Crown Clinic’s consultant hair transplant surgeon Dr Asim Shahmalak has been reunited with the woman whose face he helped to rebuild following an horrific acid attack in Pakistan.
Dr Shahmalak flew to Karachi for an emotional reunion with Kanwal Qayyum, a mother of two.
She lost her nose after being doused with sulphuric acid by a jealous friend who did not want her to be an air hostess.
Dr Shahmalak was part of the team who have spent the past 11 years painstakingly rebuilding her face including completely remodelling of her nose with tissue from her thighs.
He created new eyelashes and new eyebrows for the 40-year-old free of charge with hair extracted from her scalp.
Dr Shahmalak, 61, best known for his work with celebrity hair transplant clients such as Jack P Shepherd from Coronation Street, said: “Kanwal is one of the bravest woman I have ever met. It was wonderful to hear how she has rebuilt her life following the attack and is now working successfully in a textile company.”
The medic – who was honoured by Prime Minister Boris Johnson two years ago with a Point of Light Award for his mercy missions helping acid attack victims – was also reunited with Niaz Bano, 52, who lost her left eye after being pelted with acid disguised in a cup of tea in a row over her daughter’s wedding.
Surgeons have spent the last ten years rebuilding her face and Dr Shahmalak filled in gaps in both her eyebrows with hair transplanted from her scalp.
He said: “Niaz’s face has been transformed by the surgery. She has bounced back brilliantly from the attacks and now runs a successful grocery store from her home.
“I gave some symmetry to her face by performing transplants on both eyebrows.”
Niaz said: “I love my new brows and it was great to meet Dr Shahmalak to say thank-you.”
Dr Shahmalak met several new patients who are seeking treatment in Pakistan with the charity Depilex Smileagain Foundation, which is run by businesswoman Masarrat Misbah with help from Asim’s brother Wasim.
New patients include Muhammad Usman, a 28-year-old computer designer, who lost an eye in an acid attack and has so far had four operations to rebuild his face.
Maira Afzal, 19, was just two years old when she fell in a hot oven made of bricks, losing all the hair at the front of her scalp. The team at Depilex are working with her to transplant new hair around her hairline.
Dr Shahmalak said: “I am part of a big team of surgeons who are doing everything we can to rebuild these people’s lives after acid attacks and tragic accidents.
“Sadly these acid attacks are increasingly common in Pakistan. You can buy deadly sulphuric acid for as little as 15p a bottle with no questions asked.
“I have travelled from Manchester several times with a team from Crown Clinic to perform surgery and we have been able to train local medics in our techniques.
“All the really hard work is done by Masarrat and her team at Depilex, who not only provide surgery but the practical support the victims need such as help finding a job after the surgery.”
Boris Johnson has praised Dr Shahmalak’s charity work, saying: “I know you do this with no thought of praise or reward, but allow me to offer my own recognition of how you are providing life-changing surgery to rebuild the faces of people in Pakistan who have experienced devastating acid attacks.”
Dr Shahmalak, a father of two, lives in Cheadle with his wife Rubina, who is a Manchester GP.