Having travelled, served in more than 150 countries Dr. Sohail Nasti , doctor turned pilot and eminent philanthropist is a personality of great caliber, dynamic nature who has made Kashmir proud .Pertinently, one among the world’s highest paid professionals.
In an exclusive interview with the News Kashmir, Dr. Sohail Nasti talks to Rameez Makhdoomi and Farzana Mumtaz .
Tell us a bit about your early life and especially childhood days and academic life?
As a child I was a kind of naughty kid. We have a highly educated family with 30 Doctors in family. My parents are quite knowledgable so competition was always high and we have had quite a vibrant literary atmosphere at home.
So we can say that your bright child?
The words like bright come into picture once you grow up especially after teenage, so I would say that I was under kind of good guidance of my parents and excelled well in studies.
How did the transition happened from Doctor profession to pilot, which seems quite interesting?
Well at my time I was the only rheumatologist outhere in Kashmir. My post graduation research topic happened to be “ Post Trauma related bone inflammatory diseases” and this took me to conflict zones like Iraq, Afghanistan. What happens in a conflict zone is that tremendous amount of stress leads to bone decay and after witnessing this much of pain and trauma I began to take interest in aviation and became a rescue pilot for UN related missions and US army at a time when world was stigmatizing Muslims as terrorists post 9-11 attacks. I took the challenge and considering my Disaster specialty I made the decision to train as a pilot.
Where from philanthropy idea came ?
Basically, I had since teenage this inception to mitigate the human sufferings and be an agent of positive change for humanity .I joined bigger platforms so that I could do it in a better way .
So, what motivated you to start Motherage Helpage ?
I started this after I lost my mother and took a pledge to do something good for suffering humans and accordingly it evolved as we currently work in more than 20 countries to help people in need via different projects.
You have also met the legend of humanitarian aid Abdul Sattar Edhi, share that experience with us?
I was invited by Imran Khan to visit Pakistan .Imran Khan has been my mentor apart from his political career .And when I was in Pakistan I was invited to Karachi by late Edhi sahib after hearing about my passion towards philanthropy; so I visited Karachi where I met great Abdul Satar Edhi, May Allah flourish his eternal journey. I was 20 years old when I met him. He advised me to be humanitarian worker from conscience and never keep money a concern and his acknowledgment of my aspirations was great boost for me.
As an analyst what have you found is ailing the Middle East ?
I would like to say based on my personal experience that present day Muslims are more emotional than being clinical and we are divided. It is easy to manipulate us via propping up of sectarian differences. From Iraq to Yemen, Palestine to Egypt Middle East is burning due to these facts . Also, big powers rather than investing on positive things like human index development, innovations .property development are investing in drugs and weapons.
The playground of these activities unfortunately happens to be mostly Muslim lands and with ever increasing greed of bigger powers to extract gold, minerals and other natural resources the Muslim lands became more vulnerable .Until we don’t understand our duties and take a wisdomful path we will continue to suffer.
You come from South Kashmir and since you have study, vision on narcotics and drugs how big is the problem there?
The narcotics and drug related problem is huge in South Kashmir as it is pinnacle of the narcotic supply . The problem is cultivation is happening there and youth are acting as courier of these illicit substances. I have spoken to the Police department and we are launching narcotics unit there. Different unpleasant, harmful substances are used by youth as drugs there .South Kashmir has bore huge brunt of conflict so accordingly drug issue has augmented .
What are the main projects of mother helpage going on ?
We are focusing on youth development initiative and provide them means of education, sports so that to bring them out of stress. In this regard, we have development projects with education ministry like school refurbishment, safe drinking water and work on narcotics and drug issue.
Overall, we want to work on community development and not going into that whatever political problems, future we have .We as motherhelpage are determined to work for community development in the state.
Do you believe we in Kashmir are just after constructing palatial houses and not travelling much?
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has taught us to travel so in order to learn. We in Kashmir and some other areas of world are having this drawback of falling to trap of false ego and not evolving due to lack of travel. Travel shapes our personality positively and even at larger level due to concentrating less on travel, knowledge and research we Muslims since hundreds of years have not produced a quality scientist, researcher or historian .
You also provide assistance to Rohignya refugees ?
Yes we have supported them since last five years in Jammu and provided them relief especially in winters – on and off basis .We also provide relief to poor Pandit families, Hindus in Jammu .There are no boundaries to humanitarian work and I work, reach to people irrespective of religion and race.
Has Kashmiri Diaspora failed in its duty towards Kashmir?
Yes overall Kashmiri Diaspora has failed and limited itself to tokenism and as a person who has travelled more than 150 countries I have found Kashmiri diaspora has limited itself to mere photo sessions and not given back much to its land.