Tragedy of his mother’s death shook him completely and he decided to do something for people who continuously suffer from lack of availability of medical facilities that seal their fate and to do some good deed for his mother’s forgiveness. Abrar was thinking of what would be the most appropriate course of action for his mother forgiveness. He took his thought and in year 1996 discussed his vision with his brothers Maj. Israr-ul-Haq and Maj Anwar-ul-Haq, which was very positively received and later they agreed to form a hospital in her name. Same year on Ravian dinner he discussed his vision with Mr. Shahbaz Sheikh (General Secretary) and other friends and family members. In this period, however some friends joined hands to put a seal to the idea and Sahara started taking shape.
In early stages different people with different expertise were taken on board. So, on 15 June, 1998 he registered an NPO. The first registered office was 79, Kashmir Block, Allama Iqbal Town, Lahore. No operation was conducted from that address; it was just used for registration purpose. Intially Abrar was appointed as President and Mr. Chaudhary Muhammad Shafi (father) was appointed Vice President. As the work increased there was a need for an office. In …….. , 1st operational office was opened in Defence, address of which was Commercial area, Sector-2, Phase-2, Lahore. In beginning the only source of revenue was Abrar concerts, which was not enough. To cut the expenses, office was moved to Maj Israr-ul-Haq servant quarter on 169/1, Sarfraz Rafiqui Road, Lahore Cantt. The working continued from that office for a period of one year. In that office Abrar manager was looking after the matters under the supervision of management.
Trust was registered on October 16, 2000 and office was shifted to 2nd Floor, Gulberg Height Plaza, Gulberg-II, Lahore. At this stage Mr. Ch. Muhammad Shafi, Mr. Gen Saeed-uz-Zafar, Mr. Ashfaq, Mr. Lt Col Ch. Anwar-Ul-Haq, Mr. Maj Ch. Israr-Ul-Haq, Mr. Ch. Abrar-Ul-Haq, Mrs. Fouzia Israr, Mrs. Shakira Anwar, Mr. Zahoor Ahmad Gulraiz, Mr. Lt Col Mumtaz Iqbal Kahloon and Mr. Shehbaz Sheikh were the trustees.
In year 2001, UK office was registered under charitable law, with Mr. Abrar-ul-Haq, Lord Nazir, Sarfraz Anjum et al as Trustees.
Year 2003, first amendment was made which states that the head office should be in Lahore and 50-A, Bridge Colony, Lahore Cantt, Lahore was registered as head office, till date it remains same. List of trustees were amended as well. Gen Saeed-uz-Zafar, Lt Col Ch. Anwar-Ul-Haq, Maj Ch. Israr-Ul-Haq, Mrs. Fouzia Israr, Mr. Ch. Abrar-Ul-Haq, Mrs. Hareem Abrar, Mrs. Shaista Zia, Mrs. Ghazala Mumtaz, Mrs. Nasreen Akram Nawaz, Prof. Dr. M. H. Mubashar, Mr. Shehbaz Ahmad Sheikh and Mr. Azam Nazir Tarar became new trustees.
From day one, Executive Director Major (R) Israr-Ul-Haq was involved in trust affairs. When he was serving army, after his office timings he was looking after the matters of the trust. In 2001 he left army because he was posted to Peshawar and he would not be able to look after the matters of SAHARA. All operations, campaigns, office management, construction and extension of SSMC, Expansion of the projects, planning and implementation of different ideas, planning and collection of fundraising events, managing current funds and resources, preparing and launching of advertisement campaign, launching of SAHARA research and diagnostic centre, Pasror medical and training centre, planning, design and construction of Flood village, including houses design, planning and execution of distribution of food and shelter for the affected areas, designing of fiber glass and climate control houses including the transportation are some of the major activities he initiated. Without wasting a single penny, he introduced transparent, fool proof, monitored and controlled system for keeping a check on all activities.
In reorganization to services of Mr. Abrar Ul Haq towards Humanity because of which Organization of Islamic Council (OIC) has designated him as its first ever Humanitarian Ambassador of OIC on 11th January 2011 which is an honor not only for SAHARA but also for you and whole Pakistan.
Chairman SAHARA was awarded Human Rights excellence award by the Government of Pakistan on December 19, 2009.
In recognition of his outstanding talent and contribution in the field of music and dedication to human service, The President of Islamic Republic of Pakistan has been pleased to confer on Mr. Abrar-ul-Haq, the President’s Award for Tamgha-e-Imtiaz.
