Ghulam Qadir


Dr. Ghulam Qadir is a psychiatrist who helped create Michigan’s patient bill of rights; he served as a vice chairman of Controlled Substances Advisory Commission for the State of Michigan for four years.

I was the first in my family to finish elementary school. I walked three miles each way to get to school. At the ages of five, six, or seven, you don’t want to go to school. I wanted to be a farmer.

I asked him why I had to go to school. My father replied, “You can always come back to farming.”

Coming from an uneducated family, my dream was to see them all become professional or business people. It took a long time, but that’s exactly what happened. So, education is very important to me.

I was the middle child. My brother was the third one. There was a difference between us: I’m more reserved, he’s more open. I thought that he would be the leader of the family.

I was here in the U.S. when my brother wrote me a letter saying, “Get me out of here. I think my life is in danger.” He implicated our neighbors. I laughed. “You must be crazy. We have a good relationship with them. We helped take care of them.”

I literally ignored it. He was killed at the age of 22 by the same people. I spent six months in Pakistan to see that they got the punishment they deserved. But there was no justice.

It happened on Jummat ul Wida, the last Friday of Ramadan. That was always a difficult time for me, afterward. [I wasn’t] interested in doing anything. I always kept it to myself.

I used to have nightmares. My wife is a therapist, and we’d talk about it.


I had a classmate who was with me from sixth grade onward. He was a better student than me. We went to same school and college. We both had the chance to go to medical school. I went, but he couldn’t because of financial issues.

While I was visiting Pakistan years later, I ran into some of my classmates. They said he had became mentally ill, and was on the street. It had an effect on me. We decided to start a scholarship fund.

It costs only $500 a year to put someone through medical school in Pakistan. But there were not many people who were willing to donate.

My wife suggested, “Why don’t you name the scholarship for your brother?”

We started with 20 scholarships. A couple of years later, one of my class fellows wrote me a letter saying he was willing to donate one million dollars in matching funds.

I thought we could raise the money, but others in my alumni association did not. Ultimately, we [did] raise the funds. We’re now educating 200 medical students every year.

Well, that got rid of my nightmares. My brother is gone, but at least there is something in his name.