0.1 INDEX
0.2 DEDICATIONS
0.3 INTRODUCTION
1.0 AMERICAN POLITICAL SYSTEM
2.0 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
3.0 AMERICAN LEGAL SYSTEM
4.0 PAKISTAN AND THE MUSLIM WORLD
5.0 PEOPLE WHO TOUCHED MY LIFE
6.0 HEALTH AND SOCIAL ISSUES
7.0 MONEY AND BUSINESS
8.0 POEMS BY MANZOOR A. MEMON

PHOTOS
ARTICLES
CERTIFICATE & LETTERS
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Published Book, Part I, Part II, Part III
 

PEOPLE WHO TOUCHED MY LIFE

Memons of Shikarpur

       The word Memon means the army unit fighting on the right side of the commander. The Memons of Shikarpur migrated from Rani Pur, Khairpur Mirs District. Calipho Mohammad Hassan Memon the 6th generation of Memon’s was appointed as the Calipho (custodian) to the Dargah of Rani Pur. The Memon Klan supposedly migrated with the army of Mohammad Bin Qasim as his unit fighting on the right and started being named as the Memons. After Calipho Mohammad Hassan Memon passed away, his son, Calipho Mohammed Bachal, took over as the custodian; however, he decided to move to Shikarpur, Sind, due to some unknown reasons. He had eight sons and two daughters.

Moulvi Abdul Rehman, the eldest son and a religious scholar, devoted his time to study Islam. Moula Bux Soomro, former Chief Minister of Sind, was one of his students who acquired basic Islamic education from him. He survived with one son, Haji Karamullah Memon, who later became a public servant by joining Provincial Civil Service (PCS). Haji Karamullah Memon had six sons and one daughter. Shabir Ahmed is a Professor of Electrical Engineering Mehran University of Engineering; late Irshad Ahmed was an engineer and worked for Pakistan Machine Tools Factory. Manzoor Memon is an engineer and the author of the book in your hand. Dr. Muzafar Hussein is a Dental Surgeon and an assistant Professor at Liaqat Medical College. Shahid Hussein is an engineer at Hyderabad Development Authority; and Aamir Memon attained a Masters degree in Business Administration and is presently working as Financial Advisor at Houston’s Vocational Institute. Karamullah Memon’s only Daughter is married to Rafique Ahmed Memon from Hala who is an electrical engineer living in Karachi.

 

Moulvi Abdul Haque, who also devoted his life to Islamic studies, was an authority over interpretative studies of the Holy Quran. He was very famous of his dedication, as he would recite the holy Quran even in his sleep. His only daughter is married to his nephew Azizullah Memon who abandoned her after few years of their marriage.

Moulvi Rehmatullah was involved in local politics and was elected chairman of Shikarpur municipality and remained a member of City Council until he passed away. Several buildings and a street of Shikarpur were named after him.

Haji Wali Mohammad became a wholesale cloth merchant and supported the family. However, he moved to Larkana during 1946–1947. He had two children Abdul Fatah Memon, who was the general secretary in the Pakistan Muslim League and Ambassador of Pakistan to Saudi Arabia, and Nizamuddin Memon, who was an advocate in Larkana, also the advisor to Late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Prime Minister of Pakistan. Abdul Fatah Memon has eight sons and one daughter: Dr. Ghulam Ali, FRCS a surgeon in London; Ali Nawaz Memon, a senior World Bank Financial Analyst, former chairman of National Power Regulatory Authority in the Government of Pakistan, and an author of two books; late Ali Raza Memon, a businessman; Sikander Ali, Petroleum Engineer, now a businessman in Cairo Egypt; Shafqat Ali, Chief Financial Officer in Islamic Bank Bahrain; Major Mohammad Ali, retired from the Pakistan Army now working with Pakistan General Tires as Chief Security Officer; Shaheen is a banker; and Dr. Jamal Nasser is a skin specialist. The only daughter is married to Anwar Memon, who is President and CEO of an environmental engineering firm in Toronto, Canada.

Nizamuddin Memon has two sons and two daughters. His son, Khalid Iqbal Memon, is an advocate and is a serving member of the Pakistan National Assembly representing the Pakistan People’s Party from Larkana, Sind. His son Pervaiz Memon is a marine engineer by education but handles family agricultural land.

Abdul Rasool also worked with Haji Wali Mohammed as a cloth merchant. He had two sons, late Attaullah, who practiced law in Larkana; and late Zahoor Ahmed, who joined Jamit-i-Islami and remained their local leader.

Moulvi Abdul Haque, who also devoted his life to Islamic studies, was an authority over interpretative studies of the Holy Quran. He was very famous of his dedication, as he would recite the holy Quran even in his sleep.

 Khuda Bux was a Hakeem. He has one son Ghulam Mustafa Memon retired Mukhtiarkar, with five sons and three daughters. Shukat Ali Deputy Director WAPDA, Akhtar Ali Revenue Officer WAPDA, Dr. Imtiaz a practicing physician, Riaz Ali Divisional Engineer Pakistan Telecommunications, Irfan Ali Engineer with NESPAK

Fazullah also was part of the family’s business. He had two sons: Azizullah Memon an advocate in Quetta, who later on became Attorney General for Baluchistan; and Tariq Ahmed, who is presently serving as deputy collector in revenue department of Sind.

Calipho Mohammad Bachal married twice and had his eight sons Muhammad Ibrahim from his second wife.

The Soomros of Shikarpur

Moula Bux Soomro, Ahmed Mian, Illahi Bux, and Mohammad Mian Soomro

Moula Bux Soomro, one of the few people from Shikarpur, had been involved in politics since pre-partition days. He served as Chief Minister of Sind besides serving as member of various provincial and national assemblies. Moulvi Rehmatullah Memon, brother of my grand father, served with him on various positions in Shikarpur Municipal Committee. Moula Bux Soomro was student of my grand father, Moulvi Abdul Rehman. From him he acquired Islamic education and knowledge of Holy Quran.

This is the reason the Soomro family has high regard for our family, particularly my father.

Besides his political career, Moula Bux was very much interested in herbal medicines. He had developed some stimulants extracted from pearls, which he presented to the rich and famous. As a young boy, whenever I visited his house, I witnessed many people working on those recipes, called Kushta in our native language. Including President Ayub Khan, many politicians, government officials, and army generals were his friends due to a constant supply of these medicines to them. He, in collaboration with Hakeem Moulvi Fazalullah Soomro, an expert in herbal and Greek medicines; developed some stimulants that were in high demand by the older men to satisfy their urges.

Moula Bux Soomro made ground for his family’s political dynasty and produced politicians like his son Ahmed Mian, Illahi Bux, nephew Rahim Bux and grand son, Mohammad Mian.

Perception has been that the Soomros always gave consent to the party in power and were the few Sindhi leaders who were always bestowed a green signal by the army high command. This is the reason why they always enjoyed power in every administration except during a democratically elected government.

Ahmed Mian Soomro, son of Moula Bux Soomro, was originally from Shikarpur but migrated to Jacobabad. He was a practicing attorney and was one of the few attorneys my father became friendly with. During my father’s posting in Jacobabad as Additional District Magistrate, we used to visit Ahmed Mian’s house almost two three times a week. I recollect that he was a very soft spoken and friendly person. In the political circles as well as in general I have never heard any thing but positive about him.

Illahi Bux Soomro, an engineer by profession, became Principal of NED Engineering College, and once in politics, has served at various federal levels and was Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan. I met him only for a short while so cannot form any opinion to write.

Mohammad Mian Soomro, son of Ahmed Mian, has been serving as Chairman Senate in Pakistan. He has been educated in the U.S.A. and worked in the banking industry. He served as Governor of Sind and at various levels of government during army backed governments. I met him during his visit to Houston when I accompanied him for three days. Like his father, he was very humble and friendly and gave opportunity to everyone. I found him very patient during photo sessions with the general public.

Mohammad Mian was kind of reluctant to discuss any issues about Sind. During his lunch speech with Asia society, I publicly asked him to discuss the Kalabagh dam issue. His response was very shallow in this respect. Moreover, during private discussions when I inquired him of the issue of donkey carts in Shikarpur that restricted any motor vehicle from entering the city limits, he did not show much care about the local problems. I suggested him to initiate a Suzuki mini truck program by the Government as it could put an end to a lot of local problems; however, he did not pay much attention to this either and had a good time and returned to Pakistan. Senator Azam Khan Swati, who had financed his trip, entertained him. Ashraf Abbassi, brother in law of Senator Swati, had also been entertaining him from time to time by inviting him to Washington DC to achieve their personal political objectives in Pakistan.

As a native from Shikarpur, I do not have very high regard for the Soomro family. The reason is very simple: they lack a certain sense of public service, as they have not done much for the people even to those of their own constituency. Keeping in mind the fact that their family has enjoyed power since the creation of Pakistan, I cannot find a single initiative on their credit observed for the betterment of their city. The Soomros always got representation in every non-elected government. In 1971, when Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples Party’s won majority vote in West Pakistan, most of the Soomros contesting in elections, lost their seats from Shikarpur. The main reason was that they never worked for the general public but catered to the needs of the etablishment. This might be the reason that in any fair elections they do not have a chance to win any elected office. In short, this family served themselves and history will always remember them as the followers of the army junta.

The Kazis of Hyderabad

Like the Soomros of Shikarpur, the Chowdhrys of the Punjab, the Kazis of Hyderabad were always in power when a non-democratic government was installed in Pakistan. Kazi Akbar, the lead person of this family, had been involved in political affairs since partition days and was one of the most favorite persons of the army junta and served as Federal and Provincial minister at many occasions.

The biggest contribution of this family was to publish a Sindhi daily newspaper Ibrat that served the people of Sind as well as served this family to keep a tight grip on the local and national political power. The next generation of this famous family has established two television channels which are serving the people of Sind in promoting their culture that was previously overshadowed by the government-sponsored television stations promoting Urdu and ignoring all the regional languages.  No family can match this clan’s contributions in the field of media and promotion of Sindhi culture. This family has acquired high level of education and many of their members achieved foreign education and are serving at high-level government positions.

Kazi Akbar build the first multi story centrally air-conditioned hotel named “Hotel Orient” in mid 60’s by securing large loan from Sind government Co-operative Department. However, most of politicians, who receive such loans as kickbacks, forget that one-day they have to pay back the loans. Kazi Akbar with his power kept on postponing the due payments of the loan until my father became Registrar of Co-operative Societies Sind in the mid 70’s. As my father was given a special assignment to go after all the defaulters of co-operative loans, he put his full attention on to the major culprits who were rich but not paying the government loans.

Kazi Akbar was issued a notice and he, as usual, ignored it not knowing that my father would go ahead with the rules and auction his hotel to the highest bidder to collect the government money. Kazi Akbar with all his political connections could not stop the process and lost the property and a landmark of Hyderabad was taken over by someone else.

This was again a magnificent example of my father’s honesty and integrity. He could have kept quiet like many of his predecessors in exchange for some financial favors but, in contrast, maintained his high standard of righteousness. For bureaucrats, this is a holy war either to be part of the dishonest system to grow rich and achieve higher positions, or to remain isolated and be deprived of promotions by keeping their honest ethics to serve the people for which they were appointed as public servants not their masters. My father was a solo example of part of this holy war and served honorably and impartially.

Amber Memon

My wife and soul mate who is blessed with angelic features

My meeting with Amber is a mystery for me even up to today. During my job as Engineer in Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), I had a friend, a flight engineer. He lived in Karachi Administrative Society with a family as paying guest. During one of my visits to him, he introduced me to the family where I met with one of the girls of the family. The visits revealed to me that the family was interested in me and was trying to come to a ground to get me married to their daughter. One day we were taking an evening walk in the neighborhood, when she pointed to a house where, she said, a friend of hers named Amber lived there.

After a few weeks, while passing through the street, I, outside Amber’s house, met a flight engineer, late Faheem Lodi, an acquaintance then working in PIA. He was Amber’s brother in law. He invited me in the house for a cup of tea. This was my first visit and meeting with Amber’s family that consequently ended up in a relationship.

The girl who was instrumental to introduce me to Amber and her family was very disappointed by this unlikely happening, but this is an excellent example to quote that God makes the couples in heaven. It is only the matter of right time and right place that your soul mate joins you in the journey of life.

Amber was born in 1961. Her mother, Dr. Jamal Yusuf, gave her under the care of her parents to remarry with late Ahad Yusuf, former Mayor of Hyderabad and Provincial Minister of Health for Sind. Amber’s father passed away and her maternal grand father, Syed Akhtar Yusuf, raised her. Syed Akhtar Yusuf was a retired Army major; he worked as General Manager for His Highness Mir of Khairpur Mirs; he also served as General Manager, Pakistan Shipping Corporation. He retired in 1971, after the separation of East Pakistan, and took the last outbound flight from Dacca to unite with his family. Amber lived with her two aunts and an uncle and four grand mothers in the same house. After Dacca’s fall, Major Yusuf lost most of his savings and lived very modestly until he moved to USA where also he could not rise and passed his life in seclusion and passed away in Houston a few years ago.

Amber was brought up like a princess as she lived with four wives of Major Yusuf who married a dozen times and had children from each wife, surprisingly, all of whom living under the same roof. Amber was educated in St. Joseph convent school in Karachi and went to the same college until she was married to me. She was only 16 years old then.

Amber gave birth to two of our children Rakib and Sana and we all immigrated to the U.S.A. and have been in the United States of America since 1980.

Since Amber’s childhood everybody had been of the opinion that she had strange annotations and observations because whatever she said, it came to happen. It is because of this foretelling of hers that she was cursed by the people as someone who spoke the tongue of evil. In our language it is called Kali Zaban. However, no one knew that she did not have an evil tongue but positive gift to foresee one’s future.

During our earlier years of marriage, we were busy in raising kids and moving from Pakistan to the U.S.A. This kept us too involved so I could not realize what special gifts Amber actually possessed.

My first experience of this realization process happened in 1988 when I asked her about two of my partners in business: Rafique, a very energetic and hard working person, and Asim, a laid-back, low-profile person. I liked to work with Rafique due to his special qualities. Amber told me that Rafique would cheat on us in business whereas she predicted of Asim to be very honest to me. At the end of the day, Rafique embezzled about $ 30,000 from the company and Asim returned a loan of $10,000 to the company, which I had forgotten to bring on the record books. If he had not mentioned it at the end of the project, he could have walked away with an extra $ 10,000.

In 1989 I visited Los Angles on a business trip. My return flight was supposed to arrive in Houston at 10 p.m. and I should have been at home by 11 p.m. However, my meeting ended earlier and I took an early flight and landed in Houston at 7 p.m. I had a friend who owned a club. He always invited me to visit him. I thought it to be a good opportunity to call upon him that day. I spent my extra time from 7.30 p.m. to 10.30 p.m. with him and arrived home at my scheduled time: 11 p.m. As soon as Amber opened the door, she asked me which club I had been. Being confused, I denied the charge and lied to her that I was coming straight from the airport. To my amusement she said: “I saw your plane landing in Houston at 7 p.m.” I still denied her statement and told her that she was insane. She never argued and never repeated her comments. I just started wondering how, in the world, she found out the truth.

Amber is a very religious-minded woman. She prays five times as well as observes the Namaz-i-Tahajjid, a special prayer performed just after mid night besides the five mandatory prayers every Muslim is to perform.  Due to her insight into religion, people always approach her for spiritual guidance.

One day, we visited a Hindu priest in his temple. When we entered his office, he asked me a strange question: “I invited two of you; who is the third one you have brought with you.” I freaked out, as there was no one with us. Later on a Christian clairvoyant and psychic, S.L. Harribance President of Sean Harribance Institute for Parapsychology, Inc, told Amber that she had extraordinary gifts and she should meditate and develop her skills. I kept on pursuing her to work on her skills and she started seeing clients and since then have been helping so many people. Here are a few of her cases. The names of the clients have been withheld.

A girl came to see her. She was not able to conceive though had been trying to have a baby for the five years of her marriage. Amber told her that she had been molested by someone and had gone through a trauma. Due to this sexual contact, she actually hated to have copulation and had no way to conceive. Initially, she denied but after a few sittings, she revealed that the husband of her eldest sister, the bread provider of the family, started molesting her since she was only 13 by forcing her to have intercourse. Later on, this perverted man forced her to bring her other two sisters for the same purpose and kept on molesting all the three sisters. Due to this trauma, she could not have any relationship with her husband. Amber told her that she needed to confront her perpetuator to have peace with herself. She kept on promising Amber to counter the person responsible for her problem but could not confront him and her family. Unfortunately, the sinner passed away before she could reveal this traumatic situation to anyone. Later on, she, along with her other two sisters, confided with her eldest sister and revealed all the details of her husband’s sinful life and came to a closure. Immediately after that, she conceived and strangely delivered a baby boy on the same day as Amber was born.

A Muslim married woman came to see her and told her various problems and asked Amber for guidance. As soon as she started her sessions, Amber told her that her basic problem is infidelity with her husband. She denied the charge and insisted that she was very honest with her husband. To break her consistent lying streak, Amber told her the name of the man whom she was having sexual contact with. She was very upset and started screaming and crying. Later on she confessed that she was having an extra marital affair very discreetly but that no one knew about it. She kept on questioning Amber about the source of her information. She could not believe that Amber acquired this information from her inner sources. She was so upset by the leak that for the next few hours, she kept on trying to pinpoint the source of her leak rather than admitting that God gives gift to some people who could see what a naked eye cannot. In the Holy Quran it is very clearly stated that God knows knowledge of the unknown only and only by those dear ones whom God decides to bless with a part of His gifts. Fanatic people always confront Amber with a shout out that she is doing wrong and it is against the will of God to pursue the unknown. But they forget that she is helping the people to solve their problems. So many people think she indulges in witchcraft and try to hurt her feelings. But they do not know that she does help people and has no financial gains from this practice.

In another case, one of our spiritual friends recommended a girl for my son to get married. We visited the family briefly and later on invited them to our house. Just after a few minutes of their arrival, Amber asked the mother of the girl where her husband was. She responded to her that he lived in Karachi and had not moved here as yet. Amber immediately corrected her and said: “Yes, I know he is in Karachi but he is in a jail (Penitentiary) and was arrested for smuggling drugs.” The woman got so overwhelmed that she fell over Amber’s feet and kept on begging her not to say anything to anyone. Later on she confessed that her husband was a drug smuggler. Though very rich in his good days, was now serving time. Superficially, the girl looked so delicate that if Amber had not had this gift, I would have settled my son with this family without any hesitation.

One of my biggest regrets has been to get my son married without asking Amber while I was in Pakistan. The day Amber met the daughter in law, she told me that she had been forced to marry our son and that this relationship was not suitable for our family. Later on it was found that she was in love with someone else. Her father forced her to marry my son mainly for the money and for the reason that she could help the family to migrate to the U.S.A. My son had to divorce her and we were saved from a lot of future misery. However, it cost us at least $ 50,000 for the wedding.

          As far as politics is concerned, Amber has always predicted about candidates and foreseen the results of many elections. I always seek for her advice, as she was 100% sure about Lee Brown and Bill White’s win as Mayor City of Houston. During the third election of Mayor Brown, one day his opponent Orlando Sanchez met us in a charity gala. When I told him about Amber’s vision, he asked her about his election. Amber replied to him: “I see you winning first but losing later on.” Orlando Sanchez and even I myself could not understand what it meant. Amber could not explain to him what she just said. After some time, I came to a realization as to what she meant that he would win the first election but lose the run off election.

Similarly, Amber made predictions about President Clinton that he would be impeached and later on exonerated from the charges. I wrote down all the predictions she made for President Clinton and mailed him a letter. I never received the response but on the day when the Senate was supposed to cast a final vote, Amber and I were invited to meet with the First Lady, Hillary Clinton at Tillman Feitita’s house. This meeting took place around 5 p.m. and about an hour earlier, the U.S. Senate voted in favor of President Clinton. I happened to have the letter written to President Clinton, which I presented to the First Lady. She read the letter very patiently and immediately asked Amber “Do you think I will win senatorial race?” Amber replied: “You are already the Senator.” Mrs. Clinton told her she was not the Senator as yet and was running for the seat. Amber again uttered mysteriously: “You are the Senator.” Mrs. Clinton asked me: “Does your wife follow politics? Doesn’t she know that Mayor Gulliani is running against me and I am not the Senator?” Amber cut her off and said, “But I do not see Gulliani running against you and you will be the Senator.” Mrs. Clinton moved on to the other guests, without keeping faith in what Amber said to her though she took the copy of her predictions. Just two weeks later Gulliani was diagnosed with colon cancer and pulled out of the race. By this time Mrs. Clinton understood what Amber was seeing she could not conceive.

During John Kerry’s presidential election campaign, she constantly told me that George Bush was going to win which I kept on ignoring, as I am a hardcore democrat. However, I did not invest any resources in that election and everyone knows the result: Bush won the election. During democrat primaries, I was one of the co-hosts for a reception for Howard Dean. On the day of the reception, I was heading for Hotel Wormick. I called Amber and asked her about chances for Howard Dean. She told me that it would be a waste of time and $1000 donation and that I should rather come home. I returned home and a few weeks later; Howard Dean’s popularity declined and John Kerry surfaced as the candidate for Democratic Party. So far she thinks that Hillary Clinton would be elected as first woman President of United States of America.

Most of the Pakistani politicians who visit us talk to her and get her analysis. Most recent ones are former Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto; former Chief Minister, Syed Ghous Ali Shah; former Chief Justice Supreme Court, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah; former Minister, Pir Mazhar Ul Haque; Senator S. M Zafar; Rasool Bux Palejo; and many others. The best part about Amber is that she never reveals her intimate talks with her clients and works very discreetly and does not charge for her services.

          One of her astonishing cases was when a couple visited us with their child. The woman was very talkative and kept on daring Amber for her supernatural capabilities. Suddenly, Amber asked the man a very strange question: “Who is this child in your lap?” The man replied: “She is my daughter.” Amber said, “I know she is her daughter,” pointing to the lady, “but not yours.” The man was very upset but the woman was very clever and kept on giggling and changed the subject. Next day the man came to my office and spoke to me about the comments my wife had made. He wanted to know more about it. I had so much faith in Amber that I was ready to pay for the paternity test (DNA Test). I made the deal with the man that if Amber was wrong I should pay for the fees and would also extend him a written apology. However, if she was not his daughter he would have to pay the DNA test fees. We mutually agreed and got the test performed which came negative and it was confirmed that she was not his daughter. Amber generally doesn’t tell negative things to hurt people until someone challenges her abilities.

          In a similar case a family approached us with a marriage proposal for my daughter. The boy was a doctor with a very respectable family background. After our first meeting, we visited their home and were introduced to the whole family. The father of the boy had remarried a younger woman. He had four children from the first marriage and two from the second. He remarried because his first wife had passed away. On the surface, the family was very educated and nice and had all the ingredients that a normal family would want in another to form relations. Amber had many reservations about the boy and kept on analyzing him. She told me that the man did not father the younger two daughters but it was the older son who was the biological father of those little girls. After a few days, the father of the boy came to see us and wanted to talk to Amber in private. Strange to note is the fact that he told Amber that he was doubtful about the paternity of the girls and had DNA tests done for them and was sure that they were his kids. I think he knew that Amber had figured out the incest and illicit relationship between his wife and his eldest son and was covering the ground with us to pursue marriage with our daughter. Subsequently, Amber very bluntly told them about the boy that he is having an affair with one of the nurses in the office besides his involvement with the stepmother. This is one of the cases that she was right on target to weigh the character of the boy. I always wondered that why sex perversion is becoming an epidemic in the Muslim society as we now often hear horror stories of molestation and incest.

Amber shows different dimension of her gift with every person she works with, as she is excellent in reading people in person as well as through photographs. In case of a Hispanic family, they brought photographs of all their family members to be analyzed. Once all pictures were spread out on Amber’s working desk, she picked up three photographs and returned to them. She refused to read about those people and told them that those people were dead and it is a sin to get into dead people’s past life. This family was hugely overwhelmed by her assertion and I always wondered how she found out that those three people were dead.

          At another occasion, we were attending a wedding when the father of the groom came to invite us to come on to the podium and take picture with the newly weds. Amber told him that she would follow him in a minute. After he left, she made a comment in front of all the friends sitting on the table that she would not like to take a picture with this witch. I got very embarrassed and asked her to be quiet but she said that this girl has choose this boy just to get the green card and was going to leave him merely in four months. It is so strange to note that just before four months they were divorced.

Lately divorce is also becoming an epidemic in the Muslim community and Amber has been counseling several girls but unfortunately some of them do not listen to her advice and suffer. Amber has told several families not to pursue marriages due to mismatch and in many instances her advice was ignored and all of those marriages have failed. In recent past she has told three girls to evaluate more about the man they were getting married but they married them and ended up in divorce. Most of the divorces are occurring due to either financial reasons or because of the infidelity of either of the partners. Since our society is getting too open and sex before marriage is becoming more acceptable by either of the partners, it has opened a new dimension of the marriage, which is the major reason of too many divorces. Parents need to counsel their children and educate them to marry to make a family and try to adjust with each other’s problems rather than divorce. If this epidemic continues, our next generation will be as messed up as other advanced nations of western countries.

Dr. A.Q. Afghan, Shikarpur                                  

Dr. A.Q. Afghan, originally from Shikarpur, was first came into my contact when I joined Sind University Engineering College where he was Principal of the college. He was a typical Pathan a very powerful and hardheaded man. Though our college was under the jurisdiction of the Vice Chancellor, Sind University, he had established his own kingdom and ran a parallel government. He always sponsored gangsters who would give him absolute power that even his boss, the Vice Chancellor, was intimidated by his strength. His major contribution was a liberal policy for the Sindhis to get admissions to Engineering College, which gave a big but inferior breed of Sindhi engineers. If he had been sincere with the cause of Sind, he would have created a competition within the Sindhis and could have produced a more highly educated class of engineers. As he gave admissions to lot of weak candidates, unfair means in examinations became common and he kept his eyes closed for such actions. However, looking behind, it seems that his policy though did not produce high quality engineers but did produce enough quantity of Sindhi engineers to capture jobs, which were mainly occupied by the Urdu-speaking candidates. NED Engineering College, on the other hand, though claimed to be high standard, was silently helping the Urdu speaking candidates and discouraging students from Sind. His actions can be justified to counter the action of the Urdu-speaking people in Karachi to bring the Sindhis at par with them.

During my third year in college, I became editor of a monthly engineering bulletin and annual magazine. It was then that I had some interaction with Dr. Afghan and found him very abusive and arrogant. He had no respect for good students and gangsters who ruled the campus were well respected in his office.

Meanwhile, Sind University was administrated by Vice Chancellor (VC) Hassan Ali Abdul Rahman, who never got along with Dr. Afghan. Pir Mazhar UL Haque, former Sind Law Minister and prominent PPP leader, was working as Public Relations Officer for the VC who was my elder brother’s childhood friend. I used to share a room with Ghulam Nabi Memon Morie, who was then elected as Vice President of Student union.

One day he told me that Pir Mazhar had asked both of us to come and see the VC, but at dawn time so that our movements are kept in secret. When we visited the home of the VC, Hassan Ali Abdul Rahman, we were told that government had approved the upgradation of Sind University Engineering College to a University of Engineering. We were told that Dr. Afghan had been working against this cause, as he knew that he would not be appointed as the VC of the new university. As he was being selfish and was working for his own interest and hurting the only chance our people would be getting to have an engineering university, Hassan Ali Abdul Rahman wanted something to be done to eliminate Dr. Afghan from the scene. I told him that it was practically impossible and we could be in danger if he found out that we were making any move to dislocate him. During the discussion, the Vice Chancellor gave us a lot of ammunition to attack Dr. Afghan but Ghulam Nabi was not ready to make any move which could put our lives in danger.  I, after deep reflection, decided to take the required action without telling anyone. My father was serving as Registrar Co-operative Societies for Sind with head quarter office located in One Unit Building at Hyderabad. I went to my father’s secretary and took him in confidence and made him type up a questionnaire addressed to Dr. Afghan for his activities. He made me 500 copies of the hand out and I dispersed those very systematically and secretly by dropping 10 copies of the hand out in each rest room of the Sind University. This was done between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. when all the students were asleep. The next day the hand out was in everyone’s hand and I left a copy of the hand out in Pir Mazhar’s office without his knowledge. Dr. Afghan could not handle the allegations and the Vice Chancellor asked legal experts to hold an enquiry against him to prove his innocence against the allegations. However, the third day of the week, Dr. Afghan tendered his resignation and within next one month the government announced appointment of Dr. S.M. Qureshi as the Vice Chancellor of the new Mehran Engineering University.  Most of my close friends, who were associated with Dr. Afghan, often wondered about who was behind that White Paper against Dr. Afghan. I never revealed this secret to anyone till today when it has been more than thirty years. I hope this is not going to hurt the feelings of Dr. Afghan’s family. If they neutrally analyze, they will realize that this was done in national interest, as creation of engineering university was essential to produce highly qualified engineers from Sind. I hope his relatives will forgive me.  I always wondered why Dr. Afghan, who was a very well known national leader of Sind, opposed the up gradation of college: may be just to satisfy his own ego. I have no regret that I did this and achieved the results.

          On the other hand, this incident gave a strong boost to Dr. Afghan’s career that later on he became Federal Secretary for Science & Technology and served the country very well.

Abdul Fateh Memon, Larkana, Sind

Abdul Fateh Memon, son of Haji Wali Mohammad Memon, was born in Shikarpur. He was my father’s first cousin. His father was a cloth merchant in Shikarpur. He moved to Larkana with his two sons where Abdul Fateh started his legal practice. He was very active in local politics during partition time. He joined Muslim League and was elected as general secretary for Sind Muslim League during Ayub Khoro’s tenure as President. He was elected as member of West Pakistan Assembly and remained active in politics until he was nominated as Pakistan’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia in 1963 during Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s tenure as Foreign minister of Pakistan.

