which she discussed emerging ethical quandaries in neuroscience connected to the quest to enhance cognitive ability, manipulate minds or ‘read’ them via fMRI. Attended by a large group of participants and simultaneously streamed live, the session was both interactive and thought-provoking.

Dr. Ayeesha Kamal is a Faculty of Neurology and the director of Stroke Research at the Aga Khan University, Karachi.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Dr. Shahid Shamim led a CBEC Forum entitled “What drives ethics: region or religion?” Drawing on his experience as a physician and medical educationist, he discussed different understandings of ethics evinced in society and in students’ responses. His talk was followed by a group discussion on the cultural and religious context which forms the backdrop to medical ethics discussions. Attended by around twenty-five participants, his session was streamed live for participants outside Karachi.

Dr. Muhammad Shahid Shamim is a CBEC alumnus, surgeon and medical educationist. He is Associate Professor of Surgery and Head of Medical Education Unit at Rabigh Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Dr. Nauman Naqvi led a CBEC Forum entitled “Islam in the Anthropocene: Geological Transformation of Nature and Islam.” In his thought-provoking talk, Dr. Naqvi discussed his contention that Islam has undergone changes in the last two centuries that parallel the huge historical and geological shifts that have taken place in the Anthropocene. His talk was followed by a spirited group discussion and streamed live for participants outside Karachi.

Dr. Nauman Naqvi is Founding Faculty and Director of the Liberal Core at Habib University, Karachi.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Dr. Huma Baqai led a CBEC Forum on the ethical responsibilities of the media called “Media and Ethics.” Drawing upon her experience as a television anchor person and analyst, Dr. Baqai explored the ways in which media and society shape each other and led a discussion on the ethical parameters of creating and disseminating news. The interactive session was attended by more than twenty-five people and streamed live for participants outside Karachi.

Dr. Baqai is an Associate Professor, Director Public Affairs and Communication and former Chairperson, Department of Social Sciences, Institute of Business Administration, Karachi. She is also associated with Channel 24 and Radio Pakistan.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

In a CBEC Forum that was part of SIUT’s International Symposium (8-12 December, 2015), Drs. Alexander Capron, Alistair Campbell and Aamir Jafarey gave a fascinating account of the development of bioethics from the 1970s onward. Dr. Capron, Professor of Law and Medicine and Scott H. Bice Chair in Healthcare Law, Policy and Ethics, Gould School of Law, University of California, USA, succinctly described the emergence of bioethics in the US against a backdrop of civil rights movements and spoke about cases that shaped its subsequent development. Dr. Campbell, who is Director of Centre for Biomedical Ethics and Professor in Medical Ethics in the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, drew on his decade-long experience of bioethics in Asia to give an interesting account of topics that have predominated in bioethics discussions in the region. Dr. Jafarey, Associate Professor at the Centre of Biomedical Ethics and Culture, SIUT, Karachi, narrated the emergence of bioethics in Pakistan in the 1980s, when physicians brought it to Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi. He touched upon the process through which bioethics is adapting to the local context and discussed the challenges which could hinder its growth in Pakistan.

In an interactive group discussion following the talks, Indian delegate, Dr. Sanjay Nagral, spoke about bioethics activism in India and the emergence of the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics. For participants, it was a fascinating look at the variation in approaches and topics that ignited bioethical debate in different regional and social contexts.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Mr. Henry Marsh, writer and consultant neurosurgeon at St. George’s Hospital, UK, led a CBEC Forum called, “Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery.” In this interactive session, Mr. Marsh talked about honesty, the importance of finding a balance between professional detachment and empathy and the difficulty in revisiting his failures in brain surgery when writing his book, Do No Harm. Attended by over 60 participants from varied backgrounds, different themes emerged during the group discussion, including the difficulty of breaking bad news to patients. The session was streamed live for participants outside Karachi.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

In a Forum entitled “Relationship between Religion and Ethics in the Contemporary Era,” Dr. S. M. Mehboobul Hassan Bukhari gave a talk on the connections and conflicts between religious and philosophical thought through history. In the ensuing group discussion led by Dr. Bukhari, participants raised questions about the tensions between religious and ethical concepts and their implications in the current era.

