Dr. Abdus Salam is considered one of the foremost scientists Pakistan has had the pleasure of producing.
In 1974 after Ahmadis were declared non-Muslim by the constitution, Dr. Abdus Salam left Pakistan in protest and settled in London. However, he never cut off his ties with his homeland completely.
Sadly, Pakistan has never really recognized the brilliance of Dr. Abdus Salam who happened to be the country’s first Nobel Prize winner. The National Assembly went even as to rename the physics department at the Quaid-e-Azam so it would not be named after him.
But that does not change the fact that Dr. Abdus Salam’s name is the first that will pop up when people look for accomplished Pakistani scientists. And that is exactly what happened to Azfar Rizvi.
Azfar shared his story of when he was 17 years old, he had the dream of becoming an aeronautical scientist.
Since he belonged to a middle-class family, he wanted to find the ‘cheapest and quickest’ route to his chosen career path. And in his research, he decided to write to Dr. Abdus Salam a letter, seeking advice about how he could become a successful scientist one day and also asking about a possible scholarship.
And surprisingly, he received a handwritten letter from Dr. Abdus Salam. He had narrated his response to his son, who penned down his father’s thoughts and send them to Azfar.
And that if he followed these rules, he would not just be a great scientist but a great man.
He also mentioned that Azfar should pursue not just subjects he excels in but subjects which ignite his imagination. And now Azfar believes that the letter was not just for him but for all Pakistanis which is why he decided to publicly share it all these years later.
Azfar did not end up pursuing science in his further studies and became a filmmaker instead. But he still holds the advice Dr. Abdus Salam gave him close to his heart and even carries the letters to whatever country he may be visiting when he is representing Pakistan.