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.