Dr. Bukhari is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy, University of Karachi. His session was attended by around twenty-five participants and was also streamed live for participants outside Karachi.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Dr. Robyna Irshad Khan, consultant anesthesiologist at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, led a Forum called “Hospital Ethics Consultation: Local Perspectives,” based on her experience of chairing a hospital ethics committee (HEC) in Karachi. In her session, Dr. Khan talked about her experience with ethics consults in the local setting and used a clinical case to illustrate how HECs attempted to resolve difficult dilemmas.

The interactive and informative session was attended by about twenty-five participants and streamed live for participants outside Karachi.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

In July’s Forum, paediatric nephrologist, Dr. Ali Lanewala used the case of a baby born with a severe genetic disorder to discuss the ethical dilemmas involved in withholding treatment from patients on the brink of life and death. The session entitled “Hard choices: Life or death for a baby with a severe genetic disorder” was attended by more than twenty-five participants. Dr. Lanewala’s presentation of the case and its ethical aspects was followed by an interactive and spirited group discussion.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

In a session entitled “Storytelling in Medicine: A Doctor’s Journey,” paediatric ER physician and Associate Professor at Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, Dr. Asad Mian discussed the use of ‘narrative medicine’ in medical education and practice. Describing his own writing journey, he used excerpts from some of his own writings about memorable encounters with patients. Dr. Mian is the author of the book, “The Itinerant Observer,” and has also published his medical narratives in journals, newspapers and blogs.

The interactive session was attended by more than twenty-five participants and streamed live for participants outside Karachi and Pakistan.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Dr. Ayesha Mian, an adult, child and adolescent psychiatrist working at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, led a CBEC Forum entitled “On labels and the labelled- the burden of sexual identity.” Focusing on individuals whose sexual orientations differ from the norm, Dr. Mian discussed the ethical dilemmas that can arise for clinicians when working with this minority population in a culturally conservative society. Leading a highly interactive discussion, she responded to questions about the formation of gender and sexual identity and also discussed the dilemma of timing of medical intervention in patients with gender dysphoria. The session was streamed live for participants outside Karachi.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

In a session titled “From Apologia to Activism: Responses to Terrorism in Pakistan,” CBEC Forum participants attempted to develop an understanding of responses by civil society and the Pakistani public to recent acts of terrorism. The first half of the Forum featured a short video of a talk by lawyer and activist, Jibran Nasir, followed by a group discussion. In the second half of the session, Mr. Sohail Bawani, social scientist and faculty member of the Department of Community Health Sciences at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, gave a presentation entitled “Who is an apologist?” The topic engendered a great deal of discussion among participants about the different arguments presented as apologia for acts of terrorism. Attended by about 25 people, the session was streamed live for participants outside Karachi.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

In a talk entitled ‘Suicide and ‘suicide’ bombing in Pakistan: Do they have a common pathway?’, Dr. Murad Moosa Khan discussed some of the research on suicide and ‘para-suicide’ in the context of Pakistan. Identifying both commonalities and differences between the two, Dr. Khan posited that factors such as economic deprivation and social stresses were often common to both extreme acts and would need to be considered when looking for preventative measures. His talk was followed by an interactive discussion with about 30 participants and streamed live for participants outside Karachi and Pakistan.

Dr. Murad Moosa Khan is a Professor of Psychiatry at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Mr. Raja Sabri Khan led a CBEC Forum called “Building Drones for Pakistan: The Ethics of Technology,” in which he discussed how technology could be used for both constructive and destructive purposes. Pakistan’s first indigenous producer of drones, he described the peaceful uses of a technology that has become synonymous with war, and discussed some of the emerging ethical issues.

