Arriving Islamabad from Libya on February 1, 1983
Leaving POF and Wah Cantonment on August 10, 1994
Who Decided About Our Repatriation ?
Some time in early 1982, on verbal Instructions of some big of POF in Pakistan, our team leader had requested Libyan authorities to relieve our team so that it could be replaced by fresh team from Pakistan. Libyan authorities were of the view that the persons who were working with them right from the start of the projects in 1976 were useful to them while fresh persons would not be able to take their place. Our team leader appeared to have decided our repatriation in his mind. He kept on pressing the Libyan chief of the department but he did not appear to agree. Then, our team leader started pressurizing every member of the board of Libyan Military Industries. After several months’ persuasion, the Libyan authorities got fed up and decided to repatriate our whole team without replacement. A letter was sent to authorities in Pakistan in May, 1982 about repatriation arrangements, which was never answered in spite of many reminders sent by our team leader. Ultimately, Libyan authorities decided in December, 1982 to send us back without further waiting for a reply from Government of Pakistan.
I, with wife and children, left Libya on January 21, 1983 for Saudi Arabia and after and performing Umra and visiting Madina Munawara arrived in Islamabad on February 01, 1983.
Children’s Education Disturbed
Our team leader was of the view that we would leave Libya for Pakistan by the end of June, 1982. So, we were asked to get school leaving certificates of our children as the Pakistani school was to close for summer vacation on July 01, 1982. POF management, who appeared to be anxious to call us back, had totally forgotten about our team. Thus, our children remained without education for seven months.
In February, 1983, I got my children, Zakaria, Munira and Fowzi, admitted in a school little less that a kilometer from our house in Satellite Town, Rawalpindi. As they had left school in Libya in June, 1982, their 7 months of education were wasted.
Living at Rawalpindi
On arrival, we started living in house # F-625-626, Satellite Town, Rawalpindi and I did not apply for a house in Wah Cantt because my father was not willing to live in Wah if we shifted there. I had holiday up to March 21, 1983. In those days, I remained busy in setting up the said house.
Resuming Duty at POF
After expiry of my leave, I resumed duty in POF on March 22, 1983. For first 10 days I was not given any responsibility or work because Chairman, POF Board was outstation. I didn’t like to remain idle so Chief Admin Officer asked me to help in interviewing Secondary School pass candidates for selection as boy artisans. It gave me a new experience. I was to interview 800 students in one week. They had secured at least B-grade in the examination. I decided to ask only three simple questions from each candidate out of English language, Mathematics and Islamic Studies. Only very few answered all the three questions. Though, barring a few, they were all Muslim, only a few were able to answer the question in Islamic Studies, the Islamic studies book being only 50 pages. One candidate answered question of Islamic Studies correctly and with confidence. To know the depth of his knowledge, I asked him a few more questions which he promptly replied. The Admin Officer sitting by my side whispered in my ear, “Sir! He is a Christian”. I asked the boy, “I appreciate that, being Christian, you know so well about Islamic Studies”. He replied, “Sir! The Christian Studies book has 500 pages while the Islamic Studies book is only 50 pages, so to get good marks, I took Islamic Studies”.
Project – Technical Training
On April 04, 1983, I was assigned the project of establishing state-of-the-art technical training institute. I observed in the first few weeks that no body comes to the institute in time. Further, the students were awarded according to their connections with influential persons and the instructors. In practical, the workshop instructors used to do the job for the trainees for money of other benefits. It looked to me as horrible situation. I could not have imagined such a situation even in my dream. I made up my mind to put the house in order first the punctuality and attendance, then other things and of course the real work of designing courses to match the present day and future needs of technology and examination system was to be taken in the end but soon. Starting with the Vice Principal I followed downwards and was able to achieve punctuality and discipline in the institute by the end of my first three months there by advising them after presenting my personal example.
I also arranged sports first time properly and for all in the institute. I had to work very hard to establish every thing afresh. This changed the attitude of students and staff who were scared of me in the beginning. They became happy and always willing to do hard work. Having found during early 1985 that the Prime Minister, Muhammad Khan Junejo, was interested in boosting technical education, I submitted a proposal to him through our ministry for 20% technical teaching allowance which was accepted and implemented with effect from December 01, 1985.
After having designed all new courses of study and training and getting those approved, I set on with writing down examination system and division of marks. I was asked to include 40 marks for supports also. When I added up marks for all theory subject, practicals and sports, the total came to be 1160. To make it round figure of 1200, I added marks for Qira’at (recitation of Qur’aan) because Qur’aan recitation and Islamic studied was part of the syllabus and carried only 50 marks. While showing the distribution of marks to my boss, a Muslim, I told him that I had added 40 marks for Qira’at to make a round figure. He spontaneously remarked, “Abhi say mak-kari sikha do inhain (teach them cunningness right from now)”.
