Accidental fire kills man

The news appeared in Daily Dawn 14 November 2008

SANGHAR, Nov 13: Former General Manager of the Pakistan Railways Yaqoob Ali Zardari died in an accidental fire in Jhando Khan Zardari village near Sarhari on Thursday.

Yaqoob Ali had taken his pedigreed dog for a stroll when area hounds tried to pounce on it. Just to scare the pack away, he hit a dog with his rifle’s butt. Somehow, trigger got pressed accidentally hitting the man in the chest. He was taken to the Aga Khan Hospital, Karachi but died.

Later, the body was brought to the village and buried in the local graveyard.


Yaqoob Zardari remembered

News appeared in the Daily Dawn 24th November 2008.


KARACHI, Nov 23 Speakers at a reference held here on Sunday paid tribute to Yaqoob Zardari for his services to Sindhi literature and history. Yaqoob Zardari recently passed away in Karachi.

The programme was organised by the Sindh Historical Society at the Mumtaz Mirza Hall.

Raees Hakim Ali Khan Zardari, who was the chief guest, said that Yaqoob Zardari was his brother and friend. He said that he was still mourning his untimely death and could not believe he was not in this world anymore.

Sindh Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq said Mr Zardari was an activist from his student days and he developed a taste for history during his service.

Those who paid tribute to late Zardari included DG culture Monis Ayaz, Suleman Chandio, Sikandar Zardari and Shahnela Zardari.

Yaqoob Ali Zardari (1946-2008)

This obituary was written by Momin Bullo and was published in the Oct-Nov 2008 Issue of The Reporter Magazine


Mr. Yaqoob Ali Zardari, renowned historian & a retired senior official of Ministry of Railways died on 12th November in a tragic incident. He leaves behind a widow, four sons & three daughters and a vast number of friends & fans to mourn his death. I first saw him in early 1980s when he used to visit his son and my fast friend Sikander Ali Zardari at Cadet College, Petaro.

He got his early education from his native village Jhando Khan Zardari near Sarhari, District Nawabshah. To seek his matriculation he moved to Nawabshah’s then famous DC High School headed by late HM Khoja. He secured his intermediate from Govt. College, Kari Mori, Hyderabad. He did his B.E (Civil) from Sindh University Engineering College in 1971, and was subsequently employed as sub-engineer in local government department in Sanghar. His stay in the local government department was brief and soon he qualified Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) & became Assistant Engineer in Railways. Major part of his service spent in Sukkur in different capacities.

His services mainly centered in his native province. However, whenever the wind blew hot (in the absence of PPP government) he was treated as a kin of Mr. Asif Ali Zardari and was often placed on undeserving positions. But he never cared about and remained engaged in his literary activities. His taste for history & heritage was unmatching.

It was due to his keen interest and diehard efforts that the then PPP government sponsored “International Seminar on Kalhora Rule in Sindh” in 1996. He acted as its Secretary and published and prefaced as many as four books on the subject. The pattern in chief of the seminar was none other but Mr. Asif Ali Zardari.

My series of meetings with Mr. Zardari at his Hyderabad based residence before his departure to Karachi to act as Project Director Rail Cop, I found in him a voracious reader and a copious writer. The fact I judged from his lengthy conversation interrupted with frequent references from my book “Charles Napier Khaan Muhammadmian Soomray Tain”. Infact, I didn’t give him the copy of the said book but he got it from other source and read it thoroughly. During our meetings we also discussed on number of literary issues and also planned to bring out the compilation of varied investigation reports of train crashes that took place in Pakistan. He also disclosed me for having a copy of investigation report of Lahore Mail derailment incident, which took place in 1964 near Oderolal. It is pertinent to note that late Jam Sadiq Ali and Shahnawaz Junejo and others were arrested and trialed in this case.

After his retirement couple of years ago he silently sat to write his autobiography and signed an agreement with a publisher. The fact became known to the entire family and the friends when the publisher appeared in his funeral and disclosed the matter to his elder son Muhammad Ali. The book has been almost composed & its rear part was awaited when the tragic incident took author’s life.

Mr. Yaqoob Ali’s elder sons: Muhammad Ali & Sikandar Ali are reportedly working on the formation of “Yaqoob Ali Zardari Memorial Foundation” to carry forward his literary works. The editor and the entire management of ’The Reporter’, express deep sorrow & grief over the sad demise of Mr. Yaqoob Zardari & pray May Allah rest the departed soul in His peace & give strength to the bereaved family to bear the loss.

Abbu you will never be forgotten

Was written on my father’s 3rd Death Anniversary 12 November 2011

On 1st February, 1946 a child was born to Jhando Khan Zardari in a small rural setting – Jhando Khan Zardari – named after his grandfather, nestled in Sanghar district, Sindh. Hailing from a purely rural based tribal family with agricultural lands as his livelihood, the little boy was passionate about acquiring education. His quest for learning made him walk to a nearby school, 10 kilometers away from his home until he cleared high school with distinction. There after he earned merit scholarships – always scoring 100/100 marks in math – to pursue his dream and ambition. He remained active in student politics during his university life where he faced imprisonment during the dictatorial regime of Zia ul Haq. Despite serving the jail term by the junta he never yielded to tyrant forces and remained an ardent supporter of a just and equitable system. After he graduated as civil engineer from Sindh University Engineering College in 1970, he worked with Sindh Government for a few years. Later, he joined Pakistan Railways through a nationwide competitive examination conducted by the Federal Commission where he reached the top most hierarchy of Pakistan Railways which is an ample proof of his leadership abilities and professional acumen.