Raja Sabri Khan is an inventor, innovator and aeronautical engineer. His company, Integrated Dynamics, provides unmanned and robotic vehicle system surveillance solutions to the Government of Pakistan and abroad, for civilian applications.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Well-known writer and photographer, Dr. Iftikhar Salahuddin gave a talk on Jerusalem based on his travelogue, “Jerusalem – A Journey Back in Time.” Tracing the history of Jerusalem from the time of the Prophet Abraham down to the contemporary period, Dr. Salahuddin punctuated his talk with slides of beautiful photographs of the area from his book. His talk was followed by an interactive discussion with a large group of participants.

Dr. Salahuddin works as Consultant ENT Surgeon at Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi and was a co-winner of the Peace Prize 2014 sponsored by the Federal Republic of Germany and the Karachi Literature Festival, for his book on Jerusalem.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

CBEC faculty members, Dr. Bushra Shirazi and Dr. Aamir Jafarey, led an interactive session entitled “How dead is brain dead?” in which they challenged common understandings about the boundaries separating life and death. Using recent cases of brain dead pregnant women, they explored the myths and reality of brain death and discussed related ethical issues.

Attended by a group of about twenty-five participants, the session was streamed live for participants outside Karachi.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

In a session entitled “Ethical Challenges in Biobanking,” Professor Alastair Campbell, Director of the Centre for Biomedical Ethics, National University of Singapore, spoke of the new ethical and regulatory challenges that are emerging with increased ‘biobanking’ of biological samples and the advent of sophisticated methods of genetic analysis. Formerly Chair of the Ethics and Governance Council of UK Biobank, Professor Campbell discussed issues in biobanking related to informed consent, privacy and confidentiality, giving feedback to donors and potential harms to research subjects.

Attended by over forty participants, Professor Campbell’s instructive talk was followed by a lively, interactive discussion. A live webcast of the session was streamed for participants outside Karachi.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Well-known writer, researcher and historian, Dr. Arfa Sayeda Zehra discussed the connections between history and ethics in a talk entitled “Tehzeeb, Tareekh aur Taleem.” In particular, Dr. Zehra spoke about the distortion of history and how it deprived us of the opportunities of gaining wisdom and insight from our collective experiences. Her talk was followed by an interactive session in which participants raised interesting questions relating to religion, ethics and history.

In addition to more than 25 persons who attended the session, participants outside Karachi followed the session through a live webcast.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Internationally known psychiatrist and author, Dr. David Healy, led a Forum entitled “When Interests Conflict: Physician-Pharmaceutical Interactions.” In his enlightening talk, Dr. Healy presented data showing how pharmaceutical companies could manipulate the results of clinical trials and influence doctors not only with incentives, but with disincentives such as non-publication of papers and creating pressure groups within the medical profession.

Attended by a mixed audience of over 45 participants, the session was streamed live to participants outside Karachi and Pakistan.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

In a CBEC Forum called “Physicians on Social Media: Seeking Limits in Limitless Cyberspace,” Drs. Aamir Jafarey and Mohsin e Azam presented data from an ongoing study on physicians using social media. Attended by about 20 participants, the discussion explored the new ethical challenges that were emerging as the use of social media increased and the established boundaries of professional and ethical conduct were tested. A live webcast of the session was streamed to participants outside Karachi.

Dr. Aamir Jafarey works as Associate Professor at CBEC, and is a General Surgeon practising at the Aga Khan Hospital, Karachi.

Dr. Mohsin e Azam is a CBEC PGD alumnus and an Orthopaedic Surgeon working at the Institute of Orthopaedics and Surgery, Karachi.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

In a stimulating session entitled “Phir yeh hangama ay Khuda kiya hai,” well-known historian, educator and sociologist, Dr. Arfa Sayeda Zehra, discussed the connection between the development of ethical values and the study of history. In her eloquent talk, Dr. Zehra expressed the opinion that collective human history reflects the consequences of our choices and subsequently, sets standards for right and wrong.