During the early 50s when Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto first came to Larkana after his foreign education, a historical meeting was held at Abdul Fateh’s residence attended by Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto, Z.A. Bhutto and Sikander Bhutto. On the other side, Abdul Fateh, his brother Nizamuddin, and my two cousins Dr. Ghulam Ali FRCS; and Ali Nawaz were present. In this meeting a historical statement was made by Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto to request Abdul Fateh to teach Z.A. Bhutto the ins and outs of Sind politics. This relationship lasted for several years. However, during this time Z.A. Bhutto got closer to Uncle Nizamuddin and drifted from Abdul Fateh.

During national elections in the late 50s, Abdul Fateh filed nomination against Z.A. Bhutto. At the time Z.A. Bhutto was Industries Minister in Ayub Khan’s cabinet. Due to close relationship between Nizamuddin and Bhutto, the younger brother forced Abdul Fateh to withdraw his nomination and let Z.A. Bhutto win the election unopposed. Subsequently, Z.A. Bhutto returned the favor by appointing him as Ambassador of Pakistan to Saudi Arabia.

His major achievement was to get Pakistan Airlines landing rights in Saudi Arabia, which had been denied for so many years owing to internal politics. This happened due to his close friendship with Kamil Sindhi, Minister of Aviation for the kingdom, and an agreement was reached to give General Sales Agency to Aziz Al Hussaini, an insider of the Royal family.

He also authored a book titled Oil and Faith and presented it to King Saud, who was so happy that he issued a royal decree to send a yearly royal invitation to Abdul Fateh to visit the kingdom for two weeks with first class airfare and accommodation until he was alive.

His major accomplishment in my view is that of establishing the first Commerce College in Larkana Sind, which produced first generation of financial experts from Sind. He remained patron in chief of the college till the college was taken over by the government of Sind.

Historically, there has been another incident, which could have changed the course of Sind politics. As soon as Z.A. Bhutto resigned from Ayub’s regime, he announced the formation of the Pakistan People’s Party. Z.A. Bhutto approached Abdul Fateh through his son Ali Nawaz Memon, who was then working in World Bank. By this time, Abdul Fateh had finished his tenure as Ambassador and returned to Pakistan, settled in Karachi and started his legal practice. One day Ali Nawaz tried to talk to his father by conveying the message to his father about Mr. Bhutto’s desire to join his party. Somehow, Ali Nawaz did not get the response; therefore he did not go on with the same subject. Twenty-five years later, one day, Ali Nawaz asked his father why he did not join Bhutto’s party. His response was that he never heard the message as he had developed deafness in one of his ears and Ali Nawaz happened to be close to his deaf ear. According to experts’ views, if Abdul Fateh had joined the PPP, he would have been the first Chief Minister of Sind.

On the other side, his brother Nizamuddin was very close to Z.A. Bhutto and has remained loyal to the party for next generation. His son, Khalid Iqbal Memon, was nominated for the party seat from Larkana to represent the People’s Party as Member National assembly in current assembly.

Uncle Abdul Fateh had eight sons and one daughter: all well educated and well established. Dr. Ghulam Ali FRCS serving in London; Ali Nawaz served World Bank for thirty plus years; Ali Raza (deceased); Sikander lives in Egypt; Shafqat is chief financial Officer of Islamic Bank; Captain (army) Mohammad Ali; Dr Jamal, a skin specialist; and Shaheen, the youngest, works in a bank. His only daughter is married to Anwar Memon, President of an Environmental Engineering firm in Canada.

Abdul Fateh Memon remained loyal to Muslim League throughout his life and died peacefully a few years ago. He was again a symbol of honesty and integrity and kept his head up and never traded his conscience for money. His major achievement was to educate his kids to the high level; besides, he produced so many talented people from his college.

Abdul Jabbar Gupchani, Nawabshah

Professor Abdul Jabbar Gupchani met me at a very crucial juncture of my life. After my Matriculation (Junior High school) results that I passed with first class, I was sent to Karachi to attend DJ Science College to complete my Intermediate (Senior High school).

My two elder brothers Professor Shabir Ahmed and Late Irshad Ahmed were also attending DJ College and N.E.D. Engineering College at the same time. My cousin Khalid Iqbal (MNA Larkana PPP) was living in the same Metha Ram Hostel.

New atmosphere and my romantic involvement with someone kept me from studying properly so I barely passed the first year college. My father was very upset and I was immediately shifted to hometown Shikarpur. Here I was admitted in a hostel and was grounded to visit the home till I could achieve my goal: first class degree in intermediate school examination.

On the first day of my college there, I met with Professor Abdul Jabbar Gupchani Khoso. He was in charge of the hostel. When he heard that I have been sent there for a punishment, he gave me a deal for the life. He wanted me to start praying five times and in return, he promised, he would tutor me for English, Mathematics and Chemistry all free of charge. What I perceive today is that he was a God-sent angle for me. I took upon his offer and was successful in achieving my goal. Once I passed my examination with a first class (equivalent to today’s grade A), my father came with all his friends and honorably brought me to our home.

I can never thank my father for the punishment he imposed upon me to mend ways of my life that consequently took me to higher level. To me, my father and Professor Gupchani are the two heroes in my life who helped me surmount the peaks. I wish there were teachers like him who could steer students to high level and bring the talent of our nation on the crossroad where they can serve their country.

During my visit to Pakistan a few years ago, I went to see Prof. Gupchani and traveled to a small village twenty miles off Nawabshah driving along dirty roads but unfortunately could not meet him. However, I was delighted to know that he was busy teaching CSS students in Nawabshah after his retirement. I wanted to thank him for my success and hope he is well and healthy.

Abdul Jabbar Memon, Karachi

Jabbar Memon met me during my third year engineering studies in Sind University Engineering College, Jamshoro. I used to live in a special one-bed room suite in Mehran Hostel. This favor was extended to me through Ghulam Nabi Morie, who used to be the Vice President of student union. Once Ghulam Nabi graduated, I had the option to bring any engineering student to live with me in this special hostel accommodation which was offered to the professors of the college living in the hostels.

Jabbar met me through someone and I took him with me. He was very smart and talkative and I knew that it would be an educational experience to live with him. However, some of his habits made me request him to move out from the room; nonetheless, we remained friends afterwards.

Years later I found out that he had established an auto parts industrial unit in Karachi that included manufacture of oil filters, etc. He visited the U.S.A. several years ago and I entertained him here. He invited me to visit him in Pakistan and after several attempts I finally met him in the office of Pakistan Business Federation where he was serving as Vice President.

I think among our college mates Jabbar was one of the few who chose to be an entrepreneur and was also successful in the venture. Though I disliked some of his habits, still his typical Karachites style was the reason of his success. The main difference between people from interior Sind and Karachi was the slickness and sharpness. Jabbar had both the features engraved. He was smart and paid attention to his education and had a vigorous nature to make money and I see him as one of a few Sindhi successful businessmen.

Abdul Kadir Siddiqui, Sukkur/Karachi

Abdul Kadir Siddiqui belongs to the family of Siddiqui’s from Shikarpur who subsequently moved to Sukkur. His brother Jamal Siddiqui had opened the first restaurant at Lib-e-Mehran (on the bank of the Indus). Jamal passed away of a sudden heart failure.

I met Abdul Kadir through my father long after he was married to my cousin sister. Once I moved to Karachi in 1974, he got friendly to me mainly due to my father whom he respected a lot. Once he was posted in Karachi and I was married, we became close family friends. His wife Saeeda was my most favorite cousin sister as my mother raised her after her mother passed away. Kadir was one of the few honest judges I met.  He was a very competent professional and rose from Civil Judge to District Judge and subsequently retired as Secretary Law for Sind Government.

He was never nominated to the High Court Bench due to his unfriendly attitude. He was very reserved and sometimes very rude. I have noticed one thing in the bureaucrats who are very honest: they are not friendly and suffer in their career building process. Once I asked Justice Retired Sajjad Ali Shah, Chief Justice Supreme Court, about Abdul Kadir. He concurred with me that his career did not flourish mainly because he was very secluded and rude even to his own colleagues.

Abdul Kadir had the reason to be bitter as he was in love with some girl and while still engaged she passed away suddenly giving him a shock for life. Saeeda being the best girl I have ever met could not get him out of that trauma. He used to visit my sister in law Rezm’s home frequently in the evenings and shared so many of his personal thoughts with her and reason of his seclusion and bitterness from the trauma he went through.

I drew closer to him after the news of his younger brother’s sudden death. That time Kadir was in Australia on an educational mission. I took care of the funeral arrangements and was there for him all the time until he came back to make the formal funeral arrangements. Our relationship continued after my migration to the U.S.A.

In 1988, I met Sajjad Siddiqui, son of Jamal Siddiqui, through Badur Sheikh, now living in New York. Sajjad had just completed his MBA program and was looking for some sponsor for work and the green card. Due to Kadir’s relationship I immediately offered him a job and sponsorship and moved him to Pasadena, Texas to work for me.

In 1989, he received his green card and married the daughter of Kadir’s sister. I loaned him $ 5000 to take care of the wedding arrangements and he came to Pasadena with his wife. After the marriage his expenses started rising. As a result, he started stealing money from the company where he was in charge of the finances. He started using third party credit cards and pocketing cash. Eventually, he was caught. Once FBI contacted me over some illegal activity going on in my travel agency where third party credit cards were being used for airline tickets. Once I came face to face with about the issue, he had no answer. A total audit was conducted that reveled that he had embezzled some $ 30,000 or so merely in one year’s time.

Unfortunately, the audit report came on the night of Eid day and I fired him before waiting for Eid. His family was devastated by confronting the harsh fact. I sent all the documents to Kadir not in order to get any money but to keep him informed. He did not acknowledge my good will that I saved him from getting arrested by FBI as well as paid the money to save him. The biggest regret was that Kadir claimed to be honest. He should have had the guts to stand up for the truth. Kadir never responded to my letter and was so mad at me that when I visited his house during my visit to Pakistan, he stole out from the backdoor and I was told that he was not available to see me. However, I had seen him slipping away and could say that may be he had no guts to face the truth. To talk about honesty, preaching about honesty and practicing honesty are all essential components of honesty on the whole. At this juncture I think that even though he was called one of the most honest judges, he was not honest with me.

After retirement Abdul Kadir practiced law and passed away a few years ago due to a sudden heart attack. Most probably heart disease was in their genetics as most of his brothers died of heart attacks as well as he lost his 19 year old son by the same disease. He has two daughters and one son and his wife lives in Karachi.

Overall, I think he was an honorable man who kept the standard of honesty high and I consider him one of the few honest officers of Sind government.

Abdul Majeed Bughio, Dadu/Karachi

Abdul Majeed Bughio is by birth from a small village close to Dadu, Sind. He met me during my college days in Sind University Engineering College, Jamshoro. We lived in the same hostel and went to the same class from first year engineering until final. Majeed is presently serving as Professor of Electrical Engineering at National Engineering College, formerly known as Dawood College.

Majeed is one of the most soft-spoken and sweet persons I have met in my life. He was always friendly and never showed any temper. Our friendship blossomed even after college and he is still in contact with me. Later on he married one of my first cousins and became a relative too. I consider him one of my few best friends.

Majeed and I spend a lot of time together during our stay at Government Hostel, located at Garden road where we dwelled for several years. Majeed was a very handsome and well-dressed person hence very popular among girls. During 1974-75, I used to conduct a television program from Karachi TV Station when we both had a lot of friends from both sexes. We enjoyed friendship of many good-looking girls. At that time making friends with opposite sex used to be very difficult since our society never allowed contact between opposite sexes. Most of our hostel mates living in government hostel used to be very jealous but never knew the trade secret of Majeed for being so popular. He was very considerate and generous and had a lavish lifestyle that consequently impressed the girls.

Majeed was married to his cousin in his village but never revealed this secret to anyone. During his marriage process to my cousin, he kept me in darkness. I always regretted this. I feel that he knew that his second marriage would not take place if his previous marriage status was became known; therefore, he kept it hidden from me. All I can opine is that God makes the pairs and no one could have stopped that marriage and it was in his destiny to marry my cousin. He now has two beautiful and credulous kids and a good family. Whenever I visit Pakistan, they all show tremendous amount of love and respect and are very hospitable.

Academically Majeed was not very bright but due to his positive and friendly attitude, he adjusted himself well in a professional institution like National College of Engineering. In my view, he could have been a better administrator and could have been more successful if opted for doing a business.

Aijaz Mangi, Shikarpur/Karachi

Aijaz Mangi, now settled in Karachi, is originally from Shikarpur. I met Aijaz after he married my father’s first cousin. Then he was Civil Judge in Sehwan, Dadu District.

Aijaz is an open-minded, friendly human being; however, he has little mind for money. During my stay in Karachi, 1975-78, we were very close to each other. He was living as a paying guest at the residence of a Punjabi family. It was when he got involved with the sister in law of the landlord and eventually married her. His fate changed as soon as he married the second time when his services as a Civil Judge were terminated due to corruption charges and he was forced to practice law. As an attorney he could not carry himself to a high rank. Thus he had to work on minor cases or represent small companies and semi government agencies as their legal advisor.

While he was involved with his landlord’s sister in law who was from a very loving and nice family, I tried to let the girl know about Aijaz’s first marriage. But as they say love is blind, they got married without my knowledge. On the other side of the picture, his first wife always blamed me as if I was solely responsible for Aijaz’s second marriage. Unfortunately, people always blame others for their mistakes and never realize why people tend to drift to seek new relationships. In today’s competitive world, women have to work extra hard to keep their husbands faithful to them. I see that working women, particularly, have problems in keeping their husbands faithful. On the other side there is always poetic justice and people suffer because of their own mistakes committed in the past. One should look within him or herself for the punishment God gives for the deeds they have done in the past. Interesting to note is that Aijaz’s first wife was instrumental to get her elder brother married to a Punjabi girl while he was already married to his cousin. History repeats itself and one gets punished for the wrong one has done to others. The only regret I have is that I got blamed for some one else’s actions.

I am still on friendly terms with Aijaz and his second wife treats me like a brother. She is one of the finest human beings I have met in my life. Aijaz has one son and one daughter from his first wife and two sons from his second wife. The kids are very nice and well settled.

Congressman Judge Al Green, Houston

Judge Al Green, member of U.S. Congress, is one of the few congressmen who have supported the Pakistanis and other Muslims of Houston any time we have turned to him for help. Al Green has been an admirable personal friend and supporter and I see great potential in him to rise to a higher level. Al Green has a friendly posture and his affectionate style is similar to President Clinton, who gave 100 % attention to anyone he was speaking to. Though I was a strong supporter of him during his election campaign, some of the MQM gangsters joined him: this sidelined me from his office. However, I knew that by the time he found out the character of those people he would revert back to us to seek our help. And now I can see him, by the passage of time, getting closer and closer to us than many others. He meets us regularly at private dinners and discusses our issues and has extended all the help possible. In politics, some time bad elements support candidates to make their ends meet. In return, politicians are forced to support them. But smart politicians keep them at an arm’s length. They make efforts only to support the genuine causes of the people.

Al Green has supported not only our community but also all the minorities. He is a strong voice in the congress for the poor. As soon as he was elected, he became member of Pakistani caucus in the U.S. Congress and has visited Pakistan several times and supported our issues inside and outsides Congress.

Ali Nawaz Memon, Larkana/Washington DC, U.S.A.

Ali Nawaz Memon, son of Abdul Fateh Memon (my father’s first cousin), was born in Shikarpur. After uncle’s migration to Larkana, he was educated there and secured first class first position in High School Examination of the whole province of Sind. Ali was sent to the U.S.A. in the 50s where he obtained a degree in electrical engineering and masters in business administration. He joined World Bank as Financial Analyst and worked over thirty years in this prestigious institution. He rose to a high diplomatic rank that was equivalent to ambassadors of various countries, when he was posted at foreign missions. Whenever Ali visited Pakistan, he was received by Chairman WAPDA, Chairman KESC, and many top officials due to his position in World Bank where he was loan-approving authority for water and power projects. As he is an expert on water and electricity, he is still invited as an expert and consultant to help various agencies including Pakistan Government

Ali was our first relative and first Memon who migrated to the U.S.A. and has been my mentor in certain ways. He is one of the few cousins I have been in regular contact. He is a man of principles. I will never forget the incident when he supported me instead of his own brother. In an issue, he trusted my word more than his brother’s. Ali is a very loving, friendly and social person and always hospitable to people coming from Pakistan. He has written two books and presently serves as Vice President of Pakistan People’s Party, U.S.A. I think it is very hard to find anyone better traveled than him as he used to being on foreign missions three weeks a month.

Ali married one of our cousin sisters who was raised by my mother after the death of her mother and was as close to us as a real sister. Ali has been blessed with three children. Kamran is civil rights attorney practicing in Chicago. He is very much involved in affairs related to the Muslims. Reshma, a freelance writer for various USA’s mainstream newspapers, is married to Aamir, son of Dr. Yaqoob, former Governor of State Bank Pakistan. Nouman is working in Washington DC. Ali and his wife are one of the best couples known in our family. The only thing missing in them is that they could have helped many of our relatives to migrate to the U.S.A. when the U.S. immigration policy was so liberal. Contrary to him, many of my friends have settled so many of their friends and relatives in the U.S.A. Ali could have done better in this field.

Ali was invited by former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto to serve as chairman of NEPRA (National Electrical Power Regulatory Authority). He served a few years on the post and returned to the U.S.A. due to family reunification. During Benazir Bhutto’s recent visit to Houston, he was invited exclusively to chat with her. The chat lasted three hours past midnight. Due to his close relationship I was also invited to have an open discussion with her on all issues and got aquatinted with Benazir Bhutto and have been in touch with her since then.

Ali has been deeply involved in theological aspects of the community problems but has always been bashful to take practical part in solving any problems. He has a nature of not getting dirty in problems. I conjecture that he thinks that his efforts might not bring the desired results. In contrast, I differ from him as I always jumped in the battlefield and tried to change the things and have also succeeded a few times though failed many a times. However, I always enjoyed the fight and made a difference. Ali is an expert on water issue facing Pakistan particularly Sind; however, he is not as vocal on this issue as I would expect him to be; it is may be because of his job where he cannot be so blunt and bestow his truthful and honest public opinion.

Ali is a generous person and always helps his relatives in need and does it very discreetly. In my opinion he could have been more effective in getting his community people job opportunities while he enjoyed high and prestigious position in society. However he feels that utilizing his position to help any one would have compromised his integrity. In my view, our community underutilized his talents as he could have produced better results in many national issues in particular Water and Power problems facing our nation.

Ashfaque Memon CSP Hyderabad.

Ashfaque was classmate and childhood friend of my elder brother, late Irshad Memon. When I joined Sind University Engineering College, Jamshoro, in 1969, Ashfaque was in final year engineering. He was always very loving and nice to me and treated me just like his own brother. When we lived in GOR (Government Officers Colony) Hyderabad, he used to visit us on a regular basis. He was a very smart and intelligent individual and acquired first position in most of his engineering examinations. After that he appeared in CSS examination and achieved his goal by getting appointed in DMG group. He has served as provincial secretary of so many departments and I anticipate seeing him as federal secretary any time these days.

After I migrated to the U.S.A., I lost contact with him. But when I visited Pakistan during the mid 80s, he was posted as Registrar Co-Operative Societies Sind. During my evening walks I met his private secretary who an acquaintance of mine as my father also served in the same position several years ago. I told Ashfaque’s PS to let him know that I was there. Our houses were in the same vicinity so I thought that he would make an effort to meet with me. Within a few days I met his PS for two more times during my walk and he gave me Ashfaque’s message. The message stated that if I needed some help, the PS would take care of the problem. I was very furious and sent him a return message: “You bureaucrats just think of material things and have forgotten all the values of friendship and love.” I never met him during that visit and kept on wondering that perhaps times have changed and we in the U.S.A. still carry the old values.

A few years later, one day I got a call from Ashfaque saying that he would like to visit us during his trip from Pennsylvania to Los Angles. I was very mad at him and started being outspoken on him. On the other hand, he justified his action by telling of the new trend and prevailing culture in Pakistan that people see each other only when they have some work. According to him, selfish interests have superseded friendship and love. He thought I had some favor to be taken care of in his office and so he instructed his PS to take care of it as he was going through some physical problems. Once I heard his point of view, I fully agreed with him that our culture has changed and people with only some material interest to pursue will meet you. Once you are of no use to anyone, they avoid seeing you. After his visit to us with his family we revived our old friendship and have been in constant touch with each other and since then he has treated me like a friend and not a man in material need. He has a loving family and sweet children who are always cordial to my family and my children.

Ashfaque has done a lot of work to help his people particularly from his hometown. One day I visited him at his office when someone came to see him and I overheard that there were only two boys who needed jobs from his hometown. He wanted to help them to accomplish their goal. I wish our bureaucrat friends take the task of developing their own hometowns during their days in power and help the country to prosper instead of accumulating wealth and spend on unnecessary activities. 

Late Ashfaque Memon (PIA)

Ashfaque Memon, younger brother of Justice Hafeez Memon (former Justice of Supreme Court), got acquainted with me in 1968 when I joined D.J. Science College Karachi. Ashfaque was one of the most soft-spoken and loving friends I ever met. During our class breaks he would come to the common room of Metha Ram Hostel where I resided and played table tennis with me. He used to live in Muslimabad near P.E.C.H.S.  Society. He often invited me to his house at weekends. Because I acquired poor grades in first year college studies, my father sent me back to Shikarpur where I was grounded until I achieved first class in my Intermediate Science examination. I lost touch with Ashfaque until I joined PIA in 1975. By then he had earned his engineering degree and was serving as lecturer in Dawood College of engineering, presently known as National College of Engineering.

Ashfaque and I socialized on constant basis and I kept on pursuing him to join PIA as flight engineer as he loved to fly. His elder brother Shafi Mohammad was also working in PIA as ground engineer. I often talked him into helping Ashfaque to get a job in PIA.  Upon my insistence, he pushed his elder brother, Justice Hafeez Memon to ask the then Chief Minister Mumtaz Bhutto to request Air Marshall Noor Khan, the then Chairman PIA, to help Ashfaque to join PIA.

Ashfaque was asked to meet with Noor Khan but he was somewhat shy and was not ready to meet with him. One day I forced him, took him with me, and played as his elder brother and got him face to face with Noor Khan. He issued instructions for Ashfaque’s appointment and in a few months he was flying. However, God, Almighty, had some other plans for him as one day, when I was working in my PIA office, I heard the news that a PIA flight had crashed in Taif Saudi Arabia. Immediately I received the news that Ashfaque was flight engineer on board the flight. This was one of my saddest days as it was me who always pushed him to join PIA as flight engineer.  He never served more than six months: good people are summoned backstage by the Almighty Director much sooner. The worst part of my saddened self was to visit his room after his death. It was still decorated with flowers of his wedding, which took place just a few months ago. Ashfaque’s loss was as shocking to me as the loss of my elder brother, Irshad, who died in a car accident outside Pakistan Machine Tools Factory in 1971. The following poem is dedicated to Ashfaque.

AROUND THE CORNER

Around the corner I have a friend,

In this great city that has no end,

Yet days go by and week rush on,

And before I know a year is gone.

And I never see my old friend’s face,

For life is swift and terrible race.

He knows I like him just as well

As in the days when I rang his bell

And he rang mine.

We were younger then,

And now we are busy, tired men;

Tired with playing a foolish game,

Tired with trying to make a name.

“Tomorrow “, I say, “I am thinking of him

But tomorrow comes; and tomorrow goes;

Around the corner yet miles away….

“Here is a telegram Sir, “…. Jim died today.”

And that’s what we get and deserve in the end

Around the corner, a vanished friend.

-- Charles Hanson Towne

Ashraf Jehangir Syed, Houston

My wife Amber has been always infatuated by people with spiritual gifts. At a spiritual sitting, we were introduced to Ashraf Jehangir. He claimed that he had control of Jins (supernatural elements) and he could cure spiritually afflicted people. As Amber is gifted with some special power to see through people, I became interested in knowing if there was any truth about the existence of supernatural spirits. Ashraf, my wife, and I worked as a group for the next one and a half-year. Going from door to door, we tried to help people with spiritual problems. Ashraf fell highly impressed by Amber’s gift and started using her talent to help people overcome their problems.

I never believed in the existence of spirits but Ashraf showed me a different world where there was existence of all kinds of spirits good and bad ones. In our initial sittings, I took a video recorder to tape the sitting. To my amusement, when I replayed the tape after arrival of the spirits, the humans disappeared from the video. Only the audio was left. It really fascinated me as to what process occurred when the human bodies disappeared though physically he or she was present. 

Time elapsed and I noticed that though Ashraf had a gift to get spirits appear before us, he could not have cure for the people who suffered from spiritual diseases. He kept on using Amber’s gift to impress people as if he knew what to do and he could see through them. Once I figured him out we slowed down our visits.

Despite the fact that Ashraf had the gift to make the Jins appear before him, he could not help people.  Therefore, he recorded conversations with spirits and replayed before new clients to impress them. Initially he never charged any money from people but later on providing his services commercially.

          One day a friend of mine called me and told me that Ashraf played a tape of my close friend’s wife who was having some problems. I was very upset with Ashraf and met him. When he denied that he had played no such tape anywhere. I reprimanded him that recording people’s voice without their consent and then replaying in front of others was a federal offence and he could be jailed for it. However, he lied to me and insisted that he never played any such tape. And my friend was ready to produce several witnesses to prove that he was lying.

       Unfortunately, our relationship ended at this junction as I lost faith in him because I expected him to be man of God to help people not to exploit their weaknesses. Also he stared charging money from his clients and had been very successful in proving to be a spiritual healer to many. He left his engineering job and is working full time curing people of spiritual diseases whereas in my view he has only the power to diagnose a spiritual wound and no power to cure.

Dr. Aziz Siddiqui, Houston                             

          Dr. Aziz Siddiqui and I became acquainted when I was working as advisor to the Mayor of Houston. Aziz was very active in Islamic Society of Greater Houston (ISGH) which was led by Saeed Siddiqui. After completion of Saeed’s tenure, Aziz was elected the President of ISGH. After living in Houston for more than twenty years, Aziz is the only President of ISGH who showed broad vision and used the influence of his position to represent the Muslims of Houston. Aziz became president in the post 9/11 era and worked tirelessly with interfaith groups to send a strong message to the mainstream politicians that all the Muslims were not terrorists. Aziz has since devoted himself to upgrade image of the Muslims in Houston and its surrounding areas. He has developed a very close relationship with the American media and homeland security officials. He has hugely contributed in the efforts to spread the message of Islam.

          For instance, once he and a few of us were invited to address a convention of homeland security officers where there were at least 500 plus FBI and law enforcement agents. He brought 200 copies of Holy Quran and gave away free copies to the law enforcement agents to help them to understand Islam. To my amusement there was so much demand that I took addresses of about seventy-five agents who wanted a copy of the Quran. Aziz later on mailed a copy of Quran to each person who asked for.

          Aziz and I worked very closely and started a tradition of celebrating Ramadan Dinner at the City Hall. Since then every year the Muslims of Houston gather in City Hall and invite every one to participate in Ramadan dinner.

          Unfortunately, due to friction caused by a few of the local leaders, Aziz lost election on his second term, which can be called the biggest defeat for the Muslims. We need people like Aziz who can penetrate in mainstream American society with their look and education and let the people know that Islam is a religion of peace and harmony and that it does not, at any rate, promote terrorism.

          It is so interesting that Aziz even not holding any position in ISGH is working in mainstream and educating people about the basic essence of Islam.

          Aziz by profession is an environmental engineer and has earned his Ph.D. in Environmental engineering and is shy of writing the title of Dr. before his name because of several people who buy fake Ph.D. degrees for

$ 200 and proudly present themselves as doctors. I always jest upon him and often remark: “How come you are shy of revealing your doctorate status to people when fake degree holders are appointed as ministers in federal cabinets.”

          Aziz is one of the few inspiring personalities. Though he is a little media conscious like all of us but his work is so much superior that he deserves to be entitled with, at least, a little benefit. To my analysis, he carries a high standard and can work on the higher level and confidently represent the Muslims Ummah at all levels.

Aziz Soomro, Houston                           

Aziz Soomro got acquainted with me while I worked as an electrical engineer with Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) at Karachi Airport. As I was involved in community service right from the beginning of my career, I organized a Sindhi Employee Association to support cause of the Sindhi employees of PIAC. At that time I served the people coming from interior Sind. I helped them in getting jobs and tried to solve their problems in government offices.

Aziz, Nasurallah Yusufani, and I took some timely action that resulted in the employment for at least 350 candidates from interior Sind. Though it was my idea, however I do not want to deny some credit to Aziz, Nasurallah Yusufani and Abdul Kadir Jamoot. They all helped me in this venture that settled so many people from interior Sind who had no chance to compete with people from Karachi.

After my immigration to the U.S.A., I once again met Aziz in Houston when he and I organized Houston Chapter of Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) and worked very closely to help Sindhi immigrants to settle in the new environment. Side by side, we started playing tennis on a regular basis and bonded very well. As soon as Houston Chapter of SANA was organized, there was a struggle for leadership among the members. With the support of Iqbal Tareen, some young and eager members of SANA gave me a feeling that my services were not needed to them. At this time Aziz also supported the opposite group and we chose separate ways.

I started taking part in mainstream American politics and Aziz remained involved with SANA. This was a turning point of my political career. As I got out of the ethnic politics and worked in national politics, many doors opened up for me. I served as Advisor to Mayor of City of Houston, President of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Trustee for Pakistani Association of greater Houston besides being Democratic Party prescient chair and prescient election judge and served as member of so many boards. In a way I thank the people who sidelined me from SANA because if after all opened new venues for me to serve my people.

