Boris hands top sur­geon ma­jor award for work with acid vic­tims

MONEY TO HELP ‘CHANGE LIVES’

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By PAUL BRIT­TON news­[email protected]

A SPE­CIAL­IST sur­geon from Manch­ester has been hon­oured by the prime min­is­ter for his work over the years with acid at­tack vic­tims in Pak­istan.

Dr Asim Shah­malak vol­un­teers, of­ten us­ing his own money, ‘with no thought of praise or re­ward,’ Boris John­son told him in a per­sonal let­ter. Over the last five years Dr Shah­malak, a fa­ther-of-two from Chea­dle, has ar­ranged nu­mer­ous mercy mis­sions with a team of med­i­cal staff to help mainly women left hor­rif­i­cally scarred with free hair, eye­lash and eye­brow trans­plants. He’s one of the few sur­geons in the world qual­i­fied to carry out the pro­ce­dures, with Mr John­son say­ing his vi­tal work had changed lives.

Dr Shah­malak, who is based at Crown Clinic in Wythen­shawe, is the lat­est re­cip­i­ent of a gov­ern­ment Points of Light award, which recog­nises out­stand­ing vol­un­teers mak­ing a change in their com­mu­nity and in­spir­ing oth­ers. In to­tal, Dr Shah­malak has helped 27 peo­ple.

In his let­ter Mr John­son said: “I know you do this with no thought of praise or re­ward, but al­low me to of­fer my own recog­ni­tion of how you are pro­vid­ing life-chang­ing surgery to re­build the faces of peo­ple in Pak­istan who have ex­pe­ri­enced dev­as­tat­ing acid at­tacks.”

One re­cip­i­ent for an award is se­lected across the coun­try ev­ery day. Dr Shah­malak spoke of his pride at the recog­ni­tion. He said: “I am hum­bled and hon­oured. The work is very im­por­tant to me and my way of say­ing thank-you for the ex­cel­lent med­i­cal train­ing I re­ceived in Pak­istan.

“It is won­der­ful to have my work recog­nised by the prime min­is­ter and the of­fi­cial grat­i­tude means the world to the whole team.”

Among those he has helped is mother-of-two Fa­tima Muneer, 45, who was doused in sul­phuric acid in a fam­ily feud over money and has had four re­con­struc­tion op­er­a­tions. Shop­keeper Niaz Bano, 53, lost her left eye af­ter be­ing hit with acid dis­guised in a cup of tea by an em­bit­tered rel­a­tive in a row over her 16-year-old daugh­ter’s wed­ding.

“I wept when I heard their sto­ries,” said Dr Shah­malak.

The 58-year-old, who was born in Karachi but moved to the UK af­ter qual­i­fy­ing as a doc­tor, was in­tro­duced to the pa­tients by the Pak­istan-based char­ity Depilex Smilea­gain Foun­da­tion.

Dr Asim Shah­malak has helped re­build the lives of acid-at­tack vic­tims

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