Attended by an audience of about 35 participants, Dr. Zehra’s talk and the ensuing group discussion were streamed live to participants outside Karachi.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Feminist poet and writer, Dr. Fatema Hassan, spoke about notable Urdu women poets at the CBEC Forum in May, 2013. In an absorbing and interactive session entitled “Urdu shairee main khawateen ka kirdaar: Aaj aur kal,” Dr. Hassan brought together fascinating biographical anecdotes with poetry readings of significant women poets from the 18th century to the contemporary period and discussed the feminist overtones of their writing.

Attended by about 25 participants, the session was broadcast live over the web to participants outside Karachi.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

In a CBEC Forum entitled “Stigmatizing Obesity: A Current Debate,” Drs. Bushra Shirazi and Tayyaba Batool gave an overview of world-wide obesity trends and led an engrossing discussion on the pros and cons of stigmatizing obesity. Attended by about fifteen participants, the discussion focused on an article by American bioethicist Dan Callahan which suggests that anti-obesity efforts should be modelled on anti-smoking campaigns that stigmatize smoking as socially unacceptable behaviour. A live webcast of the session was streamed to participants outside Karachi.

Dr. Shirazi is a general surgeon at Ziauddin University, Karachi and a faculty member at CBEC.

Dr. Batool is a paediatric surgeon at the National Institute of Child Health, Karachi.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Dr. Junaid Razzak, Chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Aga Khan University Hospital was the invited speaker at this CBEC Forum. His talk was entitled “Ethical Challenges in Emergency Care.” This topic highlighted his perception of the divide between theory and practice of ethics in the acute setting and he elaborated on the topic by using examples from his experience. The talk generated a rich discussion in which the group contributed with their own experiences.

About 35 people attended the Forum. Although most were clinicians from different medical institutions, there were also participants with no medical background. As is now the usual practice, the CBEC Forum was broadcast over the web enabling another group of 7 people to attend the Forum live, at the seminar room of Memon Medical Institute, Karachi.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

In a CBEC Forum entitled “Words that Heal,” litterateur Bari Mian and poet and film-maker Mahmood Jamal discussed pain and healing in poetry and other linguistic mediums. The stimulating and highly interactive session was attended by around forty participants, many of whom engaged in the discussion on the nature of pain and suffering and depictions of pain and healing in poetry and metaphor. A live webcast of the session was streamed for participants outside Karachi.

Ahmed Abdul Bari Farangi Mahli, known in literary circles as Bari Mian, is a literary critic, scholar of religion and scholar of Urdu and Persian poetry. He has lectured on poetry and is currently president of the Hasrat Mohani Memorial Library & Hall Trust.

Mahmood Jamal has a degree in South Asian Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He is the editor and translator of The Penguin Book of Modern Urdu Poetry (Penguin Books 1986) and Islamic Mystical Poetry (Penguin Books 2009). He has several poetry collections to his name and is an award-winning filmmaker.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Ms. Nida Rais, a lawyer working at the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH), gave a presentation entitled “Medico-legal landscape: The challenges,” In her presentation, she clarified concepts like medical error and negligence and discussed the current legal situation in Pakistan regarding issues like medical negligence. In the second part of the session, Ms. Rais led a highly interactive discussion based on cases which raised issues relating to patient confidentiality, liability for medical injury and the control of fertility. A number of participants outside Karachi and Pakistan followed the session online.

Ms. Rais works at AKUH as a Quality Assurance Officer (Legal) and is currently pursuing a Master in Medical Law course from the University of Northumbria, U.K.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Shajia Sarfraz Haroon led an interactive session entitled “Environmental ethics: A philosophical twist.” Ms. Haroon, an independent researcher in philosophy and ethics, presently runs the philosophy 101 Talk and Discussion series at The Second Floor, Karachi. Shedding light on philosophical issues relating to the environment, her session at CBEC raised questions about our ethical obligations to the world we live in. An engaged audience examined both anthropocentric and eco-centric attitudes as they debated issues such as the intrinsic value of the environment in contrast to pragmatic attitudes that saw the environment as a source of use for humans.