Aziz was a clerk in PIA and did not have any professional degree. But he worked as an insurance agent and earned enough to support him and his family. Unfortunately, he did not have any children from his first wife and it ended up in divorce and he subsequently married a few more times and has struggled to make a family. He is very much involved in affairs of Islamic Society of Greater Houston (ISGH). Overall, he is a decent human being. However, he lacked assessment of human culture and did not know who was friend and who was an enemy.

Azizullah Memon, Shikarpur/Quetta                                     

          Azizullah Memon Advocate was my father’s first cousin. My grand father had eight brothers and he was son of the youngest late Fazaullah Memon. After his law degree, he, for a short period, tried to practice in Larkana where my other uncles Abdul Fateh and Nizamuddin Memon had also started practicing. But he immediately moved to Quetta, Baluchistan. He went up to a level to be appointed as Attorney General for Baluchistan and was nominated to serve as High Court judge but never served on the position.

He was married to his cousin and had two children from this wedlock. After his moving to Quetta he married again and had several children. Due to his second marriage and abandoning his first family, he was somewhat discarded from the family; thus, only few family members associated with him.

          I met him a few times but found him very arrogant and like someone who lacked love for youngsters. One of his sons is serving in DMG group of Civil service and has served as Deputy Commissioner at various locations.

       The reason I picked Azizullah’s name to write about him is not to expose his weaknesses but to narrate a story of poetic justice. Azizullah’s sisters never got along with his first wife therefore encouraged their brother to marry again which made him abandon his first wife and children.

 His first wife was daughter of a very virtuous, pious and religious man who was so much involved in Islamic knowledge that he used to recite holy Quran during his sleep. Azizullah’s first wife was a decent and honest woman and dedicated her whole life to support her two children by working at petty jobs. At the end of the day her one child became Ph.D. Doctor and another is serving as medical practitioner.

          On the other side, all sisters of Azizullah suffered and could not settle in their family life. The story of this section of the family is an example of God’s justice: one pays for the ill doings right here and suffers for their bad deeds. I wish people tried to love other humans and accept each other as God Almighty has created them and adjust with each other rather than hurt innocent creatures of God. One should not forget that there is poetic justice and God always punishes people who have done wrongs to others. I do not know about Azizullah but rest of his family always suffered and remained in seclusion.

Bashir Ahmed Moriani, Shikarpur                                   

          Bashir Moriani passed his PCS exam in 1963 and was posted as Assistant Commissioner Khandhkot Jacobabad District. At the time my father was serving as Additional District Magistrate at Jacobabad. Mohammed Yusuf CSP, one of the few honest central superior service officers, was serving as Deputy Commissioner Jacobabad at the time.

          One day DC Yusuf called my father and asked him to hold an enquiry of a false traveling bill submitted by Bashir Moriani. Bashir was asked to attend a government meeting at Karachi and he claimed that he had traveled by train in the Air-conditioned compartment. Unfortunate for him was the fact that a local MNA and Barrister Darya Khan Khoso had already uttered unintentionally to DC Yusuf that Bashir had traveled with him in his car to attend the meeting.

          My father was a man of principles and always upheld the law. During the enquiry he found out that Bashir had tried to cheat on the government. Bashir expected that my father would support him as he also was from Shikarpur. Irrespective of so much influence and pressure exercised by him, my father wrote the report against him and asked the DC to reprimand him for the illegal action he observed. Bashir never admitted his mistake and never appreciated what my father did to him by avoiding to write a report demanding to dismiss him from Service.

          In 1974, when I had earned my degree in electrical engineering, I wanted to join the Industries Department of Sind Government where there was a vacant position requiring my qualifications. Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi was the Chief Minister of Sind and my Uncle Nizamuddin Memon was working as Advisor to the Prime Minister Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto for political affairs. Bashir Moriani was the provincial secretary for Industries Department. I asked Uncle Nizam to get my appointment order issued from the Chief Minister who did and the file was sent to Bashir for issuance of formal appointment order. This process should have been completed within one week but Bashir kept on dodging and never issued my order. After about three months I was approached by a good friend of mine Nisar Channa who informed me that he had made a deal to pay Rs 50,000 to Bashir Moriani for the same position which I was seeking. He asked me if I could ask my uncle to get his application endorsed by the Chief Minister Jatoi for consideration only. When I told uncle Nizam he wanted to experiment with Nisar’s story and got his application endorsed by the chief minister. Nisar was appointed as Assistant Director Industries next day and started his work immediately. Uncle Nizam was very furious and reported this matter to the Prime Minister Bhutto during an open town hall meeting called Kuchahry.  Bashir was dismissed from his job on the spot and PM Bhutto asked uncle Nizam to send me to meet with Salahddin Qureshi, General Manger Employment PIAC. Next week I joined PIA as ground engineer. In about next two years, I was appointed as Electrical Engineer Public works PIA and was in charge of qualification of contractors who would bid for PIA construction projects.

           One day I received a call from Shamsheer Haideri, Editor of Nain Zindagi (a renowned monthly periodical of Sindhi language) asking me to do a favor to his friend whom he wanted to bring to me. Shamsheer and I were working in association on my weekly program being telecasted from Karachi Television station; therefore I told him to visit me at his convenience. To my astonishment, the person he brought with him in my office was no one but Bashir Moriani who at that time was making a living as a contractor. Once I introduced myself to him he could hardly lift up his face and never returned to my office due to embarrassment and humiliation.

          The moral of this story is that Bashir took revenge of my father’s honesty and denied me the job and appointed someone after receiving illegal gratification. As such he was punished by God to come to me asking for a favor. On the other hand, Nisar Channa, who had started his career with illegal activities was eventually sentenced to jail for illegal practice of power. I was sent to a superior place to work where I came across Faheem Lodi, an engineer in PIA, who was instrumental player in having me marry to his sister in law. This ended up on my immigration to U.S.A. and changed the course of my life.

This is the reason why I always preach people not to ask for anything from God but to always ask for His guidance and let Him make the right decision for you as He can never put you on the wrong track. This is one of the most fascinating stories of my life where someone tried to hurt me but it resulted in my advantage. I am glad I did not push for it and followed the path God choose for me and today I perceive to be a winner.

Benazir Bhutto, Former Prime Minister of Pakistan                     

       I met Benazir Bhutto for the first time when she visited Houston few years back. Though my family was very closely associated with the Bhutto family for three generations, we grew up in different environments so never finding a chance to interact. However, I always kept an analytical look on her political career and wrote some papers for her during her tenure as Prime Minister of Pakistan. She was very impressed from my articles and complimented generously.

          During our first meeting in Houston, I was serving as Advisor to Mayor of Houston Bill White who happened to be the classmate of Mir Murtaza during Benazir’s education in Oxford University. I connected two old friends and it was a very emotional time for her as well as for Mayor Bill White to recall the tragic murder of Murtaza Bhutto.

          After the public gathering, Benazir invited my cousin Ali Nawaz Memon to have dinner with her and later on I was asked to join her for political discussions. I gave her my views about the reasons of her failures and gave several recommendations to regroup herself and her party to come back in power. She was very patient and listened to my advice very carefully. Later on when she found about my wife Amber’s gift to see through past and future, she revealed her want to see her. As Amber had already left for home, she spoke to her over the phone for 45 minutes and Amber gave her views where she stood in her personal and political life and suggested few ideas which could bring her back in power.

       I found Benazir very tactful and to the point. When she was meeting people, she had already made an observation if she would shake hand and move to the next person or she would talk to the person or invite him to be seated with her. As soon as she was finished she had a very cordial way to end the conversation and moved on to the next person very without a slight faltering.

          I spend three and half-hours with her that night and gave following few ideas to her.

       Considering that most of the political decisions are done by the US government it was necessary for Pakistan Peoples’ Party to form an advisory council consisting of supporters of the PPP who are deeply working in mainstream American politics. I suggested her that she should encircle ten big cities of USA and create local councils and ask them to lobby her cause among local congressional and senatorial contacts to raise a unified support to bring democracy in Pakistan. In my view even today if there is a fair election in Pakistan, the PPP will take the majority seats and will be able to form government at center and at least two major provinces Punjab and Sind.

          Also I suggested her to contact the old generation of the PPP supporters and try to bring the old guard back and revitalize the party. Simultaneous to it, the PPP had to find common ground with the Army leadership and give them assurance that they were well fed. Unfortunately, this is a fact that the Army has established themselves not only as defense organization but as political and financial group that directly or indirectly controls all major institutions. The politicians are always portrayed as the failure because they do not have control of the major institutions.

          Additionally, I suggested that Asif Zardari, her husband, had been trapped as an escape goat to label him the cause of her problems. Though it is not true but the army and opposition parties like MQM had been systematically busy in his deforming his character and portrayed him as a villain in Pakistani political arena. I said: “Asif has to change his style and play a positive role to create an understanding with Army generals to come back in power.”

At present, due to full support from U.S.A., Pakistani Army does not entertain any need to negotiate with the PPP or any other party to share the power. It has been history of Pakistani politics that whenever the army needs democratic institutions to recover from their disastrous state, they drag to the forefront the politicians keeping their power limited and bring wipe them off from the scene as soon as their existence becomes fruitless. According to me, Benazir should have stayed in opposition rather than accepting position as Prime Minister with very little power. I think this time around she is more experienced and wiser and will make a right decision when the time comes; for instance, when the army is ready to bring the politicians to run the government.

          During discussions with me, she had a genuine complaint from the educated party workers who used the party as a ladder to switch to the side of establishment and caused her embarrassment. This is the reason she has to keep balance between those uneducated workers who are loyal to her rather than those educated people who cannot take the pressure and sell their integrity to the dictators for petty favors or a temporary position as senator or minister. I very strongly agree with her that a lot of people have merely used the PPP and abandoned the party.  Unfortunately, our people lack character and honesty and sell themselves and never stand up for the democratic values to serve the poor people of Pakistan.

          I am confident that if Benazir is re-elected as Prime Minister, she will try to bring some dedicated and honest people to work for her who can run some programs for poor masses of the country that will uplift her image. She will have to learn to share power with the army, bureaucracy, and opposition groups to take the country to political stability. The major item on her agenda should be an acceptable power sharing formula that could guarantee the political process. Asif can play a pivotal role with her if he can mature himself and be politically conscious as how to handle the people, how to interact with the army, bureaucracy, and financial institutions. The major exploitation against him has been of making money from various deals. Being myself a businessman, I know that power can be used to make a lot of legal deals to make money. Asif being a seasoned businessman made so many deals to make money legally. And this caused him so much pain in exploitation but at the end of the day no court could prove that he had done anything wrong. I think money making should not be the prime target to get in power. If we serve the people and improve living standard of the masses, people would love to re-elect us. One has to decide if one wants to be a politician or a businessperson and what is his/her prime target: fame or money. One has to set his or her priorities in life and act accordingly.

          As far as I see, Benazir will get one more chance to rule the country and this will be her last chance to leave her legacy as a strong and seasoned politician. If she has learnt from her mistakes and does not commit those blunders and finds common ground to solve the problems, she will be remembered in the pages of history for saving this fragile country which is already at the verge of failing both as a nation and as a country.

2007: Why Benazir Was Assassinated?

Since last four decades Pakistan is controlled by a group of people called "Establishment" which consist of top feudals, businessmen, bureaucrats, officers of the armed forces and ISI (Inter services Intelligence Agency). This group of the people has controlled Pakistani Politics to attain and serve their own interest and have been using politicians as pawns who has appetite for power.

            Late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto former Prime Minister of Pakistan was inserted in this group to serve the agenda of this establishment and as soon as he deviated his plans to serve the people he was first removed from the office as Foreign Minister and then eliminated from the Pakistani politics.

Nawaz Sharif former Prime Minister was also creation of this establishment and was fired once he deviated from their program.

Benazir Bhutto was made Prime Minister with so many stipulations and was used and fired once their purpose was fulfilled.

President Pervaiz Musharaf was selected by this elite group and has been puppet of the establishment since last several years and once he stared deviating a little from their agenda he was weakened by them.

Once Benazir Bhutto arrived in Pakistan with a massive mandate and historic welcome by 3 million people her assassination plans were on the drawing board and were very systematically executed to keep this cluster of evil in full domination and control. Today’s events will give full justification to them to eliminate Musharaf and bring another Army rule and this process of exploiting the system will carry on.

In my view this is not an act of Al-Quida but an inside job with the blessing of our establishment to eliminate Benazir from political scene to achieve their sinister goals.

United States must immediately cut off all the aid in fighting fake war against terrorism which has been twisted by these elements to extract foreign aid. USA must invest its resources to upgrade lives of poor masses of Pakistan instead of giving free hand to billions of dollars to this group to improve our international image.

                    Bill White, Mayor, City of Houston

          During my tenure as Advisor to Mayor Lee P. Brown who was serving his last term as Mayor, everyone was discussing about the next Mayor. Orlando Sanchez, who had lost his bid against Mayor Brown, was very strong candidate. With blessings from White House and Republican Party he looked the best candidate. In August 2003, I was invited by someone from the Mayor’s office to attend the announcement party for Bill White. He was unknown to many of us but I was told that he would emerge as the leading candidate. I discussed the matter with my spiritual guide, my wife Amber, who had also foreseen that he would be the winner and she encouraged me to attend the party.  I attended his announcement party at minute Maid Park and waited till he was left with only a bunch of people. When I introduced myself to him he asked me: “Where are you from?” “Pakistan,” I told him. “Where from Pakistan?” he asked. I replied: “From Sind province.” He inquired of me: “Where from Sind?” I solemnly uttered “Larkana.” He then came up: “I have been to your hometown four times.” I later found out that he was roommate of Mir Murtaza Bhutto and classmate of Benazir Bhutto in Oxford London. When I told him about my affiliation with the PPP, we immediately made a connection and he invited me to visit him in his office. On our second meeting my first question to him was if he would support city of Houston affirmative action program which guarantees thirty percent of the contracts to the minorities. (Keep in mind that I had no interest in any city contracts.) He stated that he would support the program. We discussed political strategy and I handed over some suggestions to him, which he appreciated. (Copy of my ideas is given in chapter American political system).

          As soon as he accepted me on his team, I started working part time in his campaign office and made gross root efforts to get him elected. I established a satellite campaign office for him in Clear Lake area, which is an affluent neighborhood of Houston. My main thought to join his campaign was to continue serving the community and help the minorities to be part of main stream American politics. Bill White was very open-minded and his wife Andrea White, who worked shoulder to shoulder with him, was also very inspiring. He always portrayed himself as a self-made person offering opportunities to everyone and speaking about his Hispanic heritage. We all thought that he would be excellent choice for the minorities and I forced several of my friends to support him financially with huge checks even though they were close to his opponent Orlando Sanchez who was a Cuban immigrant.

                    During the campaign besides raising more than $ 75,000 I organized a group of local restaurant owners to supply daily food for the campaign staff. This program lasted for almost three months till the last day of election when we served food for approximately 600 workers. All this hard work was done to get access for the community in the new administration just like Mayor Brown provided us during his tenure.

                    After the election, things started changing. Once Bill white was elected and took oath to office, most of the old staff was displaced and new people started working. This was a routine to change the staff except for the people who worked closely with the new candidate. As I used to work for

$ 1.00 per year salary and was not a financial liability to the city and I was sure that Bill White would fulfil his commitment to have a representative from our community in the City Hall. However as things changed rapidly and instead of offering me some task to work on; an attitude of ignorance was observed towards me so that I should leave the office myself. At this time new chief of staff Michael Moore invited me several times for meetings but it became evident that minorities were not very much welcome in the new administration.

          During Mayor Lee Brown’s time a homogeneous staff consisting of all colors and religions worked in the City Hall. Suddenly, a colorblind atmosphere transformed into one predominant color. All key positions were assigned to the Caucasian staff.  By this time Mayor White hired people from various media organizations to attract media attention like all politicians who are conscious of what the media gurus are writing or airing for them. On the other side, he hired several Republican Party members to show that he was working bipartisan. His choice to appoint a former staff director of Republican Congressman Tom Delay, gave an impression that he was working on a different agenda. However the policy was very visible that minorities were not welcomed and the Mayor was more interested to use them as a ladder to climb up to achieve a national position as a senator or governor of Texas. This was the time I thought appropriate to leave though I was asked to choose any board chairmanship where he would appoint me. I politely declined and left the City Hall with a sour note.

          Today, after four years of Mayor White’s tenure, he is politically as strong as rock but inside the minority communities he has very poor scores. My speech on Pakistan Chamber of Commerce U.S.A. 8th Gala predicted very early about his changing attitude to our communities. Once he got elected he dumped Afro-American and Asian communities and made political coalition with the Hispanics to cover the majority. Both these communities feel deceived by him as from a homogeneous and colorblind City Hall it changed into one color business. The Asians lost seat of Mayor Pro-term and seat in the Houston Metro and were sidelined in most of the committee appointments. As time went by, Mayor White proved not to be fair in dealing with our communities. The biggest problem we encountered was that the political contributors who gave large checks wanted to see him and discuss some issues. But he never met anyone and diverted all his calls to his sub-ordinates. The only way to get audience with him was to be part of some fund raising efforts where one could shake hand with him but still no issues were discussed and no action taken. Since he enjoys command over powerful political brokers and has raised huge amounts of campaign fund, he knows that he will continue for three terms; therefore, he does not care about significant minorities. In the long run, if he intends to run for a higher office, his character is very much like an open book to the minorities and he will certainly face a tough resistance from many quarters.

          My biggest regret in political field has been of betraying my friends by supporting a candidate who has not served our community. His fancy speeches have proved to be words only and no action. He is as media conscious as any other politician and loves to stay in front of the camera but so far has not served the local communities.

 Most of his policies have failed; particularly his decision to accommodate New Orleans refugees in Houston has backfired on him. His decision to evacuate Houston during Katrina proved to be a big mistake that dragged millions of people on the roads in burning heat. In my view Mayor should have ordered the evacuation of coastal areas first and kept the people calm rather than creating chaos which took so many precious lives. At that time most of the politicians were more interested in being focused by the TV cameras to gain political leverage and showing leadership skills. Today, after one year, the aftermath of those mistakes has caused thirty- percent increase in crime in Houston and most of the criminals who can strike you any time are well settled in our city. The best approach would have been to disperse the evacuees to different cities like Dallas, San Antonio, Shreveport, and Oklahoma. This would have saved us from the 100 percent responsibility of the evacuees.

          Comparing the six years of Mayor Brown and four years of Mayor White, reveals that the downtown revitalization, which was on a full swing, has been slowed down and our dream to have a vibrant downtown is no longer on the city’s drawing table.

          Most of the policies like forcible towing, traffic control cameras and sequencing traffic lights have brought not much desired results to improve traffic congestion.

          The biggest problem I found was inaccessibility of the Mayor. Outside perception as confirmed by so many city officials indicate a satellite city hall operating in Post Oak and Memorial area where most of the decisions are made by few close associates of the Mayor Bill White.

Mayor Brown was a strong supporter of Mayor White so I complained him about his changing colors. According to Mayor Brown, Bill white used to call him every day before his election and after getting elected he did not call him even once in six months. He did not want his advice as he thought he was in complete control. So if he can show his back to former Mayor where do we stand in line? But this reveals the character of the person. On the other hand Mayor Lee Brown was always accessible to everyone at any time and tried to accommodate every community. At the end of the day Mayor White (as he preached honesty and opportunity) has left me believing that those are fancy words used by many of us. But to practice and do justice with the people is the hardest thing to do. All I perceive is that the next two years of Mayor white’s term shall be as the last four and he will be busier in setting that ladder to climb up to a higher office and will do nothing for the poor and, in particular, for the minorities.

Addendum: 2007.  As predicated Mayor Bill White was reelected for the third term without any one daring to challenge him and City business is running as in the past. His slogan of mobility has failed as traffic congestion is at the peak and synchronizing traffic lights and traffic light cameras have proved to be ineffective. Crime is on rise particularly homicide rate is getting higher. Downtown revitalization is on hold and due to failed policies extension of metro rail to connect different quadrants of the city has been bounced back from the Federal Transportation Board. In my view at the end of six years Bill White would have not much to show on his report card except helping his rich and famous friends who might be successful in getting him elected as Governor of Texas or US Senator.

Daud.( D. Y.) Sheikh  PIA, Karachi

          The offices occupied by D. Y. Sheikh and me were next to each other. It was when I worked as Electrical Engineer Public Works for Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). Daud was closely attached to a very educated family of Allama Daudpota and Iqbal Akhund, former Pakistani Ambassador to USA. His uncle Dr. Ziauddin Sheikh was my father’s close friend. Daud was a very senior engineer batch mate of Director Engineering Aijaz Ahmed and many more but was suffering from a disease that partially crippled him so he was unable to walk. His colleagues were nice enough to keep him on the payroll of PIA. That was where I met his family: two twin sons and a daughter. His courage to be in office was very admirable and his family support was commendable. I was often invited to their home and found him to be very inspiring. He is one of the few people I ever met who, despite severe disability, gave full strength to his family and himself and lived an honorable life. He catered for higher education to his children and his sons rose to high positions.

Deedar Sanghi  Houston, Texas

          During my business ventures, I build a new Chevron gas station and convenience food store operating 24 hours a day all year long. This was a very successful and financially profitable adventure but manpower was always a problem. As it was a cash business, it was very difficult to find honest cashiers. Deedar Sanghi was one of those few honest cashiers who had worked part time for me but left for better opportunity. I had told him that he could get this job back any time he wanted due to his integrity.

          One night I received a call at 2.30 a.m. from Bay Shore Hospital Pasadena Texas informing me that they had found a person who was brain dead and with no identification. What he possessed was but my business card. When they gave me his description, I found out that he was my new manager who had started working a few weeks ago. I immediately rushed to the hospital where I came across a Pakistani family also sitting in the waiting area. The hospital staff wanted me to decide to unplug his life support as there was no chance of his survival. I refused to do so and asked them to give me some time to locate his relatives and get their permission to let an end meet his life.

          The lady who was sitting in the waiting area asked me who I was and during her conversation asked me if I would hire her brother in place of my manager who was not dead yet. I was so disappointed in her attitude that she had no courtesy for the person who she had come to visit. This showed how selfish and self-centered human beings are and they have no ethics but selfishness is deeply rooted in them.

          Any way, we visited my manager’s apartment and retrieved a small telephone diary, which I brought to my office. I started calling each number to check out his relatives. My second call was picked up by someone I knew: it was Deedar Sanghi. I asked him what he was doing there as the number was listed with another name. He told me that until yesterday he had been working at a store for the last three years. The store was sold and new owners had fired him. So he was visiting a friend of him and had taken a day off and would continue searching for new job from the next day. I told him about the condition of my manager and asked him to come and work for me. He gladly accepted my offer.

          Moral of the story is that no one is indispensable. God has created an alternative of every one and helps the needy in a very strange way. On one side my manager passed away; on the other, I found an honest man; and he, being jobless, found a job with me.

          Deedar proved to be very honest and dedicated to my business and disclosed to me so many inside stories about the misdoing some of my close relatives and friends were involved in while working for me. It is hard to find people like Deedar. Though he was not highly educated and came from a small village of Sind, he had high moral ethics and high degree of honest attitude.

          Side by side, I contacted the mother of my manager and told her about her son’s condition that she had not seen in the last fourteen years. His mother’s last wish was to ensure that his body was flown to her so that she could see him for the last time. I called several of my friends including Shameem Ahmed, Ghulam Bombaywala, and Naveed Saleem. They donated money to make arrangements to send his dead body to Pakistan. However, by the time the body was released to be shipped, I received full payment of his funeral expenses from his cousin in Middle East. And he bore all the expenses. So, I returned all the donations received from my friends. There are good people all around you whom you can find but you will have to make some efforts as they are all hidden behind the curtain.

                    Dr Ayaz Mahmud Durrani

Dr.Ayaz Durrani and our family met in Bay City Texas in 1985. Dr. Durrani is a highly educated and reputable urologist in Texas. Aside from being an urologist and fertility specialist he is also an inventor of many surgical instruments and has developed many new surgical procedures. Many of his inventions are patented by US Patent office.

One of his invention “Right angle needle for radical prostatectomy” is sold world-wide.  Many more of his inventions for management of urethral strictures, catheters, and other urologic indications are in the process of marketing.

Dr. Durrani comes from Bahawalpur and was raised in an educated family. His father served in the armed forces of Pakistan. He was admitted in Dow Medical College on scholarship from Bahwalpur and completed his medical studies. He then went to England and became certified in the Royal College of Surgeons. Dr Durrani served as chief surgeon of a 150-bed hospital in Zambia. There he met with Najma his better half. They got Married and moved to United States in 1972. He persuaded a Urology residency at the Lahey Clinic in Boston and moved to Texas where he continued his Urology practices. He has served as chief of staff in Bay City’s Matagorda General Hospital and as one of the few Urologists in the surrounding cities like Bay City, Angleton, and Sweeny etc. He moved to Houston in 1999, besides working with Memorial South West hospital he maintains his practice in Memorial Herman South West and Angleton Danbury Hospital.

Our families have many similarities; both of our spouses have played a key role in our growth and success by working side by side through out our career. We both have two children, our oldest ones are supporting our business and the younger ones have pursed medical careers. We share similar interests which includes love for music, taste for good food and tennis. In addition to this he loves gardening, fishing, and has passion for musical instruments. He plays harmonium, tabla, sitar, and sing vocals. In some circles people know him as a musician before a physician.  I am yet to meet a multi talented person like him who has excelled in any thing he wanted to accomplish.  Both of our spouses have dedicated their lives to raise children and both have a passion for interior decorating.  In business also we share similar interests like investing in real estate besides our professional careers. 

Dr. Durrani is one of the few doctors who do not let success come in their way to serve humanity. A very good example of this is that several years ago on Thanksgiving Day my wife fell very ill and all the doctor’s offices were closed for the holidays. Dr. Durrani specially opened his office and took care of my wife which was greatly appreciated by my family.

In all the years of my living in USA I have never met a doctor with such a down to earth personality. Generally superiority complex is found in high class professionals particularly doctors. A good example is a very close family friend who I called on a long week end to attend to my daughter who was suffering bronchitis and high fever. The response was that “I don’t have my stethoscope at home please take her to the emergency room”. If doctors treat their friends in this manner how would they treat their patients? In my view doctors must attend to the sick at the time of the need and keep humanity on the top of their agenda. I find Dr. Durrani not only to be an excellent professional but also a great humanitarian.

Dur Mohammad Usto  Jacobabad

Dur Mohammed Usto was one of the least educated yet very successful politicians of Sind who remained an elected representative of Jacobabad for many years. He was one of the most low profile and soft-spoken persons. He respected and helped everyone. He served as Federal Minister and provincial Minister for many years.

My father, while posted as Additional District Magistrate Jacobabad in 1963, was the election presiding officer for National Assembly elections. Dur Mohammed Usto and Afzal Khan Khoso, a local Barrister, were in competition with each other in this election. Interestingly both of them were given equal number of votes. According to the prevailing election laws, the presiding officer had the right to cast the final last vote, which could decide the destiny of the election. This decision was to be taken within 24 hours of completion of the elections. As Dur Mohammed Usto was not very much educated, therefore my father made up his mind to give his precious vote to Barrister Afzal Khan Khoso. That day in the evening Afzal Khan Khoso came to visit my father with a brief case containing Rs. 500,000 ($ 100,000 US dollars at that time). He wanted to bribe my father for which he was ready to pay dearly. But my father took him outside his official bungalow and threw the brief case on the street and changed his vote to Dur Mohammad Usto, who gratefully accepted and was later on appointed as Federal Minister. On the other side Dur Muhammad Usto never made any effort to pursue my father to vote for him. My father kept his high standard of honesty and integrity and told Afzal Khan Khoso that he was one unlucky person as he was getting his vote without his money. Dur Mohammed Usto always respected my father for this action.

          During 1974-75 one day my father got a call from Dur Mohammed to get an appointment to see him. Dur Mohammad Usto was serving as Provincial Minister Education. Therefore my father told him that it is against the government protocol for him to visit him and agreed to see him in his office. My father and I visited Sind Assembly Building around 10 p.m. when he came at the gate to greet my father. As he wanted a favor from my father in some matter, the business was taken care right away and they started talking about old times.

At that time, I got an idea of my own. My elder brother Shabir Ahmed, who, by that time, had acquired Bachelor of Science degree, was working as a chemist in remote area Sugar mill. As my father would never ask any favors from anyone, my brother was not in a position to get a better job. I took the liberty without consulting my father requesting Dur Mohammad Usto to get my brother some job. He immediately called Director of Technical Education and asked him if he had any vacant position matching with Shabir’s experience and education. Luckily, there was a position of Instructor at Polytechnic College located at walking distance from our home in Hyderabad. He asked me to go to his private secretary and get an application typed up and issued orders for his appointment. Shabir once joined that job got admission in Mehran Engineering University and worked very hard by teaching as well as attending college and achieved his engineering degree some four years after me but with 3rd position in the university equal to my position. Later on, he was hired as lecturer at Mehran Engineering University and got his Masters from Manchester England. He is presently serving as professor of electrical engineering in the same institute.

This is a classic example that a little push and little common sense at the right time can change course of someone’s life.

Dur Mohammed Usto served his constituents honorably and remained my father’s friend till his end and always gave him full respect and never forgot the favor.

In my view many of us need to abide by the rules and stop illegal practices to achieve our goals as Afzal Khan Khoso did and lost chance of getting elected and may be missed a chance to be the federal minister due to his bribable and sinister thinking.

