Qualification of an electoral candidate

It is being proposed by many people that the electoral candidates should be educated to master’s degree level. These people conveniently forget that Pakistan has a very low literacy rate compared to other South Asian countries. With such literacy rate we cannot expect to have many master’s degree holders. Any attempt by the Election Commission to implement such condition for contesting elections would leave only a handful of people who were fortunate to have been educated in a university to contest election. This will be unjust decision because still more than fifteen percent children had never been enrolled in any educational facility according to the Pakistan Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2011. If this demand of graduate candidates is fulfilled than later it will be demanded that since people with university education can take better decisions, therefore they should be the only ones casting votes. This will negate a basic rule of democracy which says “Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people”. The rule that the electoral candidate should be a graduate or postgraduate has not even been suggested in the most developed countries where every child is given equal right to education.



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 !