As always, participants outside Karachi and Pakistan followed a live webcast of the event.

Friday, May 18, 2012

CBEC organized its first ever formal activity in the area of environmental ethics by inviting Mr. Sameer Hamid Dodhy, and Mr. Roland deSouza (Members of Shehri: CBE). Both are active members of the NGO SHEHRI and have been very vocal in pursuing environmental concerns with new developments in the city.

Mr. deSouza presented a global overview of the situation and demonstrated how the finite resources of the planet are being squandered and misused, and discussed the ill effects already occurring across the world, with a special emphasis on Pakistan. He suggested ways of addressing these rising concerns if we are to avert an environmental disaster.

Mr. Dodhy in his talk focused on what his organization had been doing and the impact it has had so far. He described emerging and ongoing concerns faced by the already environmentally challenged city of Karachi and suggested practical steps to counter them.

The talks were followed by a lively question and answer session.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Dr. Syed Mamun Mahmud, Associate Professor at the Kidney Centre, Karachi, and an alumnus of CBEC’s Postgraduate Diploma in Biomedical Ethics, led an interesting session based on his study and article, “Patients as teaching tools: Merely informed or true consent.” Beginning with a short presentation on his involvement with bioethics, Dr. Mamun then led an interactive discussion about issues such as respect for patients and taking an informed consent which goes beyond a mere formality.

Like always, a live webcast of the event was also streamed.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

In an interactive session entitled “It may be legal but is it right? Ethical decision-making at the end of life”, Dr. Humaira Jamal, Lead Consultant in palliative medicine at the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre and Harefield Hospital, UK, spoke about palliative care and related ethical issues. Dr. Jamal described the historical development of palliative approaches to medicine and narrated the experiences that sparked her own interest in palliative care. Using a case, she initiated a discussion on decision-making at the end of life and the impact of culture on the process of decision-making.

Dr. Jamal’s session was attended by more than 35 participants while participants outside Karachi and Pakistan followed a live webcast of the event.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Dr. Mohsin Naqvi, a well-known religious scholar, gave a talk entitled “Medical Ethics in Muslim Thought: A Historical Overview.” Describing Muslim thought on medical ethics in earlier periods of history, Dr. Naqvi’s talk highlighted the disconnection between present day advances in science and current Muslim approaches to ethical issues in medicine.

Attended by about 35 participants, Dr. Naqvi’s talk was followed by an interesting question-answer session. A live webcast of the event was streamed to participants outside Karachi and Pakistan.

Friday, December 30, 2011

On 30th December, CBEC hosted a Forum entitled “Breast Cancer: Sociological and Bioethical Perspectives.” The event featured talks by Dr. Bushra Shirazi and Ms. Sanah Parvez based on sociological research on different aspects of breast cancer. Both talks were followed by interactive question-answer sessions.

