Exactly at the same time when I had left PQA and joined Karachi fish harbour authority, my colleague Arshad (l have changed the name, because what I am going to mention now, is about a flaw in our democratic dispensation of governance), had also left PQA and joined Gwadar fish harbour on the same post of project director. And now when I had returned to port Qasim, he too had joined his parent department.
It was merely a coincidence, or at least this is what I had thought so. But there was an intriguing difference between the two of us. I had joined at the same position of executive engineer, whereas Arshad joined as member (land & special projects), a position three stages ahead of his original position of executive engineer on which he had left PQA four years ago. This was a new position created exclusively to accommodate the incumbent on temporary basis. The post was subsequently abolished after about two years when a clear post had fallen vacant. The post of member, which is now designated as director general, is next to the post of chairman. Many of his colleagues who were either equal to him or were his bosses and senior to him, had become his subordinates overnight.
Promotion on higher post by power
I had known him since the time we were students in engineering college Jamshoro. He was two years junior to me. He was quite active in students’ politics and at one time he was a forefront leader of Peoples students’ union, a student wing affiliated with Peoples Party. At the time of his graduation, Peoples Party was in power and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was the prime minister of Pakistan. Arshad didn’t have to wait for the job as he was immediately appointed as assistant executive engineer in the newly created PQA. And now again in June 1989, at the time of our repatriation to PQA, Peoples Party was in power and Benazir Bhutto had taken over as the prime minister in December 1988.
This reminded me of what my father used to say during his active service in Sindh government. He had told me that he was always victimized and superseded by his juniors during democratic governments and was considered on merit only during military occupations. This didn’t mean that we were against democracy and in favour of martial laws, but it was also a bitter fact that my father had considered himself safe and secure in military regimes, whether we liked it or not. And now sitting in 1989, the golden words of my father were reverberating in my ears. I was his son and politics was neither his cup of tea and nor was it mine.
Power of Politics
Such is the power of politics and such is the power of democracy in our beloved country, for which we leave no stone unturned in blowing its trumpet. We vouch for democracy and defend it with full might whenever we feel that democracy is in any danger of being wiped out. Arshad was a thorough gentleman and a friend of friends. Irrespective of our positions, he was respectful and had always regarded me with dignity and honour.