Fareed Shah Haqqi Milwaukee

Fareed Shah came into the circle of my acquaintances in last days of Mayor Lee P. Brown’s first election campaign. He appeared to very handsome but cunning and used Ghulam Bombaywala and Lutfi Hassan to get a position to work as campaign staffer and later on got hired as Mayor’s staff. Shah, who had recently moved from Chicago, emerged as a big success once Lee Brown got elected as first Afro-American Mayor of Houston. As Lutfi Hassan was very smart and sensed that ambitious and determined Shah could be serviceable for him to achieve his agenda in the City Hall, he extended full support to Shah to carry through his wish. Shah was appointed as Assistant to the Executive Assistant to the Mayor at a very low management level. Initially he worked under Helen Chang, where he could not last for a few months and was later on transferred to work for Carol Alvarado (who got elected City Council Member). Shah, being the first Pakistani appointed at City Hall, was a big accomplishment for the Pakistani community by getting representation in the Mayor’s office for the first time in the history.

If worked in the right style, Shah could have climbed up the political ladder to reach a consummate higher position. But because of his selfish, arrogant and conceited nature, he was practically forced to leave the City Hall after serving three and a half years. This was because Shah started acting just like the Pakistani bureaucrats keeping himself secluded and isolated by catering to the needs of only a few people like Bombaywala and Lutfi Hassan. Knowingly that I was very close to Mayor Brown, he always worked against me though on the surface he played friendly.

Once we started meeting at community events, Shah’s wife got into friendly terms with my wife Amber, and we started to socialize often. Shah’s wife was more mature and straighter in dealing as compared to him. She is a medical practitioner with a very affectionate personality. Socially, they were very entertaining and carried high degree of manners but weak in hospitality. During our initial sittings, once I asked my wife about Shah if he would be a genuine friend and if I could trust him politically. She responded to me with three words for Shah “I, Me, and Myself”. I could never forget these words which proved to be not only true for me but many of our mutual friends who eventually caught up with his style of out doing every one of us. All through Shah’s three and a half years tenure in the Mayor’s office, he did not let anyone enter the political arena; as well as, he did not hire a single intern from South Asian countries to learn how the City Government worked. On the other hand, during my two-year tenure as Advisor to Mayor, I hired thirteen interns from India, Pakistan, Iran and Bangladesh who learnt a lot how the political process worked. What we need is to encourage our young generation to come forward and learn the system and be part of the action. Unfortunately, when young people come in power, they do not extend help to others to enter political field due to fear of competition.

With the passage of time, complaints against Shah were growing and he was given a signal to himself leave or he could be fired. He was very smart and quit his job while maintaining good relations in the City Hall and with the Mayor. He subsequently moved to Milwaukee. Now he visits Houston periodically. Every time I meet him, he tells me about a different job or different project he is accomplishing which shows that he does not posses consistent behavior otherwise he could have been a big success. He is cunning and smart and he can manipulate people at times. But if he had kept his arrogant behavior in control and helped the community, he could have been a big success.

The night three Pakistani store clerks were murdered in Houston, Masrur Jawaid Khan, who later became first Pakistani Muslim City Council Member, called Shah at 1:30 a.m. to seek for some help. Shah’s response was that it was too late to call anyone and asked Masrur to come and see him in his office at 9 a.m. Frustrated Masrur, who was President of Pakistani Association of Greater Houston, called me as well as asked Mian Nazir to call me around 1:45 a.m. for help. As I was very close to Mayor Brown and had his private numbers, I immediately dialed his home number. Mayor’s wife Francis Brown picked up the phone and I requested her to get me through to the Mayor. She told me that he was traveling to San Francisco to attend the funeral of his close friend. Once she came to know about urgency of the matter she gave me Mayor’s contact in San Francisco. I left message for the Mayor and a return call came within a few minutes. I briefed Mayor about three murders of Pakistani store clerks causing a panic and wave of fear among Pakistani storeowners. He told me to wait for the Chief of Police C.E. Bradford’s call to reach me shortly. Within minutes I received a call from Chief Bradford. He asked me as to what we should do to calm the community. I suggested forming a task force to search for the murderer and arrange a meeting with the community leaders the next day. This meeting was scheduled for 11 a.m. at the Police Head Quarters. Around 10 a.m., when I was leaving for the Police head quarters, my wife got a call from Shah’s wife and during social talk she told her that the meeting which was scheduled at the Chief’s office was already held in Shah’s office at 9 a.m. This was the time I felt that Shah was trying to cut me off from the loop to show his superiority and was trying to take the credit for the initiative that actually I had taken already. The meeting at the Chief’s Office was still held and various items were discussed including how to protect storeowners and stop robberies and murders. The next meeting was scheduled after two days on a Friday after funeral of the victims at 3 p.m. to review police progress in the case. Just before the meeting, I received call from the Chief of Police that the murderer was arrested but we still needed to attend the meeting to brief the media about this case. After the meeting, I made one of the biggest political mistakes of my life that instead of leading the press briefing I told M.J. Khan to lead media interview where he started his political career. I still recollect ABC news correspondent’s comments: “You folks have a lot of pull in this city that you got the murderer arrested within 24 hours.” For me this was a big achievement of our community and if we would have continued working together as a team we could have achieved a higher position in the political arena. Unfortunately, we cut each other’s throats and never let others climb the ladder. We spend more time in intrigues to bring people down than to perform some positive work. In the mean while, Shah was in the background but was very upset by the fact that we had used our contacts to handle this problem without his help. Moreover, his refusal to take any step at the time of need gave clear message that he did not carry so much weight to take steps to help the community. Truly speaking, we had over expectations from an Assistant to the Executive Assistant to the Mayor, which was merely a clerical position.

Subsequently, a big memorial rally was organized by the community where Shah tried to take all the credit for the situation but by this time he was exposed within the group. Due to this incident Police started patrolling stores more frequently and a Robbery Prevention Video was developed to educate store owners as how to protect such robberies and murders. This video was later on provided free of cost to store owners and crimes in stores reduced tremendously. Thanks to the then Chief of police and Mayor Brown, who changed the policies and achieved positive results. Since the new administration of Mayor Bill White, the policy has not been followed so vigorously and crime rate in stores has again escalated for which the community members must raise their voice.

Shah was so slick that in one instance Bombaywala asked me to support Shah to get promotion and I gladly asked the Mayor that Shah’s salary was not enough to keep him in Houston. And if he does not get this promotion we will loose the only link with the City Hall.  To my amusement, after a few weeks of my reminding the Mayor for his promotion, I was told that he was promoted within days of my request. Shah, contrarily, did not have a courtesy to inform me about his promotion and never said a word of thanks to me. One day Shah and I were waiting for Mayor Brown to arrive at an event at Hyatt regency Downtown. Upon Mayor’s arrival he pointed to Shah and asked me: “Manny, who is this?” I was surprised that why Mayor was asking me about one of his Assistants. I immediately responded to him that Mayor he was your right hand and my left hand based on his geographical position at the time. Later on I wondered about Mayor’s question and then realized that he was letting Shah know that he was known to him because of us and he did not carry any weight. Mayor Brown was very tactful to have passed this message to him as well as to me that it was only due to our hard work and connections that Shah was in the City Hall. Shah is a typical example of new generation Karachites who have been trained to get their ambitious goals by overstepping anyone’s toes. However, as they say king makers shape the kings and crack them too, one should respect and honor the people who have supported you at the time of need and work together for the betterment of your community rather than achieving personal goals and dumping your friends. At the end of the day, it is the same people who would devastate you and you will be transgressed and dishonored. Politicians, in particular, are the victim of this ailment as they forget which people worked hard to bring them into power. Once they forget their friends, those are the very people who turn to work against them and topple their power. There is a famous quote: “If you want a person’s faults, go to those who love him. They will not tell you but they know.” And those people are the ones who would break hardcore of your power. Therefore please do not forget your friends.

    

Shah Haqqi shared with me a very interesting analogy. Once, his father directed him to marry a Punjabi girl if he wanted to be successful. I think his father must be very smart-witted and had foreseen the grip of the Punjab on the infrastructure of the country. Factual as it is, without their support no one can rise to peak. Looking back into the lives of many people like Masrur Jawaid Khan; Capt. Usman Ali Issani; and my uncle Azizullah Memon, I do feel that marrying a Punjabi girl would be very profitable if one needs to penetrate the Pakistani elite culture. This is the same way Jewish girls are encouraged to marry outside their circle to convert their spouses to Jewish religion as well as take political and financial control of outside agencies. The Punjab has been very successful in their goals chasing and has maintained strong control over the Pakistani armed forces where other provinces are discouraged to join. Though this eventually will create desperation and cause a civil war within Pakistan but for the last 60 years the Punjab has been successful in exploiting the country’s resources. In my view middle class Urdu speaking people try to marry a doctor and preferably a Punjabi girl to achieve their goals. Marriage is more of a business and a ladder to success for many people like Shah . In contrast, I strongly believe that marriages should take place to form a cohesive family and a sweet home and not to use one’s spouse for financial goals.

Ghulam Mohammed Bombaywala Houston

Bombaywala and I became acquainted several years ago but got closer during Mayor Brown’s first election. Bombay is the senior most Pakistani in the local political arena and has been involved in mainstream politics since President Regan’s time. He is one of the few less educated people I have met who have achieved self-education and risen to the altitudinous level. He is a very sharp, smart and cool-minded person who knows how to deal with people. He is one of the best persons to raise funds for the community and other projects. He has an art to win people if he wants and has been helping poor people discreetly for which God has always blessed him. The only drawback I found in him was to shy away from resolving matters between his friends. This has caused a decline in his popularity in the community. As a leader one has to get dirty and jump in the mud of rows and flaws to resolve problems to move forward. I always found Ghulam to have the let-the-nature-heal-the-wounds attitude, which is very harmful for leaders.

Bombay has a long history of achievements from his first day in the U.S.A. He came with twenty U.S. dollars in his pocket and applied for a job at Restaurant Michael Angelo located at Wertheimer Houston. Due to his non-proficiency of English language, he was refused the job as a busboy or even the dish cleaner. He subsequently applied for a job as convenience store clerk to fill gas at the pumps where he was robbed on the very first night of his work. This is an ideal story of an eighteen year old who later on not only purchased the restaurant where he was refused the job, but also established chains of restaurants including Marcos Mexican Restaurants, Pasta Company, Macaroni Grill. He purchased chain of James Coney Island, an American hotdog eatery, and expanded his portfolio with real estate and commercial properties businesses.

Once you get established and famous you can lose control of your business enterprises because of lack of interest or mismanagement and you start falling apart. That is what happened to Bombay. On one side, Bombay declared so many bankruptcies of his businesses, and on the other, it looked as though he were using the bankruptcy laws to make more money. Apparently, he was following his Jewish friends who are very egregious and well known in misusing the American bankruptcy laws to make hefty profits and cheating the financial institutions. Bombay followed that trend and has been fighting his proceedings for a few years. However, at one time he was one of the top entrepreneurs of Houston interviewed by Oprah Winfery and many renowned TV and radio hosts. He was an ideal American dream come true who came to America with nothing but rose to the peak.

Once he achieved his financial independence he diverted, his energies to politics and then to philanthropy. He established House of Charity, a non-profit organization, which sponsors children with disabilities to be brought from the third world countries, and treated here. In addition, this organization has been taking medical missions to Pakistan where the American doctors conduct operations on the spot.

I worked with Bombay on several projects as well as in the political arena. He is a one fantastic host and spends lavishly to carve ways not only for himself but for his close friends to enter the mainstream politics. He organizes extravagant parties and is very generous in serving the people. By this he achieves his strength in the community and political organizations. He has served as Chairman of South Asian Chamber of Commerce and currently serving his last term as President of Pakistan association of Greater Houston (PAGH). His major accomplishment is the acquisition of a close HEB Grocery building which is being converted into a retail center and community banquet hall, a self-sustained project for the PAGH. Pakistani American community Center will be the first of such projects built in the United States of America for the welfare of the Pakistani people.

Although Bombay has been working tirelessly for long time, his critics hold diverse views about him. For instance, in the early days of his business venture, death of his partner has been attributed to some financial dispute, which caused heart attack to his partner. Though he died of natural death, Bombay's critics have blamed him for the incident. However Bombay fervently denies any dispute and claim to have helped the family of deceased after this incident. His bankruptcy proceedings are mentioned with doubts and his philanthropic activities are portrayed as more for media and public attention rather than for the sake of helping the poor. The Executive Director of House of charity, Hashmat Effendi, has been exploited in the community for milking money through her organization. Her husband Tariq Effendi, who has been blamed for losses to many investors in a failed stock scheme, is also part of this charity. Superficially, Hashmat seems to be doing a lot of hard work but many major donors to this organization have reservation about the consumption of funds. According to one donor 87% of his donated funds were used in administrative cost including office maintenance, traveling, salaries, etc. and 13% of his money was used in the programs. Unfortunately, most of charitable organizations, like the Red Cross, spend enormous amounts to run the programs. At the end, aids reaching to the needy are less in proportion than it should be. Recently, I came across with a volunteer who visited Tsunami victims in Indonesia where she witnessed five Red Cross workers making $ 16 an hour disbursed total $ 500 in a day to the needy people. This comes to $ 640 spent on just the salaries to disburse $ 500. Though House of charity has been audited by radio personality Marvin Zingler of local television station but doubts about the financial aspects of this organization still remain in the air. In my view a few local people with a high degree of honesty and integrity should be requested to audit the accounts of this organization to show the clear picture of this organization.

Due to this negativity and his being media conscious, Bombay’s achievements are overshadowed. What I perceive is that he is better than a good many those who have achieved nothing in their life comparing to Bombay who is doing at least something may be a little for publicity also but is helping the poor and needy. At the end of the day only God Almighty is the One Who knows the inner intentions of humans whether the charity is done please Him or was merely observed to make an impression upon people. I always believe in giving credit to a person for something he has done rather than the people who just criticize others.

Ghulam Bombaywala: Addendum 2007

Bombay possesses one of the common symptoms found in people in power: to keep educated and highly talented individuals on the sidelined positions. Such people have inferiority complex; they fear that civil society, those who adhere to their own beliefs and principles, might take their leadership role and move ahead of them. Owing to such characteristics, Bombay has lost most of his friends and support from the civil society and his image has come to a tarnished state. To me, leaders should have the guts and spirits to confer with the educated, knowledgeable, and smart individuals to consolidate their power rather than to get intimidated and scared by their skills and knowledge.

The last two years, I worked very closely with Bombay – when he asked me to lead the Construction efforts to build the first Pakistani Community Center in Houston. This center was finally opened for the community in June 2007 with enormous efforts from the two of us. Bombay raised the funds from the community and I managed the construction. At the end, a project initially considered to cost $1.2 million, was completed at the cost of $655,000, almost half of the initial estimates. The project was only a two-man show. Houston Chronicle rightly proclaimed it as one of its kind: a financially self–sustained project. Bombay loaned $250,000 for the center, and I borrowed $239,000 from a financial institution to accomplish the task. On completion of the center, the property was refinanced and Bombay was paid back the loan. We have paid $150,000 of the total loan I acquired, with a balance of $89,000 still to be paid. The best part of this project is that today Houston is the only city in the world with a 37,000 square feet facility called the Pakistani American Community Center serving the Pakistani community day and night. This facility consists of a free medical clinic, a library, a computer lab, a youth center with a basketball court, a senior citizen room, a women’s club, a Mosque, a community kitchen, and a banquet hall for community events with room for 1,200 people. Part of the frontage of the center has been built with seven retail shops that bring enough revenues to pay off the monthly mortgage acquired to build the center. The Banquet Hall has been used for parties and community events. In her recent visit, County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia stated that she had never seen a center offering so many services: she called it The Complete Community Center.

Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, Nawabshah Former Prime Minister of Pakistan

          Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi belongs to one of the biggest feudal family of Sind. Jatoi family has always been involved in elections on the lower level. However, during Shaheed Bhutto’s rising power Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi became Federal Minister and Chief Minister Sind. Later on he achieved his life long dream and was appointed as Prime Minister of Pakistan during a transitional period. He was mainly chosen to give an impression of the representation from Sind. With the fact that he was a low profile and weak administrator, he was the best pick for the job by the establishment to serve their purpose. Looking as far back as I can, I do not find any concrete work done by him for the common good of people except supporting his feudal friends and relatives.

I have only three stories about Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, which can reflect about his personality.

After my graduation, in 1974, when I had acquired my degree in electrical engineering, I wanted to join Industries Department of Sind Government where there was a position requiring my qualifications. Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi was the Chief Minister of Sind and my Uncle Nizamuddin Memon was working as Advisor to the Prime Minister Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto for political affairs. Bashir Moriani was the provincial secretary for Industries Department. I asked Uncle Nizam to get my appointment order issued from the Chief Minister who did and the file was sent to Bashir for issuance of formal appointment order. This process should have been completed within one week but Bashir kept on dodging and never issued my order. After about three months, I was approached by a good friend of mine Nisar Channa, who informed me that he has made a deal to pay Rs 50,000 with Bashir Moriani for the same position which I was seeking. He asked me if I could ask my uncle to get his application endorsed by the Chief Minister Jatoi for consideration only. When I told uncle Nizam he wanted to confirm if Nisar’s story was valid; he got his application endorsed by the chief minister. Nisar was appointed as Assistant Director Industries next day and started working immediately. This showed the fragile administrative capability of Mr. Jatoi that his orders were never implemented by his immediate sub-ordinates due to his weak nature.

In his school days once he wore hunter’s attire with a cap to attend grammar school where dress code was very formal. While he was accompanied by Abdul Kadir Siddiqui former Secretary Law Sind, the principal of the school saw Ghulam Mustafa and ironically asked him: “Mr. Jatoi which jungle are you coming from?” Confused Ghulam Mustafa responded: “Sir, I come from Nawabshah.”

While he was Chief Minister Sind, my father was Registrar Co-operative Societies Sind. I used to be very closed to my father and knew his schedule. One night, at about 1 a.m., while my father had retired to his bedroom; I received a call on our official phone line. The other side asked for my father and I replied the person that my father had gone to sleep and this was not an appropriate time for any one to call. The person on the other side said: “This is Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi the Sind Chief Minister and I want to speak to Mr. Memon right now”. I very well knew that father had to attend a meeting at the Chief Minister house the next morning at 8 a.m.; this meant that he had to wake up at 5 a.m. in order to travel from Hyderabad to Karachi. Knowing that my father had just gone to bed, it was not appropriate for me to disturb his sleep. I told Mr. Jatoi that my father had just gone to bed and he was supposed to meet him at 8 a.m. and it was not appropriate to wake him until it was a life and death situation. As my father was holding a non-administrative position, there could be nothing important to wake him up at 1 a.m. He kept on insisting that I should wake my father up and I refused to do so and told him that this was not a fair manner to treat government officials. He kept on arguing and finally I hanged up the phone on him for which he complained to my father. It is so disappointing to know that he wanted a simple and unimportant task to be done by my father for which he was ruining his whole night.

 Unfortunately, most of the politicians, particularly those who drink alcohol, work very late and expect their sub-ordinates to remain awake with them. Being in the Pakistani bureaucracy is like being someone’s servant and there is no sense of family time given to the people by their bosses.

Over all, Mr. Jatoi has acted very humbly and nobly with people though he has not served his constituents to give them something in return. In my view, he could have achieved a lot but chose to stay a low profile, friendly person to everyone and served his own family and friends.

Ghulam Nabi Memon (Moraie)

I met Ghulam Nabi during my college second year while he was in his third year and was serving as Vice President of student union. He used to live in a special accommodation in the Mehran Hostel and offered me to be his partner. I stayed with him for one year and completed my tenure in the college occupying the same room. Ghulam Nabi was a handsome, well-dressed and friendly person. However, as he came from a small town of Moro, Sind, his grooming was more like a villager than a city boy. He developed relationships with higher-class people and was very successful in getting himself financially victorious through those contacts.

As time flew by, I found out several things Ghulam Nabi did which hurt my feeling and some way harmed a few of my family members.

For instance, I introduced him to one of my relatives whom he proposed to marry and kept her in limbo for several years and eventually broke off relationship. The worst part was that I was kept in darkness throughout the time. In our culture this is considered very cheap and low to make such connections. This only factor was the reason when he came to the US, I refused to see him due to his low moral character.

In other case, he was indirectly responsible for damaging my brother Aamir’s career. Aamir, when migrated to the USA, came with a student Visa. Upon his arrival I set him up in a one-bedroom apartment, bought him a car and furnished his apartment; and provided him with an evening job as a manager at my store. Apart from that I paid for his first semester fees and told him that he had to support himself as I had made him all independent. Just after the first semester, Ghulam Nabi’s younger brother, Ghulam Moieuddin joined Aamir in Houston. Due to Ghulam Nabi’s poor character, I discouraged his brother to get close to us and in hate he kept on instigating my brother. He preached him that his elder brother was paying for his education and I should be paying for Aamir too. This misinformation made Aamir very frustrated and he chose other venues and moved there with him. Consequently, Aamir couldn’t finish college and Moieuddin completed his college degree. Moieuddin, because of lot of illegal money made by his brother, could afford to study without any work; whereas, I could not afford to pay for four years college expenses of Aamir. The frustration created by Moieuddin made Aamir waste his seven years, as eventually he had to go back to Pakistan and wait for his green card, which was also sponsored by me. I wish he would have followed the advice of his elder brother not the outsiders and made his life more comfortable and avoided the wastage of his prime time.

Ghulam Rasool (G.R.) Baluch  Counsel General Pakistan, Houston

As soon as the government of Pakistan announced opening of new consulate in Houston, we found out that G.R. Baluch had been nominated as Counsel General. Several years ago I had met with Abdul Rasool Baluch working in Pakistan Embassy in Washington D.C. I misunderstood that A.R.Baluch is the one coming to Houston. However when I visited Pakistan I found out that A.R. Baluch was working as Chairman Insurance Corporation who connected me to G.R. Baluch who was then serving as Deputy Chief Protocol, Karachi. I had a very brief meeting with G.R. Baluch in Pakistan when he gave me his vision what he would like to see in the new consulate. As I have been exposed to Pakistani bureaucracy since my childhood, my immediate impression about him was that he was a typical bureaucrat but refined because he came from diplomatic core.

I was very pessimistic about his ideas as how he wanted to build the consulate in Houston but after a six-month struggle, he did construct a consulate just like the vision he had, before coming to the U.S.A. The biggest dilemma Baluch faced after coming to Houston was leasing an appropriate space for the consulate. After being rejected by several landlords due to post 9/11 security reasons he selected a 2-story building owned by a former Pakistan army officer. Though I was not in agreement with the idea to locate consulate at a very distant place from the core community, it did have some advantages. And since then the consulate has served the people professionally and satisfactorily for which I admire G.R. Baluch’s visionary thinking and hard work.

Baluch is not only very eloquent and articulate speaker but to the point and very pertinent to the occasion. I have met so many diplomats but have found only a few like him who are so well-spoken and knowledgeable about world affairs, literature and social issues.

His other admirable quality was to be part of each and every event organized by any group of the Pakistani community. He always treated everyone equally though most of the community members always judged him as a Sindhi diplomat and at many times did not give him due protocol. To me, he was not treated fairly by some of our community leaders only because he was from Sind.

Baluch, though treated everyone equally, was never very friendly on the personal level and always acted like a bureaucrat. In my view, because of chummy nature of people of Pakistan, he likes to keep distance from people to keep himself in a safe zone.

In general no one will forget his contributions for the commencement of the first Pakistani consulate in Houston. This consulate has been designed to be customer friendly where you do not have to wait in queues or at the windows to turn in your documents. Consulate comprises a well-decorated hall and library where people can read newspapers and watch TV while waiting for their documents. Currently Baluch is serving as Pakistan’s Ambassador to Vietnam. At the end of his term Pakistani American Association of Greater Houston and Pakistan Chamber of Commerce jointly hosted a farewell dinner for him besides my personal lunch for him. The disappointing part was that when he arrived at the beginning of his assignment there were more than 50 community members came to receive him . But upon his departure there was no one but two of his staff members

And I was present at the airport. It is so sad that we all entertain the rising sun and forget the people when they are leaving us. Baluch was a honorable man and served his country and our community honorably.

Ghulam Rasool Sial  Steel Mill, Karachi                 

Ghulam Rasool was introduced to me by my cousin Khalid Iqbal Memon MNA, PPP Larkana, during my stay in Karachi while I was working in PIA. He sent him to me to get a job in Karachi. Ghulam Rasool worked and stayed with me till 1976 until I got him a job as a bus driver in Pakistan Steel Mill through a friend of mine.

Ghulam Rasool, though very poor, has a unique quality I have seen in merely a few human beings. Sincerity, genuineness, honesty and integrity shown by him, has placed him in my heart at a much higher level than many of the people I have ever met. Since then Ghulam Rasool has been a loyal friend and has been always helpful to me. After moving to the U.S.A., whenever I have visited Pakistan I have seen him at the airport upon my arrival. Unless I have not left the country, he has accompanied me like a personal bodyguard, secretary, and companion. His family loves me and my family and takes care of us whenever we are in Pakistan.

In my life time God has blessed me to help lot of people but a few have ever acknowledged my efforts; however, Ghulam Rasool not only acclaimed but reciprocated favor with service he has given to me and my family. I wish people should not forget the people who have been responsible for their success. They should not only acknowledge their favor but try to reciprocate help not only to those who helped them but to others so that this chain reaction of human generosity can continue and spread all over the world. In practical life, my biggest regret out of human behavior has been that most of the people whom I have helped have backstabbed me, and my major financial losses and mental anguish has been caused by these very people. A person like Ghulam Rasool Sial, a simple bus driver and financially very distressed, is on top of my list for the human goodness he has showed to me.

Gordon Quan  Former Houston City Council Member              

While working as Advisor to Mayor for South Asian Affairs I met Gordon Quan, a Chinese immigrant and a success story within South Asian community. Gordon was one of the very few city council members who served our community without much financial support from us. He proved to be a true public servant and served us more than our own Pakistani Councilman Masrur Jawaid Khan did.

Gordon Quan, due to his strong nature of generosity, rose to the position of Mayor Pro-term and served the then Mayor Lee Brown with high degree of integrity and honesty. He became victim of Mayor Bill White’s misleading hopes given to our community when the Mayor collaborated with the Hispanics and sidelined Afro-Americans and South Asians to solidify his political standings. In this dilemma, Gordon was replaced by Carol Alvarado, a Hispanic, to be the Mayor Pro-term who proved to be a huge embarrassment for Mayor Bill White later on. Again, here, an honest and dedicated public servant was replaced owing to political reasons and caused taxpayers big losses. Though Carol Alvardo is an intelligent and smart lady,  she rose to a high position without much experience on her side and consequently caused high mental anguish and political damage to the Hispanics.

Gordon was always part of our community events and I always introduced him as Star of South Asia as he did serve his people with highest degree of honor and righteousness. I hope he will come back in public service and serve his people in the political field.

Gordon is an immigration attorney and has always been helpful to anyone I have recommended him and many of our immigrant community members are living in this blessed country due to his untiring efforts to get them legalized. In my view he should be treated like a role model for the young politicians and we should learn from him how to carry ourselves.

Hakim Ali Zardari Karachi                          

          While studying in my first year in D.J. College, Karachi, one day, on my way to Hyderabad in a train, I met Kazi Khuda Bux, the then District Session Judge, Karachi. Kazi K.B. was my father’s friend. He invited me to visit him at his office. After few weeks I visited my friend, Deedar Soomro, a civil judge; at the City Court. Then I also visited Khuda Bux Kazi. Considering that he was my father’s friend, I had reluctantly accepted his invitation to have dinner with him and to watch the movie Fall of the Roman Empire at Bambino cinema. This is where I first met with Hakim Ali Zardari who also told me that he was very friendly with my father then serving as Deputy Secretary Home Department, Government of Sind. I found Hakim Ali very nice and thorough gentleman. He extended high class of hospitality whenever I visited him afterward.

Hakim Ali is one of the few Sindhis who diverted his attention to be an entrepreneur and was very successful in establishing so many companies. One of the reasons why the MQM leadership has been at odds with Benazir Bhutto is due to high level of success in business by Hakim Ali and his son Asif Zardari. After so many years of confinement in jail, no court could prove Asif Zardari or his father guilty of any crime. Unfortunately, this is the biggest dilemma that people in politics cannot do honest business and after their opponents take the power, most of their assets are fueled in saving their belongings.

After talking to several bureaucrats, it was revealed to me that Zardaris did make several business deals during their time in power but paid for everything they purchased. On one side Asif Zardari was exploited a lot by the MQM and many opposition parties; yet Hakim Ali Zardari kept his chin high and lived a decent life. During his days at high profile position he was always very cordials with government officers and treated them fairly. Contrary to him, Asif did use his power to get his way, which caused him lot of grief, mental anguish and distress. If he would have kept his positive attitude and made more friends than enemies, he could have prolonged the PPP’s rule. Mutual respect is a key factor, which makes one’s life easy, and gives peace to self.

In Pakistani society people do receive preferential treatment when in power but if a deal is made per the government rules, no one can challenge them. For example all the army officers get a plot in Defense Housing Society; they can either keep or sell it. They pay the government price and sale in the black-market. If this is acceptable then if someone buys a KDA plot at the government rate it should not be considered illegal. Army officers from bottom to top receive huge financial packages, which never get challenged in the courts, but politicians making an honest deal go to jail.

My personal view is that one should try to keep the politics and public service separated from business deals to ensure 100 % honesty if one wants to be proclaimed fair and virtuous.

In my view the Sindhi feudals should learn from Hakim Ali Zardari how to get successful in business, as he is a role model for us as for as business is concerned.

Haroon Sheikh Houston              

Haroon Sheikh and I came in close contact when I was elected as President Elect, Pakistan Chamber of Commerce-USA (PCC) while he served as the President.