Dr. Shirazi’s talk focused on factors that influence decision-making in women with breast cancer, particularly, the use of language in medical treatment and the connotations that the word “cancer” holds for patients. Ms. Parvez spoke about her research on the use of veiling as a prosthesis by breast cancer patients and how corporal markers impact feminine identity. Attended by about 25 participants, a live webcast of the event was streamed to participants outside Karachi and Pakistan.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Arsalan Khan, who is a doctoral candidate in anthropology at the University of Virginia, gave a talk based on his research with the Tableeghi Jama’at in Pakistan. In an interactive and informative session, Arsalan Khan discussed the evolution of Islamic understandings in the sub-continent from the colonial period onward, and went on to describe the formation and objectives of the Tablighi Jama’at and the underlying reasons for its growing popularity world-wide. A live webcast of the session was streamed for participants outside Karachi and Pakistan.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Well-known writer and critic, Dr. Asif Aslam Farrukhi, gave a talk entitled “People on the Edge” at the CBEC Forum on October 21, 2011. Using readings from South Asian and western literature, he discussed the ethical issues pertaining to the lives of people who are marginalised in society because of events related to war, political unrest and violence. Following the talk was a lively group discussion led by Dr. Asif Aslam, in which participants discussed various themes connected to the central topic. A webcast of the session was streamed for participants outside Karachi.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Dr. Shariq Ali, a plastic surgeon working in the UK presented his audio-story entitled “Why Socrates is my Hero”, at the CBEC Forum on July 29, 2011. Drawing on Dr. Ali’s reminiscences of Socratic Hour events at CBEC, the story discussed exemplary teachers and described the life of the great philosopher Socrates. The audio-story was followed by an interesting group discussion on various issues related to the teaching of ethics and the session ended with a reading of Dr. Ali’s poem on Tahrir Square. A live webcast of the session was streamed for participants outside Karachi and Pakistan. followed online by a Pakistani as well as an international audience.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Amina Jamal, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Ryerson University, Canada, gave a talk entitled “Feminism and Fundamentalism in Pakistan: A Transnational Feminist Perspective” at the CBEC Forum on July 15, 2011. Based on her research on women in religio-political movements in Pakistan, her thought-provoking talk examined conventional frameworks such as feminism-versus-fundamentalism and tradition-versus-modernity that are pervasive in discussions of Islam, women and gender. The talk was followed by a group discussion led by Ms. Jamal. Attended by about twenty participants, a webcast of the talk and discussion was followed online by a Pakistani as well as an international audience.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Mohammed Hanif, journalist and author of the widely acclaimed novel A Case of Exploding Mangoes, was invited to speak at the CBEC Forum on 27th May, 2011. In a talk entitled “One Wall, Two Prisons: Travels in the Holy Land”, he spoke of his recent visit to Palestine, giving evocative descriptions of the Israeli apartheid of the Palestinian people, his own encounters with fear, and the dividing wall that separates two peoples and turns both into prisoners. The talk culminated in a discussion in which the audience of 25 people participated with great interest. A webcast of his talk and subsequent discussion was followed online by a Pakistani as well as an international audience.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Main item of discussion: CBEC educational movies “The Sound of Silence” and “To Tell or Not to Tell,” discussion led by Dr. Aamir Jafarey.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Main item of discussion: “Public Vigilantism: Causes and Ethics,” discussion led by Dr. Naim Siddiqi.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Main item of discussion: “Marsiya Mir Anees,” recitations and discussion led by Dr. Khursheed Abdullah.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Main item of discussion: “Maira Intaikhab,” recitation and discussion of selected Urdu poetry led by Dr. Khursheed Abdullah.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Main item of discussion: “The World’s Oldest Mother”. The discussion of this case was led by Dr. Yasmin Wajahat.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Main item of discussion: “Operation Pot Belly: dealing with obesity in the police force”. The discussion of this case was led by Dr. Rana Muzaffar.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Main item of discussion: “What is wrong with this picture?” Slide show and discussion led by Dr. Rubina Naqvi.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Main item of discussion: “Pakistan Laws: consent for medical treatment, and issues of medical negligence.” The discussion of this case was led by Justice (Retired) Shaiq Usmani.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Main item of discussion: “Debit over merit system in Medical Colleges.” The discussion of this case was led by Dr. Seema Hashmi.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Main item of discussion: Transplant Medicine: “Womb or Rotting piece of meat?” by Susan Merrill Squier. The discussion of this case was led by Dr. Rana Muzaffar.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Main item of discussion: “Murky waters: the pharmaceutical industry and psychiatrists in developing countries.” The discussion of this case was led by Dr. Rana Muzaffar.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Talk by Dr. Cheves Smythe followed by group discussion.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Main item of discussion: “Rotten trade: Millennial capitalism, human values and global justice in organs trafficking” by Nancy Scheper – Hughes. The discussion of this case was led by Dr. Aamir Jafarey.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Main item of discussion: “Reproductive Ethics – Designer Babies” group discussion.