Getting on the wrong Side
A workshop comprising computerized numerical control (CNC) machines was to be set up for training artisans, technicians and engineers in CNC operations and programming. World-wide tenders were invited for a turn-key project. While proposals were being received in my office, an agent of a Czechoslovakian company visited me with a proposal and I was verbally advised by the then Chairman, POF Board to recommend that proposal for approval of the POF Board. That proposal was neither technically sound nor financially viable. I attached with that case a Swiss proposal which was technically very sound and had price about one-fourth of the Czechoslovakian proposal. After submitting the case to the Chairman through my boss, I proceeded for Hajj in August, 1985 which was already planned. When I came back in September, I had already been transferred out to MIS department and another gentleman had occupied my seat as Principal, Technical Training Institute. I had to visit the new incumbent to sign the handing / taking over document. He told me that he had recommended the Czechoslovakian proposal as he was directed to do so because he didn’t like to lose his job.
Transfer to MIS Department
Till my joining, Management Information Systems (MIS) department had computerized salary system of POF. I was given the job of computerization of inventory management system which, till that time was being considered an impossibility. Even computerization consultants had expressed that such large variety of inventory, in huge numbers coupled with colossal daily receipts and issues and scattered at seven distant factories, could not be put into an integrated computerized system.
With the grace of Allah, I dared to commit before the POF Board that I shall assist the consultants to take up and complete that project. I had to work 16 hours a day for six days of week and 8 hours on Sundays for one year and 12 hour per day during the second year and, with special blessing of Allah, very cordial help of two of my colleagues in stores department and hard work of MIS staff, we completed the project including data entry successfully by the end of year 1987.
A welfare-based computer training facility was established at Wah Cantt during 1987 which was first of it’s sort in the country. Thousands of graduate and Matriculate boys and girls benefited from it in the next four years. I was granted grade-20 on December 01, 1987. Later, the system was installed by MIS staff in three factories which were then connected through networking. Having done this, computerization of General Provident Fund of all the employees of POF was also completed by MIS staff. During 1988, CAD was taken up by a few selected mechanical engineers in MIS department after they were given short course in CAD.
Decided to Leave Service
The work went on well till in the end of 1990 I started feeling that my honesty and straight-forwardness was creating influential hidden enemies for me. On May 05, 1991 I felt that, if I do not quite, I may be falsely involved in some misdeed and thrown out or forced to leave. My boss, Chairman POF, a Lieutenant General who had taken over during 1988, used to sit late in his office. After the duty time was over at 2:15 PM, I walked to the Chairman’s office and handed over to him my application for requesting one year’s leave pending retirement and ultimate retirement. He was not willing but I convinced him saying that, in stead of getting involved in a scandal, it was better to leave honorably and serve my ailing father.
Death of Father and Job Offer
My father died on July 02, 1991. The Chairman was out of country at that time. After return he visited me in Islamabad for condolence. During mid-August, 1991, he again visited me and, while leaving, asked me to contact him on return to Wah Cantt. I returned to Wah Cantt in the end of September and before I could contact the Chairman, I received a call from him inviting me to visit his office. On visiting, he said, “We have a pile of files shuttling between POF and the ministry without final decision because the people in Admin are unable to spare much time. I have been told by several senior officers that you can handle such cases amicably. Now, after the death of father you have nothing to do at home, so please help us”. The Chief Admin Officer (CAO) was also present. I was given a target of 4 to 6 months. I, being still on government payroll, was not eligible for any payment for this work. I agreed to start the work from the next week.
Next week I was given a grand office, a personal assistant, a stenographer and other staff along with two computers. I visited the CAO who told me that they had 34 pension cases shuttling around for the last 10 to 14 years for want of a decision and, if I get 3 or 4 settled amicably in the next 6 months, that would be big progress. He sent all the connected files of those cases to my office, the paper volume enough to fill a car. It took me two weeks only to go through those files after which I fixed my own priorities and drew up a schedule of meetings with the concerned officers of the ministry. The Chairman who gave me the job was transferred out of POF and a new person took over as Chairman, POF Board, but I continued the work as it pertained to POF and not the Chairman.
With the grace of Allah, by the end of four months 14 cases were settled in favour of the concerned pensioners. The rest cases had incomplete documentation, so those were returned to the Admin department to locate the missing papers or get those documents issued fresh. I kept on helping the CAO and Secretary POF Board till end of July, 1992 as I planned to shift from Wah Cantt to Islamabad on August 04, 1992.
I had been given farewell party by my department and the POF as whole separately during 1991. On August 03 I received a call from the CAO that a number of friends were with him who wanted to see me on a cup of tea. I had no choice but to drive immediately to office of the CAO. On reaching I saw eight colleagues and a sumptuous tea waiting for me. At the end the CAO gave me two closed envelopes saying that one was from the previous Chairman and one from the present with the words that there was nothing urgent and that I should see those when I get time at home. The envelop by previous chairman contained a check for Rs 40,000/- and a note saying that he was sorry for meager compensation of work but he had to leave immediately and could not get more than this amount sanctioned as honorarium at one time from the concerned authorities. The other envelop had a letter in it saying that I had been appointed as Director, POF Welfare Trust with effect from August 04, 1992. Welfare Trust was a non-government organization under the control of POF Board.
So I retired from government service in the evening of August 03, 1992 and started working as Director, POF Welfare Trust with effect from August 04, 1992 morning which continued for two years. I took a week for packing up and left the government provided large bungalow in Wah Cantt to settle in my ancestral house (my present residence) in Islamabad on August 10, 1994.