Haroon and I came at odds right from the beginning of our relationship starting from our oath ceremony till today. As I was still working as Advisor to the Houston Mayor for South Asian Affairs, I took away all the limelight from him that created severe resentment in him and till today he carries ill feelings against me. Unfortunately, a lot of people perceived that I was President elect and taking over the leadership gave me more protocol than he deserved. His two years as President was over-shadowed by my high profile position in the Mayor’s office and political affiliations with local senators, congress members, and politicians. This sidelined him and put him at odds with me.
Haroon is a typical Pakistani businessman and a very successful entrepreneur and have this perception that anything and anybody can be purchased on a certain price. Unfortunately, I came from a school of thought having learnt the lesson that no one can buy my integrity and opinion with any remuneration. Therefore, we always worked in opposite directions. Haroon did make a lot of money by owing chain of Liquor Stores, Adult Bookstores, Convenience Stores and real estate. He is a major partner in a CPA firm, considered to be the largest Pakistani owned CPA firm in State of Texas.

Haroon is a generous contributor when it comes to monetary aids, as well. He provides free financial services to various community organizations. His critics feel that he does this to get more business from the community and it is his business maneuver rather than have a heart for the community organizations. As he likes to have attention, many of cunning political leaders use his money for political contributions to satisfy their political agenda. In return Haroon has got the limelight and has perceived himself a politician. In my view, Haroon has more caliber and qualities, which are under used. He can mature himself to be a better and seasoned leader. He needs to improve his command on English language and speaking techniques. His major drawback was his inferiority complex, which I felt when during PCC board meeting he made the following statement: “Memon Sahib, you always treat me like shit.” I was really very disappointed by lack of his confidence as I always treated him fairly and gave him proper protocol as my President. The main problem with him is that he has not been raised in a high-class bureaucratic atmosphere as I was; therefore, he lacked confidence and was always looking for attention and media limelight.

Haroon is a very good host and throws lavish parties at his house. Most of these parties are arranged to get political leverage and make political contacts and somewhat showing off his expensive house and beautiful decor. His major complaint from me has been that I have never invited him to my home. I very truthfully responded to his complaint: “We are very selective in bringing people to our house and unfortunately he does not meet the criteria though we have been friends outside since so many years.” Unfortunately Pakistani people consider invitations at home the barometer of the friendship where as in my view you invite only those people whom you consider true friends not casual acquaintance and those people whom you trust and have no expectations from each other. I considered Haroon as a political friend; therefore, I always kept our relationship outside my house. Unluckily this statement offended him a great deal, but I still hold that everybody lives by his rules. For example, I do not visit anyone without an appointment or a prior phone call nor visit anyone uninvited. Also if I am invited through a third party, by the host I never honor such invitations as I think every respectable person if invited must be properly invited by the host of the event. The main reason for this is to get full respect, which you deserve when you attend any event. Many of my friends do not like my habits but I think one should follow the social ethics and rules of conduct to earn respect in life.

Haroon has a very pleasant personality; however, many a time he tries to enforce his opinion as the final word and does not let others to share their point of view. His habit sometimes portrayed him a dictator in the chamber matters and created many problems. During his Presidency of PCC, he indulged himself and many of us in removing Zafar Tahir from the position of Vice President Liaison. This all ended up in a physical assault by Zafar Tahir to Haroon Sheikh, yet, luckily, we all avoided a police case. It was odd that after a few months he changed his political affiliations and joined forces with Zafar Tahir keeping us in a limbo and which was never appreciated by any of our board members. During my tenure as President he constantly poked his nose in the chamber affairs and kept on undermining my caliber. He always created political mayhem for me and I defeated him on political grounds. However, after completing my one-year tenure, I chose not to extend my term to second year because of lack of co-operation from executives of the chamber. Also Haroon was on my case all the time and used his periodical dinners to create political rivalry among the board members. On the other hand he wanted to bring in his business partner Dr. Barkat Charania as the President who had his ambition to be the President of Agha Khan Council and used this position as a political ladder. In a nutshell, Haroon always tried to play politics but does not have much community service credit embossed on his resume though he claims to be one of the top leaders of our community. His biggest weakness was his forgetfulness of anything he committed after 9 p.m. Some of his friends think that it is due to some medication, which causes this effect that he does not remember anything whatsoever that he says in the late evening time. His habit has put him at odds with many of us but I think it is beyond his control. His one dream is to be the leader of Pakistani American Association of Greater Houston to get elected as President and so far I do not see this happening soon.

Hashmat Effendi, House of Charity, Houston

          Hashmat Effendi got aquatinted with us about 15 years ago when she was operating a Matrimonial service to facilitate marriages between Muslim couples. My sister-in-law retained her services to get her daughter married and paid $ 500 for the service. However, in six months’ time no proposal was ever given to my sister-in-law and her daughter got married losing the retainer she paid to Hashmat. This kind of dented our relationship and the scar remains visible even today.

          In the late 90’s, Hashmat started a charity named HOUSE OF CHARITY with Ghulam Bombaywala as her patron. House of Charity has been very active in bringing handicapped children with disabilities and burns from third world countries mainly from Pakistan and provides medical care to those children. In so many years I have witnessed several children coming and getting treated by the local doctors who provide free medical services to these children.

House of Charity is the only Pakistani charity that has adopted the American ways and means to solicit funds and grants to provide free medical care to the under privileged children from poor countries. As a whole this is an excellent project and one should always help in such causes. Lately the charity has been taking group of doctors to Pakistan where they are provided with free access to the operation theater facilities and hundreds of operations are done on the spot. Service wise I have no doubt that a lot has been accomplished by this charity.

Her critics are very vocal that Hashmat is milking money out of these patients while in Pakistan. On the other hand as most of charities spend major amount of their contributions in administrating the program, House of Charity has always been criticized about heavy administrative expenditures. One of the strong financial supporters of the charity told me that upon his queries he found out that 86 % of the money collected was spent on administrative cost and 14% was used for the programs. Due to this poor track record he pulled away from the charity. The Red Cross and many other charities have the same track record, as it is very costly to operate such programs. Most of their directors who joined them have slowly sidelined themselves except Ghulam Bombaywala.

Due to so much negativity, House of Charity was audited by Marvin Zingler, a TV Host of high reputation but no concrete proof of any irregularities was found. However, some of the past employees have revealed that Hashmat Effendi draws a substantial salary from the program and has used the funds for her personal use. Upon my queries from her, she denied these allegations and claimed to be doing this work for her inner satisfaction only.

Hashmat has also suffered a lot on account of her husband Tariq Effendi, who was involved in some stock trading in which several Pakistani investors lost substantial money and blame Tariq for the losses.

In my view everyone has to face Almighty God and we are not the judges to decide about other people’s actions. If we feel that this program is providing services to the poor people and handicapped children are getting benefit from it, we should support it. If they are doing anything for the financial reason or media attention as criticized by many about Ghulam Bombaywala, they have to answer for all this to God one day. One should always see within. If they are doing anything for human culture, we must avoid criticism of these people over what they are doing. It may appear to be very little but it is better than giving nothing.

Because of a lot of negativity about House of Charity, its popularity has substantially reduced but they have survived due to various government and charitable grants and are running a fully equipped center in Houston.

Hillary Rodham Clinton Former First Lady and Senator, New York

Amber and I met with first lady Hillary R. Clinton during a fundraiser for her senatorial campaign in Houston. When President Clinton was dragged into impeachment process due to Monica Lewinski ordeal, Amber had done a full analysis about the future events including predicating that President Clinton would be impeached but exonerated from the charges. It was analyzed that neo-conservative groups had instigated and planted Monica to indulge the President in sexual relation. He was not at fault but was distracted by human lust. The written copy of the analysis was mailed to the President but I doubt if he ever received it. However, on February 12, 1999, the day when we met Mrs. Clinton at 5 p.m., the decision was announced to acquit President Clinton from the charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. As I had a copy of Amber’s analysis report, I gave it to Mrs. Clinton. Instead of keeping it she read it all very patiently and asked Amber: “Do you think I will be elected Senator?” Amber replied: “You are already a senator.” Mrs. Clinton said, “I am running for the senate seat yet to be the senator.” Amber again responded: “You are already a senator.” Mrs. Clinton looked at me and told her that New York Mayor Gulliani was a strong candidate running against her and the election was far away. Amber interrupted her conversation and said: “Gulliani is not going to run against you.” Mrs. Clinton did not believe in her assessment and later on when Gulliani withdrew from the contest, she realized what Amber foresaw she could not see. Later on she got elected as Senator New York without much fight and must be always wondering how Amber knew that She was a senator already.

Meeting with Mrs. Clinton was in a very cordial manner and she was not only very beautiful and well dressed woman but had the same charisma as President Clinton who can make you friends within no time. The quality these two have in particular the feel for the poor peoples I am sure one day they will again occupy White House.

One more moral of this story is that in the U.S.A. one can talk to the wife of sitting President about her husband’s sexual life while surrounded by the secret service agents. The way she handled the intimate details of the report was incredible and she demonstrated high class of confidence and softness which most of the politicians lack. If you commit a similar mistake in a third world country, you would be in jail for life. I am so proud of the American system I am living in where you can say anything to your elected representatives without fear: that is what the true democracy is all about.

My next meeting with Senator Hillary Clinton was during a recent visit to Houston when a group of Pakistanis hosted a breakfast for her. She looked as beautiful as she was several years ago and her friendliness and soft nature still remained. The best part of her was that during my stay with her from 7.30AM to 3.30PM she made three different speeches and each one was to the point and very well balanced for different audience. During my few minutes I pursued her to work on bringing democracy to Pakistan and let the political leaders of Pakistan get the chance to run their country. She not only promised but supported our cause during her speech and I am sure once she is elected the President of USA she will help Pakistan to converge as true democratic state.

Hipplito Acosta, Former Director Immigration, US Dept. of Justice

Hipplito Acosta got aquatinted with me during my tenure as Advisor to Mayor for South Asian Affairs. In my opinion, in the recent history of US immigration department he is the only Director who can be named as a true public servant. This was the first time our community not only met with the director but also became friendly with him.

Post 9/11 era was very favorable for the Pakistani community in Houston because of two people: Mayor Lee Brown and Hipplito Acosta. The registration process was very easy for the people of our region as they were treated fairly and passionately with no complaints from anyone. These two individuals made our life so much easy that Houston became the most desirable city to live for the Pakistanis.

Acosta not only helped so many distressed people seeking immigration but also changed the outlook of the service center to make it customer friendly, as it should be. I recollect that it used to take many hours to stand in queues even to get a form from the immigration office. Poor working people had to take complete day off and stand in lines outside in bad weather to seek for any help. Poli ( as we called him later on) changed the out look of the service and got under-roof seating and number system by which people were served like humans not like animals as done before. Poli was always part of community events and helped us hold immigration seminars and served the people irrespective of their color and creed.

I can narrate so many stories in which Poll helped distressed people to get legalized but I will mention only one case enough to show his passion to serve. During Citizenship and naturalization oath Ceremony he was informed that a lady who was supposed to take oath could not attend the ceremony due to mild stroke and she was hospitalized. After the oath ceremony, he visited the hospital and held a special oath ceremony for the lady in the hospital and issued her the naturalization certificate. How many of the public servants will provide a service like this?

Poli was like a family friend to all of us and we witnessed so many exemplary qualities in him as a human being and as a public servant. I can write many pages about him. However his close relationship with people took a toll on him when some of our Pakistani political rivals wrote a letter against Poli which was one of the reasons that he decided to take an early retirement. It is so disappointing to mention and shameful of those Pakistani elements that did a big disservice to Poli as well as to the people because he could have helped so many Pakistanis during his remaining tenure.

We saw the strength of his friends when we were invited at his farewell party. So many law enforcement officials, from all over the country, attended this party. Poli has a special charisma.  This made us encourage him to run for City Council seat, which he lost due to several reasons. Though he raised enormous money but due to several catastrophic disasters like Katrina, Rita, Tsunami, and earthquake in Pakistan, the political campaigning was more localized which did not give him a chance to go door to door to show the people what his caliber was. After his loss, he joined United Central Bank but I see a great future ahead of him in political field. Poli has all the necessary ingredients: caliber, vigor to serve, family and financial support from the Hispanics. This, I know, will eventually glide him like a star on the political horizon of Houston. In my view after Bill White’s tenure as Houston Mayor, Poli can be the best candidate for the job as first Hispanic Mayor of Houston.

Hirbat Mirfasi Topeka, Kansas

I met Hirbat Mirfasi (Herby) in 1981 when I joined Daniel Construction Company at Wolf Creek nuclear plant located at New Strawn Kansas near Kansas City.

Herby was a Muslim immigrant from Iran and was working as an electrical engineer in the same department where I joined. Herby was a fresh college graduate with very little practical experience. Working with him immediately gave me an indication that he knew more about computers but less about electrical power industry. He was a very friendly person and I started taking him on site tours and taught him the practical aspects of electrical engineering.

On my first day the site superintendent came to see me. He could not pronounce my name so he started calling me from Manzoor to Manny. Herby and Manny was a musical group very popular during early 80’s. To assimilate in the group I did not object to being called Manny which eventually helped me to be part of the system and at present I am more known as Manny in the political field than with my real name. Herby had a unique style of time management. This made him very famous in the department. As we were hired to do a job contracted on cost plus basis, the company managers encouraged us to work overtime so that the client could be billed more. According to me, the job never required overtime, which put me at odds with my managers. Henceforth, I completed the job within stipulated time and refused to come on weekends to make extra money. Eventually, one day my Manager came up and had an open talk that if I did not agree to work overtime, there was no one to be supervised by him. According to him his monthly mortgage and other payments forced him to work overtime to make his ends meet. We finally negotiated a common ground under which I agreed to work overtime every alternate week so that I could be with my family every other weekend. Herby on the other hand, spent his office time and overtime for his benefit by spending time socializing with all the employees of the office. As he was single and very cunning, he was friends with all the girls working in the office and became a very desirable person in the whole department. He partied with the bosses and drank and ate everything available. This dragged him very close to everyone. I, on the other hand, was busier doing my job and trying to learn the American system to enhance my career.

Herby being fresh from college was making a start up engineer’s salary and I was making about $ 7000 more than him. At the end of the year, my boss elevated him at a higher rank than me and gave him a rise to match his salary with me when I received a merely 4% increase. When confronted with my boss, I was told that he was very sociable and good person, which pegged him with a major advantage. During that time jobs in nuclear field were abundant therefore I started looking for a new job and within a few weeks left the company to join Mississippi Power & Light Company at Grand Gulf Nuclear Plant at Port Gibson near Vicksburg Mississippi. However, I learnt a major lesson of my life from Herby, who taught me that you do not need to posses professional excellence but public relations to rise high. I was more qualified and more experienced but Herby crossed over my salary level mainly because he was friendlier and more sociable.

During my soliciting jobs I was invited by New Jersey Power Company for an interview. When checking in at the hotel I meet with an engineer John from Mississippi Power & Light Co. As both of us were being interviewed by the same company, we decided to have breakfast and visit the company together. Next morning John knocked my door asking if I had an extra necktie he could use. I gave him few options and he borrowed one of my ties and we went for our interviews after the breakfast. Weeks later, John called me to get my address so that he could dispatch me the tie. I told him to keep it as a gift. He subsequently offered help to get a job in his company and arranged an interview and gave strong recommendation and secured one of the best jobs I ever worked.

Herby taught me the practical aspect of life and how to be friendly, gregarious and helpful and not to be stuck-up as most of our people are. Since then I have made it motto of my life to be congenial and friendly by extending help to anyone who come in my contact.

On my new job I followed the same style of Herby and was amazed to see the results. I was designated to head a new department as lead engineer instead of my boss who had a Ph.D. in electrical engineering but had the same poor attitude as I had on my previous job. I enjoyed my new position and it gave me a high degree of confidence because I was supervising several engineers including two engineers with Ph.D. and two with masters in engineering whereas I only had a Bachelor’s degree. I accomplished my goals with high degree of success and got very high performance reports from my superiors.

Positive attitude is a very critical factor for a successful life and I recommend people to be friendlier and follow the maxim: “Do in Rome as the Romans do.” If you have left your country and adopted your new homeland to be part of the system then you must practice to show that you are as good as your neighbor. ( I have lost touch with Herby and would very much like to reunite with him if any one knows about his whereabouts.)

Senator Hussein Shah Rashidi Karachi

I met with Hussein Shah through his brother Jamal Rashidi, who got aquatinted with me in the year 1988 when I was operating five travel agencies in Houston. One day Jamal asked me to check if he could get a cheaper flight for his brother to travel from New York or Washington DC to Houston. He had found out that it was costing him more than $ 1000 for the ticket whereas I sold him the same ticket for around $300 by using a continental airline’s coupons received by our company.

Once Hussein Shah came to Houston, we clicked right away due to so many common acquaintances. I invited Hussein Shah to my house and he became a charming guest for our whole family, as he knew my wife’s close relations too. Hussein Shah had a hobby of taking photographs but mainly his lenses were kind on pretty women. Once he found that I also operate a one-hour photo lab he started getting his photos developed and enlarged from there. Later on I felt that he was more artistic than perverted as I felt earlier. Hussein Shah and I got so close that he always wanted me to pick him and keep him company. During his stay in Houston we spent a lot of time together and our friendship grew stronger. Since then whenever I visited Pakistan he has been an extremely good host and respects me very much.

Hussein Shah Rashidi is son of late Ali Mohammad Rashidi, a great writer, politician and scholar. His writings about Sind and its culture are one of its kind. My most favorite book written by him Uhey deean Uhey Seehan has inspired part of my book by adopting his style of writing about people. His quality of penmanship about people of Sind taught me so many different ways to highlight positive and negative points about people in a very cordial and polite way. Ali Mohammad Rashidi was a shrewd politician involved in pre-partition politics and was always a favorite of the army and establishment to hold a key position in various governments. The only draw back in him was that he never took stand for Sind issues and was instrumental in creating One Unit along with Ayub Khoro and many other Sindhi politicians who did not have the vision to oppose it. One Unit eventually damaged political and economic standing of Sind and the Punjab was the biggest beneficiary and became very strong and has ruled the minority provinces since then.

During formation of cabinet by Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi Prime Minister of Pakistan, I was guest at Hussein Shah’s home when I found that he was lobbying for his brother in law to be federal Minister. I knew that Hussein Shah was a right hand and lead legal advisor of Benazir Bhutto but was soliciting seat in the opposition group. Upon my enquiry he told me that for feudals like them they had to play both sides and keep their favorites in every cabinet to ensure that their interests are safeguarded and they were treated fairly. Hussein Shah was honest in his opinion as well as in his attitude that they believe in self-protection.

During Benazir Bhutto’s tenure as Prime Minister upon arrival at dinner table I asked Hussein Shah how strong her government was. He told me that I should know more because all the decisions were made in the U.S.A. I can only concur with him that he was very true that all of our leaders are chosen by the U.S.A. State Department and are removed by them when their purpose is fulfilled. The Americans, though preaching democracy in the whole world, believe in dictatorship and have been busy for years in supporting dictators, kings and army generals to rule and never let the democracy flourish in third world countries.

One interesting story narrated by Hussein Shah is worth mentioning. Hussein Shah’s uncle, Hisamuddin Rashidi was a jewel of Sindhi culture and literature. Most of the literary circles give Hisamuddin higher status than Ali Mohammed though he was more famous. Hismauudin had a colossal library in his hometown Ghari Yasin, near Shikarpur, Sind. Perception has been that CSP (Central Superior Service of Pakistan) officers are very educated and literate therefore he invited a new Deputy Collector of Shikarpur to have dinner with him and visit his libarary. After the dinner while taking tour of his libarary the Deputy Collector stood in front of the portrait of Umer Khyam and told Hisamuddin that the portrait looked familiar to him. When he was told who the person in the portrait he responded: “Oh yes, I have seen his movie.” Illiterate CSP made Umer Khayyam with a movie star rather than knowing anything about his contributions in the field of literature and poetry.

Knowing so many CSP officers I have found that their knowledge has been shallow but due to their strength as part of the inner establishment they have been able to govern Pakistan and its infrastructure since early days of Pakistan.

Hussein Shah Rashidi is also cousin of Pir Sahib Pagaro but many people do not know this fact. I wish this family together could take up Sind issues and help the poor masses and leave some legacy. My cousin Shukat Memon Deputy Director WAPDA married from Hussein Shah’s family and we became distant relatives too. Hussein Shah passed away just recently but left a superior legacy of pleasant and friendly relations with every one he knew. God bless his soul.

After an honest evaluation of his family I think they could have done more for Sind and its issues and would have achieved higher level of respect from the common man but they always chose to be friends with the establishment for their own safety and preserving their assets.

Jimmy Burke, Former Mayor of Deer Park

Dairy Queen, a fast food franchise, was my first business venture in the USA; it brought us to the city of Deer Park in 1985. Deer Park is a small town, east of Houston Texas, mainly populated by the blue collar workers in the largest energy complex in the USA, including Shell Refinery. Due to the exemplary schools, Deer Park has been very desirable for the surrounding areas to raise their families.

In my first year of business, I held an employee meeting in the dining hall of my restaurant to discuss problems created by some old employees of the store to undermine the management. Suddenly, I saw a tall Caucasian man come to the meeting table and make the following statement: “If I were you, I would quit this job and not work for this man.” I was very furious and told the customer to get out of my establishment and we exchanged some unpleasant words before he left the store. I was very disappointed to see that this man was so prejudiced that he was instigating my staff against me. His attitude was very unprofessional. However, it was not very surprising as Deer Park was a color-biased city those days, its neighboring city Pasadena being the head quarter of a white superemist organization. Lately, things have changed and both of these cities have converged into a homogenous society.

One day I visited City Hall of Deer Park and saw pictures of all of the city officials hanging on the front of the building. To my surprise, I found out that the man who I had kicked out of my store was Mayor Jimmy Burke, Mayor of Deer Park. After knowing this I was more disappointed as I never expected that a man of his status would make such a bad statement to my staff in front of the owner of the establishment. I expected a higher class individual of him and always wonder why he acted so miserably. Due to this episode I was expecting some retaliation from the city officials but in so many years I cannot state even one thing which was done against me or my business.

Once Wayne Riddle was elected as Mayor, the city of Deer Park started converging into a mixed society and a business-friendly city and has developed extensively since then. Mayor Riddle has been a true friend to our community and has always attended our events, giving honors to our community. That is what the public officials and political leaders should be doing: to serve the people and bring them together.

Quite recently, I was invited to a Golf Tournament hosted by Mayor Wayne Riddle. He generously lent me room on his cart and took me for a tour of the Battleground golf course. While taking a tour to one of the holes, we met Jimmy Burke and Mayor Riddle introduced me to him. Jimmy acted as if he did not know me but we briefly talked and broke the ice to start a new relationship. About a week later, he came to my restaurant; here I served him and his grandson with a complimentary dinner to establish our friendship anew. However, I still wonder why he made such an irrational remark in my store in front of my employees who were indulged in policies against the company rules. Instead, I expected a public official should have supported me and asked the employees to observe honesty and dedication for the establishment that provided them with their bread and butter.

Iqbal Tareen, Dallas, Texas.

Iqbal Tareen met me first time when I started studying for my engineering degree at Sind University Engineering College, Jamshoro, in 1969. Iqbal was nephew of the then Principal Dr. A. Q. Afghan and was more involved in student politics than his academic career. After the 4th march incident on Jamshoro Bridge Iqbal emerged as a student leader of Jeay Sind and has been affiliated with this group since then. Iqbal is a natural speaker and very articulate in his thoughts and can make very effective spontaneous speeches. Iqbal and I never got close during college days. It was not until 1974-75 that he started visiting me at my residence at Government Officers’ Hostel Mess, located at Garden Road, Karachi. I was the in charge of the officer’s mess and had a lot of leverage to assign living quarters in the hostel. One day Iqbal came to me with his wife to seek place to live. Government hostel was equipped with about 100 single rooms and 10 family suites. Just on the same day when Iqbal came to see me I had got possession of a family suite where I planned to move. Considering that he was married and I was single I handed over the key to him and helped him to move in the family suite. It was so bitter to experience that after that I never heard from him and our relationship never moved forwards an inch.

After migration to the U.S.A., Iqbal appeared on the Houston scene when I had organized Houston Chapter of Sindhi Association of North America (SANA). Though Iqbal lived in Dallas he was always poking his nose in local politics and created conditions for me to sideline from the SANA. Iqbal, though talked and preached about democracy, always acted like a dictator particularly when he held a secret election of the Houston chapter Of SANA over few beers in Jamil Daudi’s home one day before the general body meeting of the group. When questioned about the selection not the election of the office bearers, he defended the action and I felt that it was impossible to work with this group and I resigned from the basic membership of SANA. This in turn was a wise decision that I left a regional and ethnic group and joined mainstream American politics and rose to a higher level within Pakistani as well American political circles. In a way, today I should thank all of those people including Iqbal Tareen, Jamail Daudi, Agha Zafar, Aziz Soomro and many more who created conditions for me to leave for a greener pasture. This is a good lesson to learn that sometimes good comes out of someone’s baneful and flagitious actions.

Subsequently, Houston chapter of SANA as well as the complete association has been in turmoil after Iqbal’s involvement in SANA’s political affairs. Iqbal was elected as President of SANA but did not achieve any goals instead most of the senior members of SANA sidelined themselves. Once strong 1000-plus-member organization, SANA shrank to a very thin membership mainly due to dirty politics played by Iqbal and a few of his rowdy associates. In my view he has damaged cause of Sind more than helping the people of Sind.

Iqbal Tareen has always talked and spoken about Sind issues but has shown very little contribution on his resume. This gives way to surmise that if he has helped anybody from his region. One day I asked him a blunt question to account for any concrete work he had performed to help the people of Sind. He was very upset, as no one had confronted him as I did and he had no substantial achievements to mention.

Iqbal was Vice President Administration, responsible for all appointments in Kettle restaurant chain with over 500 locations. Except one of his personal friend Sirfraz Abbasi, he never helped anyone to get a job. On the other side, I, being a small businessman, can very gladly state that I provided jobs to more than dozen people from Sind and helped many to get green cards and provided logistic support to start business. Iqbal, on the other hand, though preaching for Sind, cannot give me few of his contributions to match. My two initiatives in Pakistan resulted 500 plus jobs for the people from the rural areas for which I always feel proud. Unfortunately, sloganeers like Iqbal get more media coverage and hard working people who really help the community do not get credit for their honest efforts.

On the academic side, Iqbal never attended his engineering classes. Though he received degree in electrical engineering in first class, he could never hold an engineering job. Because of his poor academic career, he has never been successful in any field and I consider him failure on the economic as well as political field.

On a visit by Rasool Bux Palejo in Houston, he very conveniently appeared in our event and made so many promises with Palejo to work on Kalabagh Dam issue but I have not seen any of those promises fulfilled.

Iqbal is a very sweet talker and can mesmerize you; however, his talk and actions never matched and in my heart I always thought that he was a big waste of talent for the people of Sind. I think he could have achieved a lot if streamlined his talk and deeds and synchronize his actions with his speeches.

Late Irshad Ahmed Memon ,Shikarpur/ Karachi             

Irshad Ahmed was my second eldest brother. He was younger than my eldest brother, Professor Shabir Ahmed. Irshad was a jewel in crown of our family. He was not only very humble and soft-spoken but was also very talented. His vast study of literature in a very young age was very commendable. He had crammed up Bernard Russell’s books while still in his teens. He was an extremely eloquent speaker and participated in debates and won several awards. After doing his intermediate from science from D.J. College, he joined NED Engineering College and graduated in Electrical Engineering in 1972. Immediately after his graduation, he was appointed as Assistant Engineer at Pakistan Machine Tools Factory. Unfortunately, he passed away in a company car accident near Landhi railway crossing and I lost my closest friend I ever had. Irshad was always my mentor and mediator to resolve any family issues. My father used to be very close to him and always respected his advice. As my elder brother Shabir possessed a very low-key personality, Irshad more or less acted as the leader of the house and every one looked at him for advice. He was not only a favorite of our family but was very close to most of the relatives and his loss can never be replenished.

Irshad was so friendly that he had friends all over the country and after his untimely death, most of his friends became my friends. Pir Mazhar Ul Haque, Ashfaque Memon, Muneer Umrani, Khadium Hussain Memon, and many more kept in touch with me after his sudden death.

The effect of Irshad's sudden death made my father very mellow and one time very hard and strong person changed tremendously and became more a friend to us than father. The barrier between father and sons was broken and we became very close to our father. Irshad was the greatest loss to me because after him I had to take charge of home affairs to solve problems due to weak nature of my elder brother. Most of the people still think that I am the eldest son of Karamullah Memon.

Irshad always encouraged us to read books and during our spare time we all used to check out various Urdu, Sindhi, and English novels and biographies and read at an enormous rate. It was his motivation and encouragement for reading that has brought me to such a level that today I can write to express my thoughts and spread my word.

On the honesty front, Irshad, in just a few months of the job at Machine Tools Factory, was acknowledged for saving a substantial amount of contract money by his articulate design. His superiors for the honest and dedicated job done by him rewarded him generously and gave him a pay increase within 3 months.

Good people like Irshad do not live longer but during his short life of 23 years he touched so many people and made so many friends that they still remember him. His friends who were in engineering college would come and get tutored by him during summer vacation due to his high command over mathematics and other engineering subjects. In his life he always gave and was short lived and never enjoyed his youth for which I always have regrets. But it was the will of God, Who is wiser and must have some reason to take him and let us suffer. May God give him place in paradise with my only words for him: “We love you dear brother and will never forget your charming person and what you did for us.”

Ah, Young Irshad Memon             

Ah, the noble minded young Memon

Flourished like a flower to fade in bloom

Bachelor of engineering in electricity

Gifted with knowledge and ability

What a gem was he, what a wealth was he

Unparalleled in manners a jewel was he

The heart and mind of the moaning parent

To them a living sorrow with all torment.

Let the mighty sun shine ever over his land

And the kind clouds shower ever over his grave

Let the most merciful Allah bless his soul

And the native place where Irshad abodes.

