1926 - 1996
Nobel Laureate in Physics

The creation of Physics is the shared heritage of all mankind.
Dr.Abdus Salam






“Family of the heart”, a group of creative people, artists, writers, journalists, scientists and other professionals, dedicated to the cause of free thinking and dialogue, held a seminar entitled “Prof. Abdus Salam's contributions to science and developing world”, on Friday, September 10, at AMNI centre in downtown Toronto. A number of speakers paid tributes to the genius of the Nobel Prize winning scientist with particular emphasis on his vision for the future of his home country, Pakistan in particular and the Muslims, in general.

Mr. Ziauddin Ahmed moderated the seminar. He started the seminar with his opening remarks and presented the introduction and programe for the evening. In his opening remarks, he stated that if Pakistani Government and some people in that country discriminated and ignored Abdul Salam, it was a clear evidence of the short sightedness of the country in failing to benefit from the wisdom and knowledge base associated with his work.  He still lives in the hearts and minds of many people within Pakistan and beyond and has left behind a legacy in the form of scientific institutions, mostly outside the country he loved so much.  

Mr. Zakaria Virk from Kingston, Ontario spoke at length highlighting Salam’s contributions in the field of science from the third world’s perspective. He presented a review of a book, written by Mr. Khalid Hassan, former press secretary of Mr. Bhutto. After the review, he presented some quotes from the sayings of Salam and what others said about him, at different times. The way a great son was treated and remembered in his own country brought to light a very serious issue with the attitude and general sense of understanding of many people in his country of origin. He equated Salam with a great literary figure, Saadat Hassan Manto. Both have never been officially honored. Practically nothing is named after them, but they continue to inspire a lot of people with their work and they, each in his separate domain, have become immortal, which is in fact a real honor.

Dr. Khalid Sohail reflected on many tragedies in Dr. Salam’s life, but according to him, the biggest tragedy was that he loved Pakistan that Pakistan never reciprocated. He also loved Muslims but many orthodox Muslims hated him, simply because of his religious beliefs. Dr. Sohail called Salam a patriotic Pakistani scientist who was in love with Pakistan without completely realizing that quote..”Pakistan is a country where religiosity and blind faith is more powerful than scientific and rational thinking and politically, where political and democratic institutions are subservient to the military. He further went on to say that Salam was in love with Muslims, not realizing that Muslims are very sentimental people. They can have extreme attitudes of hate and love for their heroes and although they claim that they practice the religion of peace, their history is full of turbulence and violence, through ages.

Darakhshanda from Toronto presented a very scientifically oriented narrative of Salam’s work at different times in his life. Her detailed description of Salam’s scientific achievements added a new dimension to the seminar and added to the knowledge of students of science and those who practice science as their career.

Participants became aware of the fact that Salam spent every penny of the Nobel Prize money he received for the betterment of Science in his home country, Pakistan and that the “mysterious man from East” stood above all the praises. 

Subuhi Ansari, from Hamilton, Ontario gave a presentation on Salam’s ideals. She spotlighted Salam’s thinking that he did not see any conflict between religious and scientific beliefs and actually equated a scientist with a mystic who explores and unlock the mysteries of Nature. He firmly believed in  “man’s moral state” and considered every man as a piece of the continent and a part of the main. She paid glowing tributes to Salam’s genius.

Questions from the audience and responses:

There were a number of questions asked by the participants. One of the questions was of particular importance, as it tended to spotlight on other side of Salam’s idiosyncracies. The questioner was Najeeb Kazmi, and the question was:

1) “Why is it that Dr. Abdus Salam never approached the “International Court of Justice” in Hague to appeal to ICJ, to persuade or direct the Supreme Court of Pakistan to re-evaluate the earlier decision of declaring Ahmedis as “non-Muslims”? It is worthwhile to note that Sir Zafarullah Khan was head of the ICJ at that time and it was straightforward to file an appeal with the Court to persuade the Government of Pakistan to get the decision repealed after declaring it Malafide (beyond the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Pakistan), to declare any individual as non-Muslim, as courts do not have a mandate to rule upon a person’s belief.

Mr. Zakaria Virk replied that Mr. Salam may not have considered it important, as it did not matter to him whether someone called him a Muslim or otherwise, as it was a matter of his personal belief.

At that point Najeeb Kazmi stated that it was surprising how it did not matter to him. If he was safe from the onslaught of the religious extremists (while living abroad), it did not mean that rest of the Ahmedis (with lesser or no means and who were still living in Pakistan) were safe. It is a fact that from that time onwards, Ahmedis were and are being singled out, targeted, discriminated or even killed in many cities of Punjab in particular and other provinces in general.

Mr. Virk did not have any further explanation, but he promised to find out what the reason could possibly be.

2) Another question, which was more of a disagreement, was put forward by Subuhi Ansari. She expressed her reservation and disagreement over the hasty generalization of Dr. Sohail, when he said, “Muslims are very sentimental people. They can have extreme attitudes of hate and love for their heroes and although they claim that they practice the religion of peace, their history is full of turbulence and violence, through ages”.

Subuhi called it a generalization of facts and said that we can not generalize this opinion about Muslims, as this is not true about Muslims only and many societies and religions, in the past and even now have been very brutal and are still practicing brutalities. Even a super power like US is included in the list of those countries which are extremely dictatorial in their attitude when it their economic interests are threatened or are in jeopardy, in any region of the world.

Amra Ahmed also had a similar reservation about Dr. Sohail’s remarks.

The seminar was concluded by the moderator, Mr. Ziauddin Ahmed with a word of thanks for all participants.


Ziauddin Ahmed . Moderator Introduction

Zakaria Virk 
Dr. Salam's contributions to the third world

Khalid Sohail 
A Prophet unrecognized in his own land.

Darakhshanda S Dr. Salam's contributions to the world of Science

Subuhi Ansari 
A Review on salam's Ideals's and Realities 




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