LAHORE - “Lahore has changed a lot since my last visit way back in 1978. The city today is much larger and crowded and definitely more polluted. What has not changed is the same hospitable and loving people, rich cultural heritage and delicious foods,” says Prof Michael J Hollands, President College of Surgeons Australia.

The world known surgeon visited Lahore yesterday for delivering lecture to the participants of Advance Trauma Life Support (ATLS) workshop arranged by College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan (CPSP).

During an informal talk with The Nation, the Sydney-based surgeon shared feelings of the recent and previous visits, interaction with local people, visits of buildings of historical significance and foods. “I was quite young when I first visited Lahore in 1978. Besides Lahore, I visited Peshawar and Federally Administered Tribal Areas. During three days stay in Lahore, I visited Shalimar Gardens, Badshahi Mosque, Fort and many historical buildings.

“Due to interest in history and prior understanding of events during Mughal and British regimes, that was a wonderful experience. I always wanted to come back due to delicious foods and interaction with cultured, loving and caring people who love to engage in fruitful talk,” Prof Hollands said.

He visited Pakistan for the second time about five years back but his visit confined to Karachi only. “I visited Pakistan to attend convocation of CPSP in Karachi. I could not come to Lahore due to hectic schedule,” he added.

“I immediately accepted the CPSP invitation to come to Lahore due to wonderful experience in the past. Travel warnings were not enough for me to miss the opportunity of coming to this city of rich cultural heritage and historical significance.

“Lahore has changed a lot since my last visit in 1978. But people and foods are the same. I enjoyed talking to people having lot of information and wonderful ideas. I always enjoyed tasty Pakistani food. My host facilitated me to take a round of Lahore, visit Fort, Badshahi Mosque, Museum and Shahi Hamam. It was a wonderful experience. I could not go to Shalimar Gardens due to ongoing construction activity. Hopefully, I will visit this historical garden next time,” he told The Nation.

Dispelling the impression of serious security threats, he said, there was no such thing as “I visited different parts of Lahore without any fear”. “Life is quite normal here. People are loving and caring and love to come back again and again,” the Aussie said.

He was all praise for CPSP for providing quality postgraduate medical education in the country and abroad. “Medical education, especially post-graduation, is of international standards. Doctors here are well equipped and trained. This is good omen for the healthcare sector in Pakistan.

“The only thing that perturbed me is excessive pollution. The situation is really alarming. Hopefully, the things will improve when I visit Lahore next time,” he further said.