Transport serves the means of transportation

With all speed but more speed towards destination

Transports the living beings from land to land,

From this impermanent world to the original land.

Now he was in car now transported to hospital

Now he was well now on death bed, painful

Now he was Irshad now he is clay

Now he was here now with Allah in gay.

Sent to Karamullah A. Memon & Family by: Mr. Habiballah Qadri Thatta~

Dr. Ishrat Hussein, Governor, State Bank Pakistan

Dr. Ishrat Hussein CSP was appointed as Deputy Collector Shikarpur sometime between 1965 and 66. When my father told me that he achieved a rural domicile certificate from him by falsifying his application, when my father was serving as Mukhtiarkar Hyderabad. That time around, a number of Urdu speaking people forged their residential address to get domiciles from interior and this is how they deprived Sind of the natives for the positions and Dr. Ishrat is one of those people who misused the system and rose to the peak. During his tenure at Shikarpur, we had some political rivalry with Habibullah Memon, who was City Council member of Shikarpur. Just to tease him a few of my friends and I got an invitation printed to hold a lunch in honor of Ishrat. This invitation was very systematically distributed within all the elite of Shikarpur. However, the day of lunch was picked up as April 1 1965 and no one figured out that it was the April fool day. On the day of lunch Ishrat received a call from Dr. Farooqi, father of Ihsan Farooqi (Houston, Texas), to pick him up on his way to the lunch. Ishrat had no clue what he was talking about as the chief guest did not receive any invitation. However, about 1 p.m., Habibullah Memon’s family started facing the arrivals of the guests expecting lunch and underwent a chaotic situation. My friends and I were hiding in a corner to see who attended the lunch and enjoyed it.

After several years, when Ishrat was serving as provincial Secretary, my father formally introduced me to him and told him about my mischief. He was very cordial and kind of enjoyed the joke I played on him. But the joke was on us when he became my father’s boss and thanked my father for his generosity to give him a false domicile certificate which gave him special place in his CSS examination being from rural Sind. In his tenure, my father had two regrets: one was Ishrat’s domicile certificate and other one was to issue a certificate of recommendation to Mohammed Khan Junejo, who later on became Secretary Home Department, where my father served under him as Deputy Secretary Administration Home. I always wonder whether to help people out of the way and let them rule you or to shy away from helping them. My father, though a man of strict principles, did help the poor and had good life but never rose to high positions like many who not only made money but were rewarded with high positions.

I always ponder that if the system had been fair, the Sindhis would not have suffered so much and a homogenous culture would have emerged. However, the Urdu-speaking people not only exploited the land and properties of Sind but also deprived us of the rights and took lead in every field. Today the Sindhis, as a nation, are not accepted as part of Pakistan. Despite the fact that they gave away so much to the Urdu speaking people, the Urdu speaking people have shown no respect to them and have always worked against the cause of Sind and conspired against the welfare of the Sindhis.

Jamal Bijarani,Jacobabad

Jamal Bijarani met me at Sind University Engineering College Jamshoro during my engineering education days. Jamal was elected as the President of Student Union in my third year in college. Student leaders were more of the gangster types; therefore, I used to avoid them mainly for I was more involved in the academics and literary pursuit. I was the editor of a monthly engineering magazine named The Engineers. This publication encouraged young writers to contribute technical articles for publication. Jamal came from a backward village, obtained his admission in university through some political connection, and was never interested in the academics as I did. However, one day, he called me to visit him at his hostel room. As the serving President I could not deny his request and when I visited his hostel room he greeted me by aiming a loaded gun at my head. I was very scared and confused but somehow kept my nerves and asked of the problem that had triggered this action. I was surprised to know that he was acting lunatic because I had published an article written by one of his political opponents. According to him, I had ignored him as the President and never published his photograph in my publications. I briefly elaborated to him that the publication was open for everyone and I would like to see an article written by him which would be printed in the next issue. Jamal never wrote an article. Instead, I wrote a news item about all the student union office bearers and published his picture on the title page of the newsletter to get him off my back.

After college days, I never met Jamal anywhere. However, if ever confronted him, I will tell him that he was a poor judge of character whose actions in life were a reflection of his inferiority complex and demonstrated very low human quality.

I hope after so many years he is now mentally grown up and has matured enough that this story may look funny to him.

The reason why this kind of behavior occurred was because the college Principal Dr. A.Q. Afghan encouraged negative activities and people like us who believed more in academics were sidelined and gangsters like Jamal Bijarani were always ran ahead of us. The administrators of an educational institute should support the studious students and discourage hooligans to send the right message to the youth that excellence in academics is the route to success.

Dr. Jamal Yusuf,  Karachi

Dr. Jamal Yusuf is the wife of Ahad Yusuf, who served as Mayor of Hyderabad and Provincial Minister for Health during General Zia’s tenure. Ahad Yusuf was an active member of Jamait-ulma and enjoyed power without contesting any elections and exploited the system as an army insider. Ahad Yusuf was one of the many Pakistani politicians who were on Pakistani establishment’s list because they could fill in any political position to support the Army Junta. Most of these politicians were rejected by the people so could never get elected with a popular vote count; therefore, they always conspired with army to weaken democracy. The Soomros of Shikarpur, the Kazis of Hyderabad, the MQM leaders from Karachi, the Chowdhrys and the Mians from the Punjab and many more have been recruited by the establishment to fill in the blank space as needed to rule the country by capturing power by coming from behind the doors.

Dr. Jamal is biological mother of my wife. She abandoned Amber after getting married to Ahad Yusuf. During her third year of medical school Dr. Jamal married one of her cousins. The marriage ended in separation and divorce to their first child. Amber’s maternal grand father Syed Akhtar Yusuf adopted her and raised her like a princess. Amber has no regrets but a very strong feeling of abandonment and disavowal still persists in her heart always missing the love of her mother.

 

Dr. Jamal, after graduation, worked for a few years and later on become administrator of Sir Haroon Hospital located at Shah Faisal Colony and served the community for twenty plus years. Irrespective of many meetings with my mother in law, my wife and I could never develop any relationship as she is one of the most cold and self centered woman who has no love for others but herself. Due to her first marriage and divorce, she could never develop any close relationship with her father. She has been living in seclusion in Karachi with her only other daughter from Ahad Yusuf. At times, I think to myself that she should express regret and apologize to Amber and get to know the lady, her daughter, who is one of the best people, with a special gift I have met in my life.

 

Jawaid Maqbool, Los Angles

Jawaid Maqbool, instrumental in getting our immigration to the U.S.A., is married to elder sister of my wife. He also stretched a helping hand to me in getting me work with Bechtel Power Corporation, one of the largest construction companies in the world. Jawaid Maqbool has been living in the U.S.A. for more than 35 years. He worked mostly for Bechtel Power Corporation and is presently living a retired life in Los Angles. Upon my first visit to the United States of America, in May 1980, Jawaid Maqbool, told me two things in his twisted American accent: “Maanzooor, information is the most important thing in this country.” He added: “And the Americans are the most honest people on earth.” I was really impressed by the latter sentence, yet the former looked silly and odd to me. After living more than 25 years in the U.S.A., I can admire Jawaid about his comments. Information is the key to one’s success here; whereas his comments about honesty are still being reflected in my mind and have very mixed conclusions.

I learnt so many things from Jawaid particularly how to avoid being a guest at someone’s house as he always stayed at a hotel instead of staying at someone’s house. Upon our arrival, he checked us in a motel, too, and did not offer us to stay with him. It looked to me very inhospitable and unfriendly at that time but later I realized that it was a most practical move.

When we arrived in the U.S.A., I had sold all my assets and brought in approximately $ 42,000.00, a handsome amount in the 1980s. As Jawaid was not a businessman, but a career engineer, he made me spend most of my capital to purchase a car and households. At the end, I had only $ 3000 left. Then I realized that he could have helped me in a much better way, that is, by getting me those items on installments so that I could have invested the capital to grow faster. As he was not a business-minded person, I do not blame him but it delayed my financial independence that I could have achieved sooner.

All through my life, I will remain indebted to his major contribution to sponsor us to get a legal status in the U.S.A. My family and I have always been grateful to him, though he did it to please his father in law. Who wanted to ship me to the U.S.A. for a major reason to save himself from humiliation from my family and me.

Jawaid had grown into a very modernized man and quite distant from Islamic values when I met him. He was the first person whom I saw drinking scotch with champagne without water to thin down the effect of liquor. He used to hold lavish parties at his home with all kinds of liquor served there. However, as they say it is the God’s will when he shows you the right path. Jawaid was posted in Saudi Arabia and while in Mecca he was sleeping in Haram Sharif where his life changed and since then he has been a man of Muslim faith by not only practicing the religion but has been spreading the word of Islam all over the country.

Jawaid has a weakness for beautiful things including pretty women. As such, he has always been a materialist for whom worldly possession does have a value. After switching 180 degrees from a modern man to a full faith Muslim, he still has a little feeling for his weaknesses, which may have been changed by now.

Jawaid and I got on odds due to some of our family matters. I expected him to take a stand for the truth but he acted more of a politician. So, I decided to cut off my relationship with him and his family considering him to be hypocrite. To me, if you claim to be honest and a man of the faith, you should stand by the side of veracity and truth even if it is not in your interest. Jawaid failed in his test of taking the side of the truth for which I always regretted. But I never stopped giving him the credit to be propitious and helpful in bringing our family to the U.S.A. where we have prospered.

Jawaid has a very loving family: a daughter and a son who are always in touch with my children though the elders (we) are at odds with each other. I have always encouraged the younger generation to maintain their relationships with others to have a pleasant life and avoid mistakes committed by the elders without getting stuck by their elders’ issues.

Jerry Shirel , Deer Park Texas

In 1990, I wanted to diversify my financial portfolio by getting involved in building small single family dwellings for rental. I started my first experiment by building two houses side by side. When I was almost getting close to completion of the project, I met with Jerry Shirel, a white American whose mother in law happens to live next door to the houses I was building. Jerry was also a builder and we got close to each other and built some 8 houses together and I learnt so much from him that no college can teach me. Jerry, now retired and close to 70 years of age, was one of the hardest working, honest, and punctual people I have ever met in my business life. I trusted him so much that I would leave my check book and credits cards with him to use for anything appropriate for the construction of the houses and at no time he spent a penny more than required. I learnt so many trade secrets from him as how to save money. Jerry had only one problem: he wanted everything his way and always wanted to act like the boss. Initially, until I had not had enough knowledge about the ins and outs of the construction business, I did act like a student to him and followed his directions but a time came when we started arguing with each other due to different approaches. Jerry was not a businessman but an excellent builder. On the other hand, I have learnt a little about how to make things successfully happen, and have adopted some ways that can reduce cost to improve profitability. Eventually, due to some instigation by some subcontractors, Jerry decided to leave me stranded in the middle of a project. I completed the project at a lot lower cost then he would have done and in a shorter time due to my nature of handling multiple tasks at a time. Jerry, on the other hand, did one thing at a time: one house construction at one time and I proved to him that one could do multiple tasks and make more money in a shorter period of time.

Truthfully stating, he is my teacher and mentor in the field of construction and I learnt so much from him that no one has taught me. Today, I know more about civil engineering than my own field of electrical engineering. The only negative quality Jerry has is his racist nature; he was very rude with Afro-American and Hispanic labor and mistreated them very much. I always wondered how he would have treated me if I had not been the financier of the projects.  Being an Irish, he always wanted to make deal with Irish businessmen or his family members even if their charges were more than those of in the market.

Jerry as a husband, father, and grandfather is an ideal person as he took care of his close relatives and helped them any time of the day. He loved his grand children so much so that they always looked at him for everything. I think he is an ideal person for his family.

I would have rated Jerry as the best person I have ever meet in my life if he had showed color blind attitude and treated people a little nicer and avoided imposing his opinion over others instead of mutual understanding of the issues.

                    Senator John Edward, South Carolina                     

During 2004 presidential election, I was more inclined to support the democratic candidate Gene Howard. But as he faded out, my next choice was John Edward Senator from South Carolina. During democratic primaries, I met several times with John Edward and had some intimate discussions with him. The notable one was in the office of Nomi Hassan, an attorney. Only six people from the Pakistani Community were invited to discuss Muslim issues with him. When my turn came I asked him a daring question. The conversation is as follows.

“Senator,” I said, “If I pay you one million-dollar, can you cut me one of your fingers?” Surprised Senator could not say anything but “What do you mean?”

I repeated the same question: “Would you cut me one of your fingers if I pay you a million-dollar?” Senator Edward found it hard to come up with an answer as he did not know which direction my discussion was to move.

“I do not understand your question,” was all he could utter.

I told him: “Senator I am asking you hypothetically: if I give you a million dollar, would you cut me one of your fingers? Just say yes, or no.”

He said “No.”

I told him: “That is what I thought. Now imagine a 17 year old beautiful girl is wrapping explosives around her body to not only blow her body but her soul.” I further added: “Have you ever thought why it is happening.”

He instead asked me for my opinion.

I said: “Because there is no hope for them. The sense of disparity is so high in them that they would rather blow their body than live a miserable life.” I went on: “All we need is to reduce the frustration level among those poor people who have nothing going for them. We need to help poor countries establish infrastructure, eliminate poverty and provide health care, jobs and education. We need to spend money not on bombs that cause devastation but on the betterment of human kind. Once we do that, no one is going to cause the mayhem like bombing world trade center or killing people on planes and trains.”

He listened to me very patiently and promised that if elected President he would consider my advice.

Today, after so many years, due to poor American foreign policy, so many things have occurred creating chaos and security mania in the whole world. If the United States sincerely wants to create peace in the world, it should just commit its 10-year foreign aid to improve infrastructure, health, education and to fight poverty. Then this world can be a different planet. But if this neo-conservative behavior of imposing our will on the other countries continues, people of the suppressed nations will weaken us and one day we will no longer be the world power any more. We need to see that countries that help others create good will among the people making harmony and bond of love prevail among people. Contrarily, we promote wars to help our defense industry and get innocent kids killed for rich people who are making billions of dollars on the cost of blood of our armed forces who are giving their lives for nothing.

We need to stop supporting the dictators, kings, and army generals who are using their country’s resources by consolidating and guarding their power only and pushing the poor people to be poorer and making rich people richer.

A good example is Pakistan, which has received billions of dollars from the U.S.A. for being an ally in the so-called war against terror. How much of this money has been invested in the welfare of people? How much has been granted to maintain and improve the white elephant: army of Pakistan?

 Some years ago, I met the Chairman Appropriations Committee U.S. Senate during my speaking opportunity in the Russell Hall in Washington DC. Once I was introduced to him he proudly said to me: “I am seeing your President today and we will be announcing a 4 billion-dollar aid to Pakistan.”

I took the opportunity and asked him: “Mr. Chairman, do you know that people of Pakistan hate us and burn our flag any time they get a chance. So why are we giving our tax dollars to them? What is the benefit of this aid?”

“What do you think we should do?” came from him.

“We,” I bluntly spoke, “need to put a cap to spend at least 50% of the money on non military programs. Once we improve the living standard of Pakistani people, we will win their support and that is what we need.”

He promised that he would try to put some cap on military expenditure from the aid package. No one knows what happened to this and to the many more aid packages given by the kind people of the U.S.A. Surely they have been digested by the big bellies of Pakistan army and members of elite establishment. We, the middle class, must try to educate our American friends and politicians whenever we get a chance to help our people to raise their living standard if they want to discourage fanatic suicide bombers. Until and unless we are fair with poor people, our innocent people will live in the horror and chaos of security phobia.

Justina Ashley, Austin Texas.                 

In the late 80s, I owned four travel agencies operating in Pasadena and Houston. One day, I received a call from a lady asking for a pre-paid ticket for her sister stranded at New York Airport. When I quoted the price to her she asked me if I would do her a favor by sending the ticket for which she would come and pay the next day. That she did not carry any credit card puzzled me as it was against the rules to issue a ticket without receiving payment.  Moreover, if she did not pay, I would loose more than three hundred dollars. I asked her name and told her to wait for my call after some checking. When I called back the number and asked the operator about her. I was told that she was Justina Ashley, the Executive Director of St. Elizabeth Hospital, Houston. Considering her stable position, I sent the pre-paid ticket for her sister Mary who was waiting at New York Airport. The next day Justina visited my office and paid for the ticket and invited me for lunch. Upon my visit, I was surprised to see that she had invited all the key staff members and doctors of the hospital and told them about me. She also suggested them to use my company for their travel needs.

Three months later, she informed me that she was joining Texas Southern University Houston as Executive Director Finance and wanted me to visit her as soon as she was settled with her new job. To my surprise, first thing she did was to instruct all the staff to use my company for college travel arrangements.  Not only did I receive orders for business travel but also for personal travel of the faculties of the TSU. While serving them, I started booking business travel for Former Chief of Police Lee P. Brown who was serving as a Professor.  Later on he continued booking his personal travel also. One day he called me and told me to make reservations for him and his wife for a visit to South Africa. He told me that his wife had been diagnosed with cancer and she wanted to take a trip to the motherland. He wanted me to make sure to get some comfortable flights for them and book hotel etc. Upon completion of his reservations and ticketing, I personally carried the package to his house where he treated me very well and introduced me to his family. As soon as they returned from South Africa Mrs Brown passed away and I attended the funeral and visited Mr. Brown a few times afterward. This way we came on friendly terms and have been as such ever since.

This is a classic example of trusting someone at the time of need that opened so many doors for me of both economic and political opportunities. Justina Ashley is my friend as of today and we are in touch even after her moving to Austin. We have not seen each other but Christmas cards always vitalize our friendship. In my life I have always regretted that people whom I have served have never reciprocated. But Justina is one of the few who not only transposed the favor but also did so much for me that I will always be grateful and obliged for her favors. Whenever I think about her, she reinforces my faith in humankind and rings a message that one should always help other humans for that God is going to open new doors for you in return.

Karamullah Memon, PCS, Shikarpur Sind                      

My father Karamullah Memon was born on December 20, 1920, in Shikarpur. His soul peacefully departed from the material bonds of the world on June 26, 2000, leaving all of us in stark deprivation of his love and care. In 1921, when my father was barely one year old, his father (my grandfather), Moulvi Abdul Rehman Memon, an Islamic scholar, bad farewell to the world. Following the family tradition and Islamic teachings, my grandmother remarried to Hidaytullah Memon, a distant relative of the family. Hence, his uncles raised my father and his only sister in a joint family system.

His personality traits were probably never fully crystallized due to a sense of abandonment and negligence. Added to it was a slight discrimination he felt due to loss of his father. However on the academic side, he was very bright. He passed his matriculation (High School) examination being one of the only four students who qualified from Shikarpur center while the examination was given by the board in Bombay India. His biggest regret was that his uncles never encouraged him to go for higher education as they did to their sons. He was kind of forced to marry and start working. At age of 17, he was married to my mother, one of his cousins; he started as Clerk in revenue department in 1938, at the age of 18. Due to his honesty and hard  work he was promoted rapidly: Head Munshi in 1942; Assistant Mukhtiarkar in 1946; Rehabilitation Commissioner for Refugees in 1947; Mukhtiarkar in 1954 when he was posted at Badin. Subsequently he served as Mukhtiarkar Hyderabad, Tando Allahyar, Rent Controller Hyderabad and Karachi till he was promoted as Deputy Collector in 1958. He served as Deputy Collector SDM, Khairpur Mirs 1958-1960; Chairman Nawabshah Municipality 1960-61 where he got the new building constructed for the Nawabshah Municipal Committee. Due to high crime rate in tribal area of Jhatpat (10 miles east of Jacobabad and now a part of Baluchistan), he was appointed as Extra Assistant Commissioner to curb the high crime rate.  He was given special section 30 powers under which he could sentence people without an appeal. He exercised those powers and imposed heavy punishment like 5 years for stealing a chicken, 10 years for goat, 15 years for cow and to-be-hanged-till-death for murder, without giving consideration to any appeal. This was a unique case in which government trusted his decisions and allowed him to exercise such powers that consequently resulted for the crime rate to fall to almost zero count. That time around, I happened to meet Sardar Sikander Khan Jamali of Roghaan and his family. I was only 12 years old when we visited their house. Sikander Khan Jamali and his family were very famous for raising high-class breed of horses that competed in races in Jacobabad cattle show, a yearly tradition. As I was interested in horse riding too, I asked Mr. Jamali to get me a horse. The poor judgement of his servants resulted in an interesting incident. The horse they brought for me was a racehorse. It rocketed with a 50 miles an hour speed as soon as I got on to its back. As I had some experience of riding, I clung fast to the horse and let it go as far as it could go. Mr. Jamali immediately dispatched a jeep behind me to save me but the horse was faster than the jeep and took me about 22 miles away from their village till it got tired and let me have its control. By the time the jeep reached near me, I had already turned the horse back on route to the starting point. The Servants of Mr. Jamali wanted me to board the jeep but I preferred to take the horse back and very successfully brought it back to their house. As I recollect now, Zafarullah Khan Jamali, who recently served as Prime Minister of Pakistan, was also with us during this incident.

My father was later on posted as Additional District Magistrate at Jacobabad (1963); Deputy Collector Land Reforms, Survey Superintendent, Additional District Magistrate Khairpur Mirs (1967); Deputy Colonization officer Guddu Barrage; Deputy Commissioner Makran District (1969); Additional commissioner Khairpur Mirs; Secretary Revenue Board of Revenue   (1970); Additional Commissioner Hyderabad Division; Registrar Co-operative societies Sind; Director General Survey & Registration, Deputy Secretary Administration  Home Department; Director Recovery Agriculture  Development of Bank of Pakistan; Additional Secretary Agriculture, Chief administrator Auquaf Sind where he completed his tenure and retired in 1980.

Looking at the profile of each of his positions plainly reveals that he could have made millions just by getting a few parcels of land or plots. As Deputy Colonization officer, Guddu Barrage; he allotted most of the fertile land to the people of interest under direct orders from Ayub Khan and high military officers. Here he could have manipulated a few parcels for him or his family, only if he wanted. As Registrar Co-operative Societies Sind, he was in charge of all the government plots but could never build a home for himself and family. Upon his retirement, he was sent home with approximately Rs. 100,000 as gratuity and Rs. 2000 as monthly pension. However, he lived an honorable life until he passed away peacefully. Luckily I had a vision to buy a plot from Allah Bachayo Akhund, Former Federal Law Minister, who developed the Sindhi Muslim Housing Society in Hyderabad where I built a small three-bedroom house for him and the family that we were not able to paint till the end. He spent his last days in this house but was always content and lived a happy life.

His major accomplishments were to uphold the law of the land and provide justice to poor people irrespective of any one’s color or creed. His unquestionable honesty can be witnessed by the fact that he gave away the house he was living in as Rehabilitation Commissioner Hyderabad to a Muslim refugee (a Mohajir) to settle in. Half of the space of the house was shared by the refugee and yet my father paid the entire rent. He was in a much better and more powerful position to have hold over as many houses – evacuated by the India-bound migrating Hindus – as he wanted; he could have also entertained huge property on his credit only if he wanted: but he strictly adhered to the norms of honesty.

In 1958, when he was serving as Mukhtiarkar, Tando Allahyar, this city was run by a local landlord, Bhoral Shah. The local police and other law enforcement components feared his mighty power and could not touch him. When my father issued his arrest warrant, the police refused to arrest to follow. My father, accompanied by two guards, in person went to his business premises, handcuffed him and herded him into the lockup. This way he upheld the standard of law and order and this incident broke the spell of lawlessness cast by Bhoral Shah who later on rose as a prominent politician of the area but no one has forgotten this incident.

In 1959-60, when my father was serving as Deputy Collector Khairpur Mirs, one day upon leaving his office he noticed three well-dressed people in black coats but handcuffed by the police. It was a Friday afternoon and the police had arrested them at this very hour to be remanded in the police custody for the weekend until they could arrange for bail. Sensing some foul play, my father refused to sign the remand papers and returned to the office and convened the court to hear the bail request of these three people. These three were: Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Syed Ghous Ali Shah, and Ghulam Kadir Soomro, who became District Session Judge later. This case was a fictitious one ordered by the then people in power to harass them. But my father not knowing these three men gave them immediate justice and issued the bail upon their personal cognition and let them go loose. Due to this gesture of goodwill, all these three people remained friends of my father and respected him always. Qaim Ali Shah even being my father’s minister used to call him Sir and gave him highest regards any minister would have given him.

My father, posted as Additional District Magistrate Jacobabad in 1963, was the election presiding officer for the then national assembly elections. Dur Mohammed Usto and Afzal Khan Khoso, a local barrister, were contesting this election. Interestingly both of them received equal number of votes. According to the prevailing election laws, the presiding officer, in such a situation, had the right to the decisive vote to settle the matter in the favor of either contestant. This decision was to be taken within 24 hours of completion of the elections. As Dur Mohammed Usto was not very much educated, my father made up his mind to give his precious vote to Barrister Afzal Khan Khoso. However, the same day, in the evening, Afzal Khan Khoso came to visit my father with a briefcase containing Rs. 500,000 ($ 100,000 US dollars at that time). He wanted to bribe my father. My father not only spoke a tongue of honesty to him – surely disgracing for Afzal Khan – but also dragged him outside his official bungalow and threw the brief case on the street and decided to vote for Dur Mohammad Usto, who gratefully accepted and was later on appointed as Federal minister. On the other side Dur Muhammad Usto never made any effort to pursue my father to vote for him. My father kept his high standard of honesty and integrity and told Afzal Khan Khoso that he was one unlucky person as he was getting his vote without his money. Dur Mohammed Usto always respected my father for this action.

During his tenure as Additional Commissioner Khairpur Division October 1970, he received a call from Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who asked my father for a favor. Instead of asking my father to decide a case in favor of Bhutto, he asked my father to see if he could make the decision in the next hearing to close the case. This case was filed by Ayub Khan’s government against Bhutto alleging that he used government machinery to cultivate his lands without making any payment to the government treasury. At this time, the only genuine election held in Pakistan emerged Bhutto as the leader of the majority party. Still Bhutto observed polite attitude that impressed my father because, despite being in power, he did not try to unduly pressurize my father to take a decision in his favor. Upon his next trip to Larkana, when he convened his court, he asked Bhutto’s attorney Abdul Razzaque Soomro to leave the court and come back at 1.30 p.m. By that time, my father had disposed off the remaining cases from the docket and issued a written judgment in favor of Bhutto and hand-delivered it to his attorney. This was completely out of norms of the court where such high profile case, in which the sitting President and his complete cabinet wanted to punish Bhutto, my father not only gave a verdict in his favor but also gave the written copy of the judgment to Abdul Razaque Soomro. Soomro was so excited by this decision that he immediately called Bhutto, who was taking a nap. He had him woken up and informed him about the decision made by my father. Mr. Bhutto personally thanked my father and invited him to have dinner with him on his next trip to Larkana. Mr. Bhutto was serving as Chief Martial Law Administrator and President of the Pakistan on my father’s next trip to Larkana. Mr. Bhutto never forgot my father and during direct appointments and accelerated promotions, he sent an invitation to my father to apply for a grade 20 position of his choice. My father refused to take up his offer and stayed in grade 18 and waited for his promotion following the seniority-bases law. Many officers junior to him like Maqsood Sheikh, Bashir Moriani, Ali Dino Panwhar, Ali Mohammad Shaikh applied in this program and were appointed as provincial and federal secretaries; but my father served by the rules and did not take any political advantage from anyone.

Kazi Akbar of Hyderabad build the first multistory centrally air-conditioned hotel named “Hotel Orient” in the mid 60s by obtaining a large loan from Sind government Co-operative Department. However, as most of the politicians receive such loans as kickbacks, they forget that one-day they have to pay back the loans. Kazi Akbar, with his power kept on postponing the payment of the loan, until my father became Registrar of Co-operative Societies Sind in the mid 70s. As my father was given a special assignment to go after all the defaulters of co-operative loans, he diverted his full attention to major culprits who were rich but not paying the government loans.

 Kazi Akbar was given a notice and he as usual ignored it not knowing that my father would play by the rules: he ordered the auction of Kazi’s hotel to the highest bidder to collect the government money. Kazi Akbar with all his political connections could not stop the process and lost the property and a landmark of Hyderabad was taken over by someone else. This was again a classic example of my father’s honesty and integrity. He could have kept quiet like many of his predecessors by gaining some financial favors but he maintained his high standard of righteousness.

For bureaucrats, this is a holy war to be either part of dishonest system to grow rich and achieve higher positions or remain isolated and be deprived of promotions by keeping their honest ethics to serve the people for which they were appointed as public servants not their masters. My father was the sole example of part of this holy war and served honorably and impartially.

During the same while, Abdullah Shah was Minister of Co-operative Societies and Agriculture. He used to issue so many verbal orders. My father as usual would send him written summary to approve his verbal orders, which really aggravated Mr. Shah. He therefore sent a summary to the then Chief Minster Mumtaz Bhutto accusing that my father was an anti People’s Party and its programs and that his services be terminated. Mumtaz Bhutto made a historical decision on that summary and instead of firing my father, he took the portfolio of co-operative societies and gave it to Qaim Ali Shah. He also put in black and white on the summary that if we fired honest and dedicated people like Karamullah Memon then this government was going to get a negative exposure in the public therefore it was in the interest of the people the portfolio be given to Qaim Ali Shah. This was a classical example of upholding the law and Mumtaz Bhutto made the right and honest decision to fire his cabinet minister instead of dismissing an honest officer.