On the intellectual front, he remained a keen student of history all through his life. He organised an International seminar on “Kalhora Rule in Sindh” in 1996 that was widely participated by scholars from India, Iran, Britain, and Germany etc. His commitment to learning was so intense that he completed a Master’s degree in General History and enrolled for a PhD program that could not materialize owing to his untimely death. He took up writing his autobiography soon after his retirement which, he never knew, could complete! It was 12 Nov 2008 when he left us all of sudden leaving us to mourn and cherish the pleasant memories with him. His work remains incomplete and has II volumes.

His relentless work ethics made him to reach the top echelon of Pakistan Railways, yet he led a modest life. His colleagues always speak of his sensitivity and compassion in his dealings with people and solving their problems as best he could. He volunteered in provision of facilities like schools, colleges, hospitals, roads, sanitation, electricity etc. His town where he grew up as a young boy depicts a picture of a modern village with almost all the basic amenities. He was a passionate supporter of female education, and was always countered by repulsive forces in a tribal society. He successfully managed to make education common in his tribe/area in particular and in the rural areas of Sindh in general. It is because of belief he instilled in his people several people from his village/tribe are now engineers, doctors, Phd Scholars, teachers etc.

He was a great father who taught to live a real life and inculcated confidence and independence in his children. I am lucky and proud to be the daughter of such a great person – Yakoob Ali Zardari. May God rest his soul in an eternal peace and may Allah give us the fortitude to bear the loss and carry on his mission forward. Ameen !

HEC should broaden its horizon

The letter was published in Daily Dawn in September 2010

This is in reference to the letter by Ali Khan (Sept 23). It is indeed a dilemma that a country where literacy rate is already too low is slashing the budget of the Higher Education Commission.

Thousands of scholars are studying abroad pursuing a PhD funded by HEC. If the Commission stops giving funds to the universities, the scholars will have to return home without getting degrees and hence billions of rupees invested in this regard will be wasted.

The Finance Ministry should provide enough money to the HEC to complete the ongoing projects, if not for new ventures.


United Kingdom

Dams and consensus

The letter was published in Daily Dawn on 1 February 2007

UMAD Mazhar has said the government should go with the project for the greatest interest of the people (letter, Jan 25). I disagree with him when he says that there is only a small fraction of society which is against the building of dams. National consensus is needed when such a big problem is handled.

It is evident from history that the due share of water for Sindh was not given to Sindh on many occasions. That has even been accepted by our president and now he says that he is ready to take the responsibility that no such thing will happen in future.

I am not against the building of dams but they should not be built without a national consensus. If consensus is not developed, we may have to face dire consequences. This may bring a further divide between the provinces. Farmers from smaller provinces should feel secure with the construction of dams and not threatened by it.


Changing status, new challenges

The letter was published in Daily Dawn on 3 May 2008

INCREASING literacy has somehow empowered women and they are making inroads into every sphere of life, earlier considered the exclusive domain of men.

Equality has not been achieved yet, but women have proved themselves as successful pilots, doctors, lawyers, journalists, entrepreneurs and technocrats. All this is not without a price.

In retrospect, women faced crimes transferred from old times and they demanded emancipation. The main causes of passed-on crimes were that women were considered superfluous and feeble.

They were stigmatised as ill-fated In recent times women are facing sorts of newly-created crimes linked with their independence because men are not ready to accept women as equal.

They think women equality has resulted in greater ignominy for them.

This is because of taboo behaviour of women being obsequious unskilled labour or housewives.

Patriarchal society is so often being condemned these days regarding the rights of women. The question here rises that is it only the archaic system which humiliates woman and does not recognise her basic rights?

The man-dominated society might have been a reason behind her not getting the respect that she actually deserves but it is in fact women’s disempowerment which promotes heinous crimes to be carried out against them without the fear of being punished.

Since childhood every girl is taught to respect or rather we can say fear the male members of the family.

Often she has to see her mother being browbeaten, humiliated and tortured by her father. Men whatever evil they do don’t leave a scar on the family’s face but if a woman seeks a judicial help, she is looked down upon and is accused of giving a bad name to the family.

Girls from the lower strata of society are denied their basic rights. So are well-educated girls from upper strata who are not even allowed to make a choice of a life partner or to pursue a career on their own.

A woman is rarely able to fight out her case in a court of law. The question that often haunts her is where she will eventually end up after winning the case.

Indeed it is a difficult question to answer. Daarul Amaan cannot be termed a haven for any woman coming from a sound family. The answer to this question lies in empowering women.

Women should not only be educated but should also be made financially independent.

Men greatly fear that if a woman will start working, she won’t allow herself to be humiliated or tortured by them.

NGOs that are working for women’s welfare should also launch some programmes to enlighten men about women’s right.

Law-enforcement agencies should also respect those women who seek their help in solving their problems.