Banking hours for employees

The letter was published in Daily Dawn on 31 August 2013

This is apropos Hasan Shariq’s letter ‘Banking employees’ woes’ (Aug 27). The writer has well described the woes of the bankers.

I second his argument that the State Bank of Pakistan is extremely strict about bankers arriving at their workplace before 9 o’clock.

The job nature of bankers does not allow them to leave their work place during office hours in spite of the fact that the banks usually require their staff to be in office after office hours.

One may usually find the bank staff in their respective branches till 8pm. Decisions to open branches on Sundays usually happens for the collection of income tax and other government duties.

As a regulator senior SBP officials should make surprise visits to banks after office hours and if any staff is found in any bank’s premises, the bank should be fined.



Democracy in parties

The letter was published in Daily Dawn on 11 January 2008

THIS is apropos of Shahid Javed Burki’s article, ‘The obligation of political parties’ (Jan 8).

Mr Burki said he had given a presentation to the President-General (at that time) Pervez Musharraf about the implementation of a code of conduct drafted by himself and Mohammad Waseem.

I do not agree with his claim that the codes should be implemented by a person who has derailed the democratic process in Pakistan forcefully.

Further, if you state that democracy in political parties should come first, then I should add that there has always been democracy in the political parties of Pakistan as the Central Executive Committee of the Pakistan People’s Party has reposed their full confidence in its new chairman, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

Please don’t always blame the political structure of Pakistan.

Let democracy reign in the country, and see that the other two forces – capital accumulation and human development for economic progress and modernisation – will also develop.


Warm hospitality

The letter was published in Daily Dawn on 21 December 2010

IN May 2008 China’s provinces Gansu and Sichuan had a devastating earthquake. The government of Pakistan had helped its brothers and sisters in China to overcome the miseries of that disaster.

To compliment Pakistanis, the Gansu province of China renamed their annual international sister city cultural exchange programme to cultural exchange programme. The programme was meant to invite the youth of different countries to see the Gansu province and the culture and traditions of Chinese society.

I was one of the Pakistani delegates who represented Pakistan in Gansu’s 2008 cultural exchange programme. I still remember the warm hospitality extended to the delegates by the government of Gansu, especially to Pakistani delegates.

Now when the prime minister of China visited Pakistan the other day, I would thank the people of Pakistan for extending their warmest hospitality
and would like to advise both the governments of China and Pakistan to work on such exchange programmes to groom agriculturalists, students, scientists, engineers, doctors, businessmen, military, etc.


Threat to the king

The letter was published in Daily Dawn on 12 December 2007

BAIRAM Khan, the Iranian noble, played a very important role in establishing Akbar’s rule in India during his early years in power. He asked the king to execute Hemu which Akbar refused and he himself went and decapitated Hemu.

This act posed a challenge to the king’s authority. He asked Bairam to go for Haj. Bairam Khan was executed on his way to Makkah.

This is one example when anybody who posed to be a threat to the king’s authority was given a chance to go for Haj and then disappeared.

The news of the Saudi ambassador meeting deposed chief justice Iftikhar, who declined a Haj invitation, sounds much like Bairam Khan’s story. It seems that we as a nation have not been able to come out from the primitive ages.

Today when we call the doffing of Musharraf’s uniform a ‘big step’, only God knows how many centuries it would take to get out of the authoritarian rule and bring true democracy where people will be allowed to decide and not be persecuted for belonging to different schools of thoughts.


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.


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.


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