Following the footprints of his father who was an Islamic scholar with the biggest Islamic library in Shikarpur during 1960-1964, my father established three Islamic schools at Jatpat, Shikarpur and Khairpur Mirs. Every year he would spend his vacation to collect funds for the maintenance and operation of those Islamic schools. He was not only honest, bold and man of principle but also very religious. He prayed regularly and had done a lot of research about the Holy Quran and Tafseer-i-Quran (interpretation of the Holy Quran). In his last posting as Chief Administrator Auquaf for Sind, he was deeply disheartened when he handled so many cases of child molestation, child abuse, adultery, homosexuality and financial frauds committed by so many prominent religious leaders. I always wonder why the people of faith whom we trust our souls, commit such gross nature crimes. In his last days, my father isolated himself from all the mollas (fake religious scholars) and diverted his time in religious studies and helping young people who wanted to take CSS examination. I always asked him to open a small institute to teach revenue law which he was an authority and encourage young people to take CSS examinations but he diverted his attention to God’s work rather than indulging in worldly affairs. I always asked him to write a book about his experiences in life but he never affirmed though he was an excellent writer. His sarcasm and ambivalence of words were very famous among bureaucrats and most of the CSP officers who claimed to have strong command over English would be scared to correspond with him and would always avoid having an argument with him over the interpretation of law particularly Revenue Law.

My father was very strict and always demanded excellence in academics as well as character. My best friend Gural Das, a Sindhi–Hindu, who owns a Rice Mill in Shikarpur, has always been in touch with me. During our junior school days, one day Gural Das came to see me after school during a hot summer afternoon. My father did not allow me to go out and welcomed Gural Das with a slap on his face with a message to go home and take a nap and do his homework. He also told him that once Manzoor had finished his homework only then could he play with me. Due to this level of discipline, we all achieved excellence in our academic life and many of our friends stayed back and never progressed. Parents play a key role in one’s success and we were blessed to have father like mine who always expected perfection from us in all fields.

Ustad Kisha Ram, Head Master of Qazi Habibullah School Shikarpur, where I was student from 4th grade till 10th grade, asked my father for some favor. My father obliged him by solving one of his major problems; hence, he always asked my father if he could return the favor. One day Ustad Kisha Ram suggested my father that I should attend his tutoring classes to improve my English and Mathematics skills. My father accepted his offer and I started attending three consecutive of his tutoring classes and learnt basic English language and practiced mathematics so extensively that I always achieved 100% marks in my mathematics examinations. After all it was my father who caused me to achieve excellence in my academic career.        

When I was sent to Karachi to study in D.J. Science College, due to new atmosphere and my romantic involvement with someone, I barely passed in the first Year College. My father was very upset and I was immediately shifted to my hometown Shikarpur. Here I was admitted to a hostel and was allowed to visit the home on condition that I achieved my goal that was first class in Intermediate School examination. On the first day I met with Professor Abdul Jabbar Gupchani Khoso, who was in-charge of the hostel. When he heard that I had been punished to be there, he gave me a deal of life. He wanted me to start praying for five times and in return he would tutor me for English, Mathematics and Chemistry free of charge. In my view, this was a God-sent angle for me. I took upon his offer and was successful in achieving my goal. And once I passed my examination, in first class (in today’s time getting A), my father came with all his friends and honorably brought me to our home.

I can never thank my father for the punishment he gave me to mend to ways of my life that consequently took me to higher level. In my view, my father and Professor Gupchani are the two heroes in my life who helped me to get to the peaks of my career and character. I wish there were teachers like him who could steer students to high level and bring the talent of our nation on the crossroad where they can serve their country.

After 1970, my father was mellowed down a little. This, in turn, gave too much liberty to my younger brothers who did not achieve this high excellence because of lack of control. However, we are always grateful to him that he spent his complete life in serving us without doing anything for himself. Most of his life, he wore second hand clothes and ate very light. I still remember that he got his first suit tailored when he became Deputy Commissioner. He always preached us for modesty and honesty and wanted us to serve with dignity and class. His hospitality can be visualized from an incident that one day when I came home after a full working day, he had served my meal to one of the guests and I had to buy food from a restaurant. He had very soft-cornered for the poor and would feed his servants from his own ration. During government business, he would never accept invitations to eat with people who had any interest in his government position. During his tenure he would never let us use government vehicles for our personal use and used to take a taxi for his personal use. How many officers can claim such a standard? In today’s time I can hardly find any officer of his level who could maintain such high standards of morality, honesty and integrity.

After he became Additional commissioner Khairpur Mirs in the early 70s, he directed me to sit beside him on the judicial bench so that I could learn the legal system. He did his most of the office work at home and would give me files to study and took my opinion over various cases as how to dispose of them. I was impressed by the notes written by Mumtaz Ali Bhutto since he had a very strong command over English language. Mumtaz Bhutto’s writing and daring notes were more powerful than Shaheed Bhutto, who wrote very short and precise orders. I learnt a lot about government procedures and operations mainly I learnt about protocol.

Due to his honesty and high degree of integrity, my father could never make any friends. Most of the people who claimed to be his friends stayed close to him while he was in office.

After his retirement, I wanted to pay him for construction of the house on a plot I had acquired in 1970. My father told me that he would not take my money. Instead he wanted to borrow it from a close friend of him, Ali Hassan Mangi. During my father’s tenure, Mr. Mangi had taken advantages worth millions; as such, my father was very confident of borrowing some money from him for house construction. He was very shocked that a multimillionaire, Ali Hassan Mangi, did not lend him even Rs. 100,000. As a result, he was kind of forced to let me pay for the construction expenses. I am spiritually happy that he did so as he lived peacefully in the house till he calmly left this world.

Khadium Hussein Memon, Shikarpur

While my father served as Deputy Collector during the early 60s, Khadium Hussein Memon was serving as a clerk in some government department. On every Friday evening, most of the officers used to gather at a small shop owned by Ameen Chishti at Lakhi Dar, Shikarpur and enjoyed their weekends. Khadium Hussein, Late Deedar Soomro, Sessions Judge; his father Dad Mohammed Soomro, my father, my brothers, and many officers were members of this group. Khadium Hussein was a very intelligent and well-read person and had tried to qualify in Central Superior Services (CSS) examination a few times. In the late 60s, he eventually passed the examination, and was given a grade 16 position as Income Tax Officer. As soon as he finished his training, he reappeared in the same examination and qualified to be posted as grade 17 officer in Pakistan Railways. Khadium Hussain fell highly confused as which position to choose. On one side was the slot of Income Tax Officer with lavish side income, on the other, was Assistant Transportation Officer (ATO) in Pakistan Railways which did carry so many facilities but no side income. Khadium Hussein turned to my father for advice as he was his teacher and mentor. My father told him that if he wanted to live an honest life he should join Pakistan Railways; and if he was greedy for money and wanted to live by illegal money, throughout his life, he should choose Income Tax Department. Khadium Hussein chose Pakistan Railways and rose to the position of Divisional Superintendent and later on retired as Principal Pakistan Railway Academy Lahore. Khadium Hussein, along with Zafer Qureshi, was among a few Sindhi officers who joined Railways and rose to the peak in the department. Khadium Hussein maintained his honest way of living and remained busy in serving his department. During Z.A. Bhutto’s time, he worked as PRO to the Minister Communications, Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, and was posted as First Secretary at a Pakistan Embassy in Nigeria. Though Khadium Hussein reached to the peak, he entertained very little contribution in helping people of his region in spite of loads of chances. I traveled with Khadium Hussein quite frequently from Karachi to Peshawar and our friendship remained very healthy until I migrated to the U.S.A. I have not met with Khadium Hussein for the last 15 years though I met with one of his former subordinates who concurred to me about his high degree of honesty and integrity in the department.

Khalid Channa, Karachi

In the late 80s, while I was operating three travel agencies, one of my offices was set up as a multiple service center. This center catered for all services like mailboxes etc. in addition to the One-Hour Photo laboratory and full travel services.

During a picnic organized by local Sindhi Association of North America, Jawaid Sheikh of Houston introduced me to Dr. Khalid Channa. Jawaid’s and Khalid’s wives were cousins. Khalid’s family had stayed with Jawaid for the last six months without any luck in finding some work. Jawaid practically begged me to get a job for him as Khalid had two little children who were very wild. Jawaid was also not very strong financially and had been bearing expenses for an additional family. I invited Khalid to visit me. I not only offered him a job as Manager of One-Hour Photo Lab but helped him to move to Pasadena. I got him an apartment and lent him some furniture and many accessories to help start a new life. Khalid did not have a legal status; therefore immediately after offering him an appointment, I proposed to file H-1 Visa petition for him. He declined my request and told me that his farmer Visa petition had been approved and his green card would be issued shortly. As time passed, he could not provide me with any documentation for his legal status; as a result, I started pressurizing him. One day, this very while, my wife receievd a call from the U.S. Immigration Office asking for Rubina Memon, owner of the Dairy Queen. My wife Amber told the officer that she was the owner and not Rubina Memon. The officer told her that he was interviewing an individual named Khalid Channa who claimed to have worked at the Dairy Queen for five years and a letter had been signed by a Rubina Memon to endorse his employment. My wife told the officer the truth that Khalid had never worked at the Dairy Queen and that he had never been offered a job with my establishment.

The next morning, Khalid, very angry, came to my office and blamed my wife for not supporting him. I told him that we would never support his fraudulent dealings by which he had forged an employment letter to get his status changed. His cunning tactic was exposed and he was ordered to leave the country within 30 days. I immediately withheld my job offer from him. He stayed in Houston area for a few more years but eventually was deported to Pakistan.

I believe if he had followed my advice and applied for H-1 Visa through our company he could have been a U.S. citizen today. His fraudulent actions disheartened me so much that I decided to close the One-Hour photo lab and advertised to sell the equipment.  A few days later, I received a call from an Attorney from Atlanta advising me not to sell the machine until I met with him. Upon his advice, we filed a class action against Kodak due to faulty machine and a written memo sent by the Kodak President and CEO not to sell those machines. After about one year struggle, I received $ 107,000 in settlement for a $ 35000 machine. The details of this legal action are given in the chapter about my legal cases.

To me, this was my reward from God to help this family though they left no stone unturned to get me out of business by forging certificates of employment from my companies.

Khalid Channa on the other hand borrowed $ 40,000 from his brother in London and re-opened a closed restaurant and lost all his investment in four months. In my view this was his punishment for cheating us and eventually he was deported to Pakistan. His whereabouts are unknown to me but my faith is very strong in the conviction that if you leave your complaint to God Almighty he will reward you for good deeds and punish the cheat.

Khalid Pervaiz Memon, Larkana

Pervaiz Memon is son of my father’s first cousin, Nizamuddin Memon Advocate, Larkana. His mother and my mother were sisters and we were very close to each other in our childhood. His mother was very kind to me and I always treated and loved her more than my mother. Every year when she took a trip to Quetta during summer time, she would offer me to accompany her children and we enjoyed the trip for a couple of times. His father had helped me in getting a job in PIA that opened doors for me to migrate to the U.S.A. and stand financially independent.

Pervaiz was academically mediocre and could not pursue higher education on his own till he got a breakthrough. He got admitted to Pakistan Marine Academy and with lot of struggle and help from many of his instructors, he passed out and joined merchant Navy and left the profession after a few voyages.

In the late 80s, my cousin Ali Nawaz visited us from Washington DC and informed me that Pervaiz had moved to Houston. I was very surprised, since after all he was our close relation, why he shied away from seeing me. To find him, we got it announced via the local radio station. Ali Nawaz was very eager to see him due to his close relationship with him too. Interestingly, just a few days after Ali Nawaz’s departure, we found Pervaiz. My family and I visited him at an apartment and were shocked to see with nothing but a blanket and pillow and a few of his belongings. I told my wife to arrange for a start up kit for him that included all the basic things of daily use and took three boxes to his apartment. Upon our arrival he was not available in his apartment therefore we left the items with his next door neighbor. That evening he left me a nasty message and asked me to take away my things as he could make it on his own. When we brought the boxes back, most of the expensive items were missing and items of less value were returned. I therefore did not pursue my relationship with him and wanted to give him a chance to settle down on his own.

A few months later, Pervaiz phoned me saying that he wanted to start some business and asked me to lend him $ 5000 for the startup. He also called Ali Nawaz for help. Ali was very generous to send him $ 1000 within a few days. I pinned $ 4000 and also arrived at an agreement with him to start the business in joint name that as soon as the principal loan was paid off, I would transfer the business in his name. We purchased eleven vending machines to cater BankOne building at Houston Downtown and started our business. Pervaiz was in charge of servicing the machines and I was providing the financial help. After four months, I found that the machines we were merchandising, $ 100 worth goods, were giving us return of $75 instead of 40% profit. Pervaiz always complained for workload and could never convince me how we were losing money rather than making any money. At last, he gave up the business and left the lease of 11 vending machines purchased on my credit. It caused me a loss of approximately $17000.

This episode imparted to me another lesson of my life: not to co-sign any loans and lease agreements on behalf of any friends and relatives who have no investment in the business. Eventually people walk out and innocent people like us fall into the trap of the burden of repayment of loans as well as earn bad repute in community circles. Just because of Pervaiz’s negative attitude, I lost money and my relationship with his family went awry. I never regret to have helped Pervaiz because it was his father who had helped me in getting a job in PIA that opened ways for me to migrate to the U.S.A. and become financially independent. I wanted to return the favor I owed to his father but Pervaiz never realized the generosity and has always been at odds with my family and me. After living about 10-12 years in the U.S.A., Pervaiz finally went back to Larkana. He is presently living a secluded life with no family of his own and no financial assets. I wish he would have worked a little harder as the U.S.A. is the land of opportunity for the people who want to work hard.

Khalid Iqbal Memon, Larkana

Khalid Iqbal Memon is son of my father’s first cousin, Nizamuddin Memon Advocate, Larkana. His mother and my mothers were sisters and we have been like brothers since our childhood. Khalid and I have about 21 days’ age difference so we grew up at the same time. He attended grammar schools and English medium educational institutions whereas we attended public schools. Khalid followed his father’s profession and after completing B. Com., he attended Law school and became attorney and took over the 35 years old practice left by his Uncle Abdul Fatah Memon and father Nizamuddin Memon. During last elections, he got elected as Member of Pakistan National Assembly on the Pakistan People’s Party’s ticket from Larkana and has been serving the people very passionately.

Khalid was picked up by Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to serve in the Prime Minister’s Secretariat during the mid 70s. However, he returned to Larkana to continue his legal practice. The main reason was a very small salary by which he could not support his family living with the traditional honest ethics adopted by our family including his father. During Bhutto’s time, our family could have made a lot of money but chose to stay honest. People like Abdul Razzaque Soomro and Chaker Ali Junejo, both Assistants to my uncle, made enormous amount of money while serving the Pakistan People’s Party and are enjoying a very high standard of living; whereas, my uncles, unlike others, have been living a very modest life with no fleet of cars or large parcels of land. Following his elders’ footprints, Khalid is also serving his constituents without taking any undue advantage of his political position. I hope he and many others who follow the principles of honesty and integrity would be rewarded in this world and thereafter.

Khalid is a very low profile, humble person. He keeps matters inside his heart. He is not very open-minded which might have caused him a lot of grief and suffering but I have never heard that he has offended anyone. During our college time we stayed together in Metha Ram Hostel in Karachi and had the best time of our life along with two of my brothers: Shabir and Irshad, and Cousin Shukat Memon. My major complaint from him is for his poor communication: he stays confined to his world. He could do a lot if he becomes friendlier and more open minded. 

Ustad Kisha Ram, Headmaster,Qazi Habibullah High School Shikarpur

During the mid 60, my father decided to station the family in our hometown Shikarpur to avoid any interruptions in our education. I attended Qazi Habibullah School, a private school established by the Qazis of Shikarpur. Ustad Kisha Ram was the headmaster of the school.

Shikarpur was the business hub for upper Sind and there was a dense population of Sindhi Hindus still living there after the partition. Interestingly, the Muslims and the Hindus were so much mingled that we never thought of any difference except that we attended Mosques, and they prayed in Daramsalas or Mandirs (temples). On the social front, there was no difference and we lived like one whole community.

Ustad Kisha Ram asked my father for some favor. My father took care of his major problem hence he always asked my father if he could return the favor. One day Ustad Kisha Ram suggested to my father that I should attend his tutoring classes to improve my English and Mathematics skills. My father accepted his offer and I started attending three consecutive of his tutoring classes and learnt basic English language and practiced mathematics so extensively that I always achieved 100% marks in my mathematics examinations.

When I evaluate my life, besides my parents, I acknowledge three people responsible for my success. Ustad Kisha Ram, who taught me English and Mathematics imparting me real insight at an early age to strengthen my educational foundation. Then Professor Abdul Jabbar, who taught me Mathematics, Chemistry and English in my college days that made me eligible to get admission to an engineering college. The third one is my uncle, Nizamuddin Memon, whose recommendation, through Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, facilitated for my job in PIA which became my gateway to the U.S.A. I wish people would be as lucky as I, who met heroes who took me to the peak for which I will always remain grateful to both God Almighty and these very people.

The Sindhi Hindus are very low profile but loving and polite people. They are excellent businessmen like the Gujrati Memons. They had full control over all the business activities of Sind in pre-partition time. They scattered all over the world after Pakistan’s coming into being. With all the commotion created by the Indian Muslims having migrated to Sind, many of the Sindhis feel that they were better treated while working with Sindhi Hindus. The local Hindus were honest and men of word who never harmed anyone without a genuine cause. They promoted Sindhi language and culture; whereas the Muslim immigrants used unfair means to usurp assets left by the Sindhi Hindus. They also destroyed small towns to achieve their financial goals. The Sindhi Hindus always regretted that they were never given any pasture as their homeland in India and look back to Sind as their homeland even now. Whenever I met any Sindhi Hindu, he paid enormous love and respect to me.

In grade eight, I had a verbal fight with one of my teacher who used abusive language with me. That time it was a highly tabooed action for a student to raise his hand over the teacher. Ustad Kisha Ram, being a close friend to the family, followed the rules and expelled me from school. This was the standard of honesty and integrity: with all our political and governmental influence no one could save me from the punishment even though in this case the teacher was at fault by speaking an abusive tongue to me. I had to spend the rest of my academic year in Khairpur Mirs where I stayed with Syed Ghous Ali Shah and his family to complete my schooling. After one year, my father, many of his friends and I went to see my teacher Shukat Soomro and personally apologized for my actions; hence I was readmitted to school with a punishment to apologize in front of all the students and teachers in the morning assembly.

One can imagine the level of respect and honor paid to teachers in our times. As of today teachers are scared of the students and there is no nobility left in the teaching profession. Mostly the mediocre students, who have no vocational education, join teaching profession and it is hard to find teachers like Ustad Kisha Ram, Professor Abdul Jabbar Gupchani They rendered extra attention to students to help them achieve excellence in their careers. I am a living example of the outcome of such teachers’ hard work and I know I would never have achieved my goals in life without my teachers.

Dr. Lee P. Brown, Former Mayor, City of Houston

In the mid 80s, while operating three travel agencies in Pasadena and Houston, I met with Justina Ashley. She was instrumental in getting me Travel Account of Texas Southern University. Then, Dr. Lee P. Brown was serving as a Professor in the University. Besides he had served as New York City Police Commissioner from 1990 to 1992; as Police Chief of Houston, Texas from 1982 to 90; and as Atlanta, Georgia’s Public Safety Commissioner from 1978 to 82. Dr. Brown received a Doctorate in Criminology from the University of California at Berkeley in 1970; a Masters in Criminology from the University of California at Berkeley in 1968; a Masters in Sociology from San Jose State University in 1964 and a Bachelor’s in Criminology from Fresno State University in1961.

One day he phoned me requesting for some arrangements to be made for his wife to visit South Africa. He told me that his wife was very sick and wanted some comfortable flights to reach to South Africa. I made the arrangements and personally carried the travel documents to his house where he treated me very well. Just after their return, his wife passed away and I attended her funeral and visited his house with flowers for which he was very thankful. Since then we have kept in touch.

Soon after that he was appointed as Drug Czar in President Clinton’s cabinet and moved to Washington DC. On August 9, 1993 I lost the most important person in the world: my mother left me. Just a few days before her death, she had asked me to fulfil her two wishes: help my brother Shahid to get married and take the youngest brother Aamir to the U.S.A. with me. I promised her to do my best. Before going to Pakistan I called Dr. Brown and left a message in his office in White House. In about 30 minutes I got a call back and I requested Dr. Brown to write me a letter of recommendation for the US Ambassador in Pakistan to issue a visa for my younger brother. He told me that he would call me back after consulting the White House Counsel to confirm whether or not he was authorized to write such letters. Just hours later, he phoned me and informed that by law he could not communicate with the Ambassador. He further informed me that though he was guest at the Ambassador’s house just a few weeks ago, while taking a classified mission to Pakistan, he could not help me in this regard. I was so impressed from his honesty and promptness to resolve the issue and in my heart his respect was more deeply rooted. Upon my arrival at the US Embassy, I ran into an old friend of my wife’s grandfather who, in the end, helped my brother to get a student visa in one day and he accompanied me on my return flight. I helped my brother Shahid to get married and was lucky to fulfill both wishes of my mother.

Some time in 1996, I heard the news that Dr. Brown resigned from his position as Drug Czar. I immediately phoned him and said: “Mayor Brown, welcome to Houston, congratulations I am sure we are going to make it.”

He was kind of surprised that I had already sensed his intentions that he would be running for Mayor of Houston. As soon as he arrived here, he joined Rice University as a professor and called me to have lunch with him. I was one of the twelve people who started his campaign and I was the only south Asian on board.

In the next few weeks, we had an exploratory meeting in the office of former Mayor Hofizenier where only 50 people were invited. We made five groups consisting ten people each. Each group came up with their recommendations. As a group leader of one of the groups, I said: “Dr. Brown, I know you are man of principle and integrity. You follow the rule of law and go by the book. You are an honest bureaucrat but now you want to be a politician. In politics, the basic principle is I scratch your back and you scratch mine. So if you are ready to abandon your rigidity of principles and mellow down, you should run for the position, otherwise not.”

In subsequent days, I found Dr. Brown did a three-dimension justice with his position and acted as the man who followed the rule of law as well as acted a very successful politician that even sitting President’s endorsement could not displace him until he was termed out.

Dr. Brown was elected the first African-American mayor of Houston on December 6, 1997 and served three two-year terms. He is married again and his wife Francis is a teacher in HISD. His major achievements include Light Rail, Minutemaid Ball Park, Toyota Center, Hobby Center, Hilton Americas Convention Hotel, Extension of George Brown convention center, Downtown roads (particularly starting controversial SPUR road connecting downtown with Highway 59). He changed the infrastructure of the entire city, particularly the downtown area, for which we all will never forget him.

Brown’s propensity to take frequent and often criticized trips abroad, paid for by the taxpayers’ money, earned him the nickname “Out-of-Town” Brown.  But he created opportunities for the international businesses to extend their ventures in Houston. Media and people were never impartial and did not see his vision to converge Houston into an international city.

In 2001, Brown narrowly survived a reelection challenge and runoff against city councilman Orlando Sanchez who campaigned against Brown’s handling of Houston roadways. Sanchez‘ supporters made the issue of poor street conditions, campaigning that the “P stands for Potholes,” referencing to Brown’s middle initial.  Today when someone visits the Downtown, he/she sees top class streets and a revitalized Main Street and Bayou area that make the person wonder what was Houston Chronicle and other TV channels were doing by criticizing Mayor Brown. Why did we all forget about his hard work that we are enjoying now? Someone has to take the initiatives and make things happen: that is what Brown did. Sanchez himself used a Hummer adorned with the banner “With Brown in Town it’s the only way to get around” as his campaign vehicle. Sanchez used the media publicity where a Houston firefighter’s death in the line of duty resulted in endorsements from the fire/emergency medical services sector. Still, all negative campaigning by Sanchez failed.

 The Brown-Sanchez election produced heated rhetoric and involvement by several national political figures. Brown received the endorsement of former President Bill Clinton while President George W Bush endorsed Sanchez. The contest also produced racial undertones as Sanchez, a Cuban-American vying to become the first Hispanic mayor of Houston, challenged Brown, the city’s first African-American mayor. Brown drafted the family members of murder victim James Byrd Jr. for taped political ads accusing Sanchez of racial insensitivity towards the Blacks for failing to support a hate crime law. Sanchez, in turn, accused Brown for playing the race card against Hispanic voters. The latter allegation prompted another Hispanic City councilman, John Castillo, to withdraw from the Brown camp and endorse Sanchez much later in the campaign. Voting split heavily on racial lines with a majority of Hispanic and Anglo voters supporting Sanchez and a majority of African Americans supporting Brown. Brown narrowly won reelection by a margin of a single percentage point following heavy voter turnout in predominantly Black precincts, compared to a relatively light turnout in Hispanic prescient. Brown’s success was predominately due to arrangement of 50 vans equipped with volunteers who provided transportation to the minority voters to go to polls, which changed the outcome of the election. South Asian communities played a key role in Brown’s campaign too that he acknowledged by opening a gateway to our communities in the City Hall. Unfortunately, Mayor White never appreciated the help from our communities and refused to recognize any need for any programs, jobs for our communities. For this we will always miss Mayor Brown.

On the day of last election, Lutfi Hassan and I organized a group of people who worked outside different shopping malls to morally force people to go back to vote not only themselves but to call a few of their friends along with them to help Mayor Brown. Just at Sharps Town Mall, Lutfi Hassan and a few of us sent hundreds of people back without shopping by telling them that their vote would be the vote to get Brown elected. All precincts in that area cast 95% plus votes for Brown. I can never forget the victory speech made by Mayor Brown where he said: “Our opponent was endorsed by Papa Bush, Mama Bush, Brother Bush, and Baby Bush, but no one could help because people have spoken two more years for Brown.”

For the South Asian Communities, Mayor Brown opened the City hall and approved my recommendations to form Mayor’s Advisory Board for International Business development MABIA-D, South Asia. The same while, I initiated an annual event: Mayor’s Iftar Dinner, at City Hall. This has become a regular feature at the City Hall.

The South Asian communities were very fortunate to have Brown as Mayor and Chief of Police CE Bradford in the post 9/11 era. Houston did not report a single discrimination and profiling case from our community and Houston was considered as most desirable City for south Asians.

During his tenure one night three Pakistani store clerks were murdered in Houston. Masrur Jawaid Khan, who later became first Pakistani Muslim City Council Member, called Shah Haqqi, an assistant to the Mayor, at 1.30 a.m. to seek help. His response was that it was too late to call anyone and asked Masrur to come and see him in his office at 9 a.m. Frustrated Masrur, who was President of Pakistani Association of Greater Houston called me, as well as asked Mian Nazir to call me around 1.45 a.m. for help. As I was very close to Mayor Brown, and had his private numbers, I immediately dialed his home number. Mayor’s wife Francis Brown picked up the phone and I requested her put to me through to the Mayor. She told me that he was traveling to San Francisco to attend a funeral of his close friend. Once she came to know about the urgency of the matter, she gave me Mayor’s contact in San Francisco. I left a message for the Mayor and a return call came within a few minutes. I briefed the Mayor about three murders of Pakistani store clerks that caused a huge roar of panic fear among the Pakistani storeowners. He told me to wait for the Chief of Police C.E. Braford’s call shortly. Within minutes I received call from the Chief Bradford who asked me as to what we should do to calm the community. I suggested forming a task force to search for the murderer and arrange a meeting with the community leaders the next day. In the meeting, at the Chief’s Office, various items were discussed including how to protect storeowners and stop robberies and murders. The next meeting was scheduled after two days on a Friday after funeral of the victims at 3 p.m. to review the progress of the police in the case. Just before the meeting, I received call from the Chief of Police informing that the murderer was arrested. But we still needed to attend the meeting to brief the media about this case. I still recollect ABC news correspondent’s comments: “You folks have a lot of pull in this city that you got the murderer arrested within 48 hours.” For me this was a big achievement of our community. Subsequently, a big memorial rally was organized by the community well attended by all the politicians and full media coverage was received. Due to this incident the Police started patrolling stores more frequently and a Robbery Prevention Video was developed to educate store owners as how to protect such robberies and murders. This video was later on provided free of cost to store owners and the crime in stores was reduced tremendously. Thanks to the then Chief of police and Mayor Brown who changed the policies and brought positive results. Since the new administration of Mayor Bill White, the policy has not been followed so vigorously and the crime rate in stores has again escalated for which the community members must raise their voice.

Similarly, one day I called the Mayor about a person who was mentally challenged and was picked up by the Houston Police for creating disturbance at a local store. Mayor Brown intervened right away and instead of sending the boy to jail, he arranged for his transfer to mental health institute where the victim received sound treatment and therapy and is now living a normal life. Had this boy been jailed, we would have had an additional criminal on the street. We need people like Dr. Brown who has the vision to help people at the time of need.

After Shah Haqqi, the only Pakistani representative in City hall and who was asked to leave, the community has faced a vacuum as who to look for any help. One day I visited Mayor Brown with some one’s resume to request him to appoint that person in place of Shah Haqqi. Mayor Brown told me that the position was abolished and there was no budget to appoint anyone. Upon my concern he asked me if I would serve as Advisor to Mayor for South Asian Affairs for $ 1 a year salary and cater my community. I told him if he would approve MABIA-D South Asia (Mayor’s Advisory Board) I would be pleased to work for free for as long as he wished me to. Mayor Brown not only provided me with all the facilities but also gave me written instructions to help my community as per my preference. His trust and commitment to our community can never be forgotten by many of us. In return I also bestowed upon him the lifetime Achievement Award for Public Service during my oath ceremony as President Pakistan Chamber of Commerce-USA with Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and Congressman AL Green besides me. There was dual purpose to give this award. Brown deserved many awards like this for the service and commitment he showed to our community; the other purpose was to send a message to the new Mayor Bill White that if he served our communities, he would be honored the same way. Unfortunately, he has done nothing of such value that can qualify him for a community award from us.