A 250 bed General Hospital at the outskirts of one of the remotest areas of Punjab. This hospital has an average monthly OPD load of 10,000 patients and to date more than 1,000,000 patients have been treated free of charge. This hospital is affiliated with Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) for training for House Job in all the basic modalities & with University of Health Sciences Punjab (UHS) for accreditation for graduate training programs in the fields of Emergency Medicine as well as Medical Laboratory Technology.
The hospital was meant to be a quality health service provider in the region where there are no such facilities available. Abrar named the hospital after his mother, Sughra Shafi Medical Complex.
Before the purchase of land a committee consisting of doctors was made who would be recommending the ideal spot for the land of hospital keeping in mind the vision of SAHARA “Reaching the Unreached”. Lahore and its surroundings were surveyed keeping in mind that the facilities should be state of art in remote areas. Narowal was recommended as it does not have any such facility nearby; it would be the next option closest to Lahore and for 40 lac people of the remote areas.
Waqt land was available but government did not approve the proposal, which lead to a major huddle. The amount which was saved for construction was not enough to purchase the land. Abrar from his own pocket purchased 40 kanals/5 acres of land for the hospital in district Narowal. He donated that land to the Trust.
The next stage was to make the design ready, for this purpose “Progressive Consultants” were hired. They used their professional tools to in designing a hospital which will be an example for others in all aspects.
After the completion of initial phase, comes the most demanding stage which demanded loads of commitment and revenue. Portfolios of different organizations were studied before Frontier Construction Company was approached. At that time SAHARA does not have budget for advance payment to the client. So a meeting of Board of Directors was called to discuss the issue. Mr. Ch. Muhammad Shafi, Mr. Gen Saeed-uz-Zafar, Mrs. Justice Qayyum, Mr. Ashfaq, Mr. Lt Col Ch. Anwar-Ul-Haq, Mr. Maj Ch. Israr-Ul-Haq, Mr. Ch. Abrar-Ul-Haq, and Mr. Shehbaz Sheikh were present at the meeting to resolve the issue. It was than finalized in the meeting that each trustee will be donating Rs.5 Lac for the construction advance, so that there won’t be any further delay in the project. Along with this act other efforts were made as well to work out the expenses. Meanwhile Mr. Abrar-ul-Haq signed a deal with a company for some handsome amount for his shows. The amount coming from that company was paid to the construction company and the construction work was started.
Because of the size of the project the construction was slow and it took more than two years for the hospital to be in a functional shape.
Inaugurated on 28th July, 2003 with 120/55 beds. OPD started with free treatment to 90% patients. When OPD started, some of the construction work was still incomplete but they made the hospital functional anyway because of the dire need that the local community had. Another issue, which caught their attention, was the induction of qualified staff members. As it was in rural area, there was little chance that specialist doctors would come to serve in Narowal. On the other hand a big hospital cannot function without constant income.
Governor of the Punjab Lt. Gen. Khalid and Chief Minister of the Punjab Ch. Pervaiz Elahi inspected SSMC on 16th July, 2005. Both acknowledged international standards of hospital.
In March 2006 a team of plastic surgeons from various British hospitals visited SSMC for 8 days and 66 children were treated for Cleft palate through plastic surgery. The team comprised of Dr. Michael Cater, Dr. Peter, Dr. Philipa Sawain, Dr. Alen Stedmann and three nurses Mrs. Karol Freeman, Linda Anil and Peri Boss. They were impressed by the level of health care facilities as being at par with developed countries like UK; in such remote under developed area of Pakistan.
The President of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, Formally inaugurated the Sughra Shafi Medical Complex on 11th April, 2007. The Chief Minister and Governor of Punjab also graced the occasion. The President announced a grant of Rs. 2 Crore for SSMC and called it a gift for the general public as it was making a difference between life and death.
National support wasn’t enough to cope with the flood disaster. SAHARA was requesting support from international community as well. The support provided by Canadian government wasn’t enough. Chairman SAHARA used his personal relations to invite Canadian parliamentarian for a visit in affected areas. The delegation after their visit put forward a report that the support provided wasn’t enough. On Chairman SAHARA’s request and keeping in mind they have doubled the amount.
Chairman SAHARA again used his personal relations to meet Crown Prince of Norway and requested him to waive off the loan of Pakistani Government. This was approved on immediate bases.
Prof. Dr. John Biggs from Austaralia visited SSMc in 2007 and presented his report to the President of Pakistan in which he encompassed his detailed views about the medical complex after his visit.
May 26, 2008 Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) visited Shugra Shafi Medical Complex (SSMC) to consider it as a teaching hospital.
Managing Director of Pakistan Bait-ul-Mall visited Shugra Shafi Medical Complex, Narowal. He expressed satisfaction on the arrangements of the complex. He was impressed by the free services being provided at the hospital and was full of praises for the efforts being carried out.