 Houston Media, particularly Houston Chronicle, has never been fair with Mayor Lee Brown. In my view this was mainly because of his color that Houston Chronicle would always write editorials against him and his programs. Houston Chronicle never gave credit to Mayor Brown for what he did for the city and the vision he had to perform in future that at the end transformed it to a world class city. One day after so many of my letters to Viewpoint, something was at last printed in favor of Mayor Brown and he publicly appreciated my efforts and told me that he wished there would be some more writings about his achievements. But Due to black out by Houston Chronicle, Mayor Brown never receievd the respect and credit to upgrade the city. To me, Mayor Brown was not as cunning as Mayor White who hired a few of Houston Chronicle editors and TV persons on his staff who were to make sure nothing got printed against him except the praise and glory of this administration. I have always been disappointed with the attitude of Houston Chronicle, which has never showed any concern for the minorities and poor people of the city but have always catered for the needs of the rich and famous.

Mayor Brown was lucky to ride the first Metro Rail on the last day of his last term, which will eventually be considered the best thing happened to Houston. It is regretful to say that the Metro Building, supposed to be named after him, has not been considered for this naming as yet just because he was a minority mayor. I would fully demand to carry out the Metro board’s decision to name the building after his name.

I always complain to mayor Brown that upon his recommendation our community and particularly I helped Bill White to get elected as Mayor but he never treated me fairly only because I worked for him. He always responds: “Manny, I gave you the winner but never gave you any guarantee how he is going to turn out.” According to him, before election Bill White used to call him almost every day for guidance and after getting elected he called him after six months and that was also for some favor. Politicians should never forget that loosing friends is a double loss. They should keep  in touch with their supporters at all times as the clock ticks very fast and one day when they come back to civil life they would never get the respect the way we give to Brown who has been there for us yesterday, today and will be there tomorrow.

Dr.Brown is leading an international security firm located in Houston and he is still considered as political power center. I foresee him to be Cabinet Secretary if Hillary Clinton is elected as President of United States Of America.

Dr. Liaqat Ali Shah, Khairpur Mirs

          During my primary education in Khairpur, Liaqat Ali Shah, son of Syed Qaim Ali Shah, former Chief Minister and PPP leader, was also our classmate. Liaqat, Dr.Talib Shaikh, Imdad Dogar, and I were four very bright students from early childhood. We have remained friends since then and have been in constant touch with each other.

          When I started studying in an engineering college, Liaqat was pursing B.Sc. Honors specializing in chemistry. Imdad Dogar was my classmate in the engineering college and Talib was admitted to medical school. We four used to meet on regular basis and kept our friendship alive.

          Liaqat is one of the most humble people I have met in my life. Even his father rose to high positions and served as federal minister and chief minister of Sind. Liaqat always treated us as his close friends and never showed slight arrogance which is very common when people come in power.

          During 1974-75, while his father was serving as federal minister, one day he drove in a Mercedes limousine at my residence a government hostel at Garden Road Karachi. He told me to hop in for a ride in the Mercedes Benz. This was my first ride in a Mercedes and I never knew that God would bless me with two of those. However, I was never jealous of his having a Mercedes and kept my goals based on honesty and dedication and today I own two Mercedes cars and two BMWs.

          Liaqat, after doing his B.Sc., was lucky enough to join medical school. A specialist in eye disease, he has served in Civil Surgeon of Khairpur Mirs Hospital, which was one of his dreams. Liaqat and his elder brother Muzafar were very low-profile sons of Syed Qaim Ali Shah and never came in public life. When Qaim Ali Shah remarried to the sister of a renowned lawyer, A.K. Brohi, he was blessed with a few more children of whom Asad Shah became the Finance Minister for Sind Government during Benazir’s tenure as Prime minister of Pakistan.

          Qaim Ali Shah himself is a good and honest man and handled power with modesty and paid high respect to others. This is the reason he has never been touched by any government. 

          It was 1958. My father was serving as Deputy Collector Khairpur Mirs. One day leaving his office he saw three well-dressed people in black coats, under arrest by the police brought in at him while he just sat in his official vehicle. It was a Friday afternoon and the police had conveniently arrested them to be remanded in police custody for the weekend until they could arrange for bail. Sensing some suspicion, my father refused to sign the remand papers and returned to the office and convened the court to hear the bail request of these three people. These three were Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Syed Ghous Ali Shah, former Chief Minister and Defense Minister, and Ghulam Kadir Soomro, who became District Session Judge later. This case was a fictitious one and my father not knowing these three men gave them bail upon their personal cognition and let them go loose. Due to this gesture of goodwill all these three people remained friends of my father and respected him always. Qaim Ali Shah even being my father’s minister used to call him Sir and gave him highest regards any minister would have given him.

          I think this is another example of people who are honest and live modestly. They are respected by others and people do not take revenge from such individuals. Qaim Ali Shah and his family have been dedicated to Pakistan People’s Party and Benazir Bhutto and have kept their faith in the party whether in or out of power. This is the reason he has earned a high reputation in the political arena of Sind and Pakistan.

          A few years ago I visited Liaqat at his Khairpur residence. We walked through all the streets where we had spent our childhood days. He was a fantastic host and was so generous that he opened for us his own bedroom, which had air conditioning. The next day my younger brother mentioned to me that this was a great honor that Liaqat let you spend night in his home as Syeds generally do not allow outsiders to come in their Havelli (Quarters). I later on realized that Liaqat always showed great humility and acted like a true friend and was a fantastic host.

He and his family are also one of the few honest people I have seen. I have heard of no negative remarks about their immediate family members

 

Lutfi Hassan, Houston/ Dubai

I have known Lutfi Hassan ever since 1988, when he was owner of a travel agency; the same while I was operating three agencies in town. Lutfi subsequently started Insurance business and has accumulated significant assets during last two decades. Lutfi was one the few well-dressed south Asians I have ever seen. He was very a polite person, a slick and excellent host. His motto was that he could buy anything and anybody with money and he was pretty successful in not only making money for him but also for lots of his friends.

Lutfi Hassan drew closer to me during Mayor Lee Brown’s first election campaign at a Finance Committee meeting. Mayor Brown formed a 50-member Finance committee that raised approximately 2-3 million dollars each election cycle. Lutfi as well as most of the members of the committee joined and raised funds for taking full business advantage from Mayor Brown. Lutfi took his involvement in a high gear and surpassed core people like me to get close to the campaign staff and Mayor Brown. He both invested his money and raised significant funds from south Asian businessmen and women. I learnt a lot from him as how to penetrate the political circles and worked very close to him to support Mayor Brown. The only difference between Lutfi and me was he came for business and I came to serve the community. As soon as Mayor Brown was elected, he tried to secure city insurance contract and helped many of his friends to get city contracts. Truthfully speaking, Lutfi showed the community as how to penetrate the political balloon and make money. Though Ghulam Bombaywala has been involved in mainstream politics since President Regan’s time, he did not let the community come forward to be part of the mainstream politics. With all wrongs, Lutfi did but no one can deny the fact that he and I both initiated the process of today’s political awareness in our community during Mayor Brown’s tenure as Mayor.

The biggest problem with Lutfi was avarice and greed for money as he started receiving kickbacks to facilitate contracts for his friends and acquaintances. In one case he almost got into trouble while pushing someone and soliciting money from a businessman to secure a city contract. Also his gold plated china gift sets sent to all the council members and Mayor backfired on him and created big embarrassment for our community as well as Mayor. In one case, he asked a successful businessman in front of me that he would help him in his project if they would make a joint venture and he would get 40% of the profit from the contract.

Lutfi Hassan is very cunning and sharp. He always supports people who scratch his back. Mustafa Tameez is one good example whom Lutfi sponsored and brought into mainstream. In one incident, I was informed that Lutfi would refer people needing city contracts to Mustafa Tameez, who would be hired as a consultant and receive remuneration for the work. Lutfi would use his contacts and get the job done and the money would be funneled to Lutfi through another company where both Lutfi and Mustafa were partners. In American political system, this is a common practice but in my view Lutfi consumed the community trust and used our resources and money to achieve his personal financial goals. The pressure from the community was always on me while I worked at the Mayor’s office since I had to spend my time without any salary to serve the needs of the community. On the other hand, Lutfi was making money from right to left. I kept the Mayor informed of the rumors spread around the City Hall for his activities but he could not pinpoint enough evidence to take any action.

One day, during an event at Hyatt Regency Downtown, Ghulam Bombaywala, Masrur Jawaid Khan, Zafar Tahir, Lutfi Hassan and I greeted the Mayor. I made the following statement to Mayor. “Mayor these are our future politicians and pillars of our community”. His response was “Manny I can see four of you as politicians but Lutfi only needs money.” I was surprised to hear such a negative and derogatory statement made by the Mayor. But this also clearly indicated that Lutfi only pursued money and money related affairs; whereas, we were all working to bring the community into mainstream politics. The outcome of our efforts succeeded when Houston elected first Pakistani City Councilman in a post 9/11 era.

After establishing Mayor’s Advisory Board for International Business Affairs and Development (MABIA-D) South Asia, I recommended Lutfi Hassan to chair the board. Lutfi made a strategic error and appointed the vice chairs of the board and committee chairs without consulting me, the founder and Liaison for the board. He announced the names in the meeting. During our break time, I confronted Lutfi and told him that he was an ungrateful person. I challenged him that he could not achieve anything under the umbrella of that board. Due to his arrogant and unilateral decisions, I made the board so ineffective that for next two years he could not meet any of his agenda goals. Whereas I, being Advisor to Mayor, continued my service to the community and carried the message to the public to ascertain and be part of the mainstream political front.

One day I warned Lutfi to keep an eye for his dealings, as we did not want him to be Ben Reyees of the Muslim community. (Ben Reyees, a powerful Hispanic city council member, was jailed for receiving kickbacks for city contracts). I am glad that Lutfi was not caught in the middle of any scandal, which could have put an honest man like Lee Brown in a bad spot. Since then our relationship has been stranded and we have been working on different platforms. I wish Lutfi had the pain for the community so that we two would have made a big difference for the south Asian communities.

Any time I met Lutfi he told me that he was doing something new as he was not consistent in his business dealings and was a high roller with big spending habits on lavish travel and entertainment. This might be the reason that his net worth may not be very much. Some of his very close friends are disgusted and hate him because of some deals he made that went sour and his friends lost a lot of money. In my view, people with straight dealings and consistency in business ventures bring success. However, people like Lutfi may reach to the peak for temporary but always fade out. During his time, Lutfi was the limelight of the community and was highly respectable even to the President Clinton, First Lady Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and John Edwards and many local and national politicians whom he used and moved on.

At the end of the day, people did come to a conclusion that he was there for money only and used the community and their resources and moved on leaving his supporters stranded. One thing I have learnt that even though money is very important, people who kept the money making as their prime goal were never mentioned in history. In contrast, people who served the communities are always remembered and appreciated. During the time when Lutfi was on the political stage, he made millions. On the other hand, I worked for free for so many years, gave at least $40,000 in political contributions and at least ½ million dollars worth time and resources to Mayor Brown and Mayor Bill White receiving very little appreciation from the community. Again I wonder: “Is honesty the best policy?”

Maqsood Sheikh, PCS, Shikarpur, Sind

Maqsood Sheikh, a college lecturer from C& S Government College Shikarpur, qualified in PCS and joined as Assistant Commissioner in 1963 (as a trainee) with my father who was serving as Additional District Magistrate Jacobabad. Since I was the only family member staying with my father in the government bungalow my father offered free lodging and boarding to Maqsood. Maqsood and I became like fast friends and he stayed with us for almost 6 months. Maqsood, just like most of the Sheikhs of Shikarpur, was very polite and humble. Most of the Sheikhs in Sind are converted Muslims from Hinduism; therefore they carry most of the Hindu norms and customs. Most of this conversion happened just before the 1947-partition so that those people were saved from having to leave their homeland. As Sindhi Hindus were more advance in education and trade, they were greatly committed to supporting their fellow Sheikhs. Consequently, it produced an enormous number of public servants in Sind.

Maqsood was from a very small family of middle class status. As I can now recollect, his father was a schoolteacher. As soon as Maqsood joined as full-fledged Deputy Collector, he started milking money and his living standard suddenly jumped to high economic status. He not only oozed benefits for himself but for his family and brothers and so became a hero among his close friends. He made so much money that after 1971 war, when Pakistan banned the old currency, he had bags of currency notes that he was begging people to go and deposit in their name to get the new currency. He lost a lot of money during that time because he could not disclose more than designated amount because it could have made the government suspicious about his acts.

My father and Maqsood had maintained cordial relations until my father was appointed as an enquiry officer to investigate a claim by a Mukhtiarkar who bribed Maqsood by check to get some favor.

After the enquiry, it was found out that Maqsood had a Volkswagen then being maintained by his subordinate staff like Tapidars and Muktiarkars. In one occasion, one of his subordinates, a Mukhtiarkar, paid a bill for repair of his car with a personal check. When the two of them got on odds with each other, he was reported to the Commissioner Agha Rafique CSP. He appointment my father, then the Additional Commissioner Khairpur Division, to investigate and submit recommendations.

Maqsood wanted my father to waive the charges and get him clear out of the mess. Everyone knew that he was corrupt but he had knitted a network that brought the black money of bribe through check which might be a unique case in the history of Pakistani Bureaucracy. My father, as usual, visited Modern Motors Karachi and confirmed that he accepted the cost of repairs as bribe; he then sent his recommendations to the Commissioner who passed them on to the Chief Secretary. Somehow Maqsood managed to survive and not only that, he subsequently received rapid promotions and at one time was holding a higher-grade position than my father. He thereafter rose to the level of Federal Secretary and retired a few years ago.

Whenever Maqsood met me, he complained about my father because he stopped talking to Maqsood due to his devious and corrupt ways of life. Recently, when I met Maqsood in a plane ride from Sukkur to Karachi, he was full bearded and told that he had turned to be a true Muslim and works in various welfare community projects. Maqsood is a very nice prototype of people who make money from illegal means and become pious at the last phase of their lives. They fool people by posing to be a philanthropist. Unfortunately, people also have very poor cognition. They accept crooks as their leaders and consider them nice and clean guys working for the sake of their community. All I perceive is that they buy their way to achieve their personal goals and agenda.

This is again a classic example of how people easily tread the path of corruption and rise to the peak. My father who stood guard over the honest values, stayed low not only on monetary grounds but was never acknowledged nor was ever entitled to high profile positions that he so gravely deserved. This makes me wonder: “Is honesty the best policy.”

Masrur Jawaid (M.J.) Khan, Member Houston City Council

I met Masrur Jawaid (M.J.) Khan in 1968 while he was attending NED College and I was studying in D.J. Science College, Karachi.

My brother Irshad Memon knew him more closely because they were part of two different rival groups. M.J. was a very active worker of Islami Jamiat-I-Tulba, a chapter of Jamit-i-Islami and we were affiliated to Pakistan People’s Party, which was just breaking its ground.

M.J. belongs to a lower middle class family of Hyderabad and lived very modestly in Shewakunj Hostel at Pakistan Chowk. I did not have direct interaction with M.J. but my brother always mentioned about his aggressive activities and involvement in student politics.

I met M.J. again about 10 years later but never got close to him until he appointed me as Trustee for Pakistan Center while he was serving as President of Pakistani Association of Greater Houston: PAGH. Masrur is a very intelligent, skillful, ingenious and tactful politician and a very successful strategist and demagogue. My appointment as Trustee was due mainly to my involvement in mainstream American politics and close affiliations with Mayor Lee Brown. Masrur had fully planned to make use of my influence and skills for his future political ambition to be the city council man. Masrur was involved in Pakistani politics while Lutfi Hassan, Ghulam Bombaywala and I made a strong ground in American politics. Two years serving as Trustee with Masrur, I found him very selfish and self-centered who had no care for the community except for his own agenda. His style can be summarized in three words: Me, Myself and I. He was over-confident about himself and had created an inner core group that consisted of Zafar Tahir and a few intelligent individuals.

During a board meeting, I told the PAGH executive members that Mayor Brown had made a commitment to approve a $ 500,000 community grant for construction of Pakistan Center if we could raise matching funds. Masrur made a bold statement that he could raise $ 500,000 within one month and asked me to start working on the processing of the grant. I made a very blunt statement to him also and told him that PAGH had no  such standing in the community that people would donate $ 500,000, I further told him that I doubted if we could raise only $ 50,000. I never invested any time to process the grant and by the time Masrur completed his tenure, PAGH was almost bankrupt with approximately $11,000 in liabilities and no cash assets.

Masrur never helped any poor people of the community and if he was contacted for some favor, he would always pass the buck to those who could do his dirty work.  For example, once a widow was in trouble because she was being evicted from her apartment. She called PAGH for help. Masrur passed the buck to me and I met with the lady and paid her the rent. However, it was never reimbursed by PAGH. In his tenure as President of PAGH, major legal cases were filed and the orgnization lost so many resources and his actions brought PAGH at verge of bankruptcy.

I know most of us are media conscious and love to be photographed and interviewed.  But Masrur loves media attention to an extent of a psychopath who would do anything to get his picture printed. Just after 9/11 a Goodyear Store owned by a Pakistani was torched. Masrur was the first one to reach the scene. Without investigating the cause of the fire, he made a bold statement of racism profiling with Houston Chronicle and proudly took a picture with the storeowner, which was printed in Houston Chronicle. Unfortunately, next day it was found out that the Pakistani storeowner was responsible for the arson and had deliberately caused the fire to get insurance money. Masrur never apologized nor felt bad because he was only interested in getting his picture in the paper. Similarly, he brought huge embarrassment to all Pakistanis on the day of his oath ceremony at Miller Outdoor Theater when he would not leave Mayor Bill White’s hand until all the newspaper photographers took his picture. Whereas Mayor shook hands with every councilperson very casually and no one asked to be photographed.

The night three Pakistani store clerks were murdered in Houston, Masrur called Shah Haqqi, who was working in the Mayor’s office as Assistant to the Executive Assistant to Mayor. Shah responded that it was too late to call anyone and asked Masrur to see him in his office next morning at 9 a.m. Frustrated Masrur, then the President of Pakistani Association of Greater Houston, called me. As I was very close to Mayor Brown and had his private numbers, I immediately dialed his home number. I located Mayor in San Francisco and briefed him on three murder cases of Pakistani store clerks that was causing panic and wave of fear among Pakistani storeowners. He told me to wait for the Chief of Police’s call shortly after. Within minutes I received a call from the Chief Bradford. He asked me as to what could be done to calm the community. I suggested forming a task force to put a search of the murderer and arrange a meeting with community leaders the very next day. I invited Masrur and many other prominent community leaders and we discussed many issues including how to protect storeowners and stop robberies and murders. To review police progress, a meeting was scheduled at Police Head quarters after two days on a Friday after the funerals of the victims. Just before the meeting, I received a call from the Chief of Police informing that the murderer had been arrested but we still needed to attend the meeting to brief the media on this case. After the meeting I made one of the biggest political mistakes of my life that instead of leading the press briefing, I told M.J. Khan to lead media interview. It opened for him the gateway to start his political career. I still recollect ABC news correspondent’s comments: “You folks have a lot of pull in this city that you got the murderer arrested within 48 hours.” To me this was a big achievement of our community. If we had continued working together as a team, we could have achieved a higher position in the political arena. Unfortunately, we cut each other’s throats and never let others climb the ladder. We spend more time in intrigues to bring people down than to indulge in some positive work. To get more political benefit from this incident, Masrur suggested holding a procession against the city to protest violence at the convenience stores. When Mayor Brown found out about the protest rally he suggested to organize a memorial for the victims at the City Hall. Most of the storeowners closed the shops for three hours and a big memorial ceremony was observed where Masrur took all the media coverage.

His media craving can be clearly visualized from another incident. Just a few months after his oath ceremony, one day he phoned me in the Mayor’s office to accompany him to visit a Muslim robbery victim who was shot by a burglar. When we got to the parking lot, he asked me to leave my car and drive his car as he had forgotten to carry his driver’s license. We met the victim at Ben Taub Hospital and were leaving when Masrur got a telephone call. He moved aside, took the call, came back, and told me to leave, as the parents of the victim wanted to meet him. He suggested me to take the metro train and walk to the City Hall as I was supposed to escort Mayor at an event. As soon as I boarded the train, I received a call from Officer Muzafar Siddiqui from Houston Police Department. He asked me why I left. He told me that it was Muzafar who told Masrur that all the television channels were coming to interview the two of us. Ironically, Masrur made sure to eliminate me from the scene and took pride in being solely interviewed by the media. During Katrina and Rita Hurricanes, he was always stood behind the Mayor to be photographed or covered by the television. At an occasion, he did not get the right position and, like a little child, started stealing inch by inch to come to fit in the frame of the TV cameras. Highly funny, this showed that he lives only for media coverage and not to serve the people. Since this incident I lost respect for M.J. and decided to avoid him as he was no one’s friend but believed in self only.

During my tenure as Advisor to the Mayor, Masrur visited me in my office regularly and asked for advice as how to become City Councilman. Upon his request, one day I took him for a meeting with Mayor Brown and requested him to guide Masrur how to achieve his political ambition as well as asked him to ensure that Masrur would get Mayor’s endorsement. Mayor Brown was very generous and guided him and promised to endorse him and he kept the promise.

During election campaign, Masrur always asked for help and I heartily supported him. I got him his major endorsements from sitting Mayor and Kase Lawal, vice Chairman Houston Port Authority. Kase, a billionaire, not only endorsed him but also got him all the Nigerian votes in the district and donated a hefty amount as a political contribution.

In another case, he came to see me wanting to hold a joint rally of Pakistani and Indian communities to send a message that the public were against war between rival countries and want peace. A joint peace rally was held at the forefront of City Hall. Masrur had planned all this to get the support of the Indians by posing to be a peace loving person. This was more of a political stunt that certainly went very successful for him. No doubt Masrur is one of the best political strategists. He knows how to drag a situation and people on to favorable grounds at the time of need. However due to his poor interaction and lack of mobilizing all groups on one platform, he has lost his creditability.

At the time of his campaign, Ghulam Bombaywala was serving as President of PAGH and was not supporting Masrur. As a trustee, working with Ghulam, I always tried to persuade him to support Masrur and eventually made him agree. It was for the first time that all Pakistanis supported the first Muslim candidate running for Houston Council Seat. Due to a joint stand Masrur, won the election and defeated the son of the former Mayor of Houston. This was a big achievement for the Muslims and Pakistani community after 9/11. 

During Masrur’s election and before his oath ceremony I always observed a special protocol for Masrur and always respected him and expected that he would serve all the people of Houston and would attend to problems faced by the Pakistanis as well as Muslims in general. However, as soon as he took oath his first target was to get me out of the City. Masrur is one of those people who want to keep everyone, even his friends, one step behind due to his inferiority complex and fear of loosing grip on power. My position as Advisor to Mayor always kept me in the limelight at the community events and Masrur could not accept the fact that someone could share the stage with him. He wanted to be the solo leader for the Muslims and Pakistanis. To achieve his objective, he, accompanied by some of his gang members, started a systematic campaign against me to force me to leave the City Hall. After so many efforts, Masrur failed to get me out until I decided to meet with the Mayor Bill White to remind him of his election promise to give access to our communities. I was very disappointed to hear a statement from Mayor White that our community was not his priority and he had more important things to do for the City rather than caring about a small minority. He further told me that Masrur did not want me to serve and his council vote was more important for him. He wanted me to level my differences with Masrur if I wanted to stay on my position. I knew the only differences we two had: he could not share the stage with me. I therefore decided to leave the City Hall as Mayor White demonstrated his arrogance and insensitivity for the Muslim community and us. However, before leaving the City, I did send a letter of resignation to Mayor outlining his poor handling of our community. This letter can be found in the book in the chapter, American political System.

As soon as I left the City, its doors were shut for most of our community members except for members of Masrur’s inner circle and members of the MQM (Mohajir Quomi Movement). Masrur got exposed that he used the community to get elected but would cater only for the selected people. Most of his major contributors left him and formed alliances to unseat him in the next election which he survived due to a very organized and the most expensive campaign for any city council seat. He also survived many allegations during his election including paying cash money to New Orleans Katrina victims to get registered as Houston voters and made them vote for him; using the City property phone system, E-mails and Blackberry to raise funds for the election campaign, which is considered unlawful. One of his inner circle members has been alleged for selling FEMA vouchers given to M.J. Khan’s office to be distributed to New Orleans’s Katrina evacuees. In about three years of his tenure he has not been able to get any capital project approved in his district F which is considered the poorest progress among all districts of Houston. He has not attended any community events hosted by community organizations like PAGH and Pakistan Chamber of Commerce. However he has sponsored and openly served the MQM and its affiliated people and served the need on ethnic lines not on the Pakistan level or in the interest of the Muslims.

Masrur could have been very famous in our communities if he had helped the young generation to get internships and jobs in the City. During my tenure, I hired 12 south Asian kids as interns and a few of them joined the government jobs later on. Masrur could also have supported the affirmative action program and got lucrative contracts to minorities instead of joining hand with Mayor Bill White who has sidelined affirmative program guaranteeing 30% contacts to minorities. In his tenure, this program has been put aside and most of the contracts are awarded to the Anglo contractors who have supported Mayor White’s election campaign while filling their campaign accounts periodically. Masrur got a chance to serve the people but he served himself to achieve his goals. He will always be remembered as a part of the establishment and not people’s person. He may rise to a higher level but in my view he will be regarded as failure for our people.

Masrur’s main strength comes from his wife who, a successful cardiovascular practitioner, has financed his election campaigns. Sometimes I wonder about M.J. It seems that his behavior is more towards trying to prove that he can do things in life. To me, this is due to a major disparity between the couple. One layer reveals that his wife is a major success and well respected both in the medical profession and in the community for being very humble and soft-spoken. The other reflects that Masrur has never been able to hold a steady job. He has been more of custodian of his wife’s finances than a self-earning person of the family.

A person’s character is always open to interpretation when in power. It is the very time when one can see in the looking mirror and ask this question from self: “If God gave me power, what good did I do to people then?”

The biggest failure of Masrur is in the following evidence that came to pass after my departure from City two years ago. His son’s father in law once came to me for help.   He bluntly refused to go to Masrur for any help whatsoever. Moreover, our community still looks at me for help as Masrur never returns any one’s call except of his close associates. His staff in the City has been very discontented and upset with him as he reduced the salaries of the staff and increased his remuneration. A multimillionaire cut short the poor staff’s livelihood only for his own sublimity shows the character of this man.

The biggest disfavor done by Masrur is that of working against the only Pakistani community organization: PAGH. He has damaged the major project of establishing the first Pakistani Community Center in North America. Due to his negative tactics, this project has been delayed and has undergone loads of hindrances. However, I am optimistic that this project will eventually come to a full realization; God-willing, under leadership of Ghulam Bombaywala this center shall start functioning by the end of year 2006. To speak of the worst, if this project fails, its 100 % responsibility shall be on the shoulders of Masrur who has played a defiled role in derailing this project for the only reason that he wants to keep shining as the hero and the only one who is worthy of achieving any goals for the community. I hope he will come out of this psychopathic behavior and work with all the community members, hands in hands. This can glide him to the highest peak of his political career. But if he chooses to opt for the cunning policy of divide and rule, he will never rise higher than the level he presently is.

Addendum 2007:  In a way I want to thank Masur for creating conditions for me to leave the City Hall which gave me inspiration to devote my time to build the first Pakistani American Community Center. This center has been build in M.J. Khan’s district F but he has worked against the community cause and has never visited the facility due to his dreadful nature. He has been elected to serve his last term and is looking to seek political assignment in State Department or to run for City Controller which will be a hot run contest for him.

Masrur Jawaid Khan: Addendum 2007

City Council Members get a specific budget for salaries and all office expenses. Just after his second term, MJ Khan reduced the salary of his chief of staff, Dionne Roberts, who leaked copies of bad checks of his opponent before Election Day which gave him an easy victory by default. Dionne was very furious with her demotion and the sad part was that MJ, being a multi-millionaire, gave a pay increase to himself. One day she phoned me to meet with her for lunch. I invited Bombay to join in but he missed the meeting. Dionne unfolded to me the details of many irregularities and illegal activities happening during the 2005 election, a time when Khalid Khan, a Pakistani, had challenged MJ. Dionne did not want to be the whistleblower and asked me to turn the material to the Inspector General for investigation. For the past year and a half, those detailed facts are sitting on my desk and I have been debating whether I should turn him in or not. I did not want fingers to point out to M. J. Khan, like Ben Reyes, a powerfull Hispanic city councel man who was condemned and jailed on account of illegal activities. On the other hand, everyone knows that MJ was not a resident of District F and forged his residency to get elected from a district with a heavy South Asian population. 

Looking at all these things I wonder if honesty is the best policy. People like MJ who became community leaders by default and employed dishonest means to get elected still enjoy high positions in the political arena; whereas people like us were sidelined because we stood for honest and righteous ways of life. Mayor Bill White associated with him to get his vote in the city council meetings and condoned all of his illicit and dishonest activities, contrary to his election slogans of honesty and clean politics.

In a way I want to thank Masur to establish ground for me to leave City Hall because it inspired me to devote my time to build the first Pakistani American Community Center. This center has been built in MJ Khan’s district F, but he has worked in opposition to the community cause and has never visited the facility due to his dreadful nature.

He has been elected to serve his last term and is presently looking for political assignment in the State Department or an opportunity to run for City Controller which will be a hot run contest for him. I wish he would have put some of his energy to do something positive for the Muslim and Pakistani community in general rather than support his ethnic MQM well-wishers. Eventually, I cannot find a single initiative on his credit for the welfare of the common man and for his own community members who worked tirelessly to get him elected in the public office.

Mohammed Ameen (Mini Bhai), Houston, Texas

Mini Bhai and I met in 1990 when I purchased a new house. He was our neighbor living on the same street. Mini Bhai serves as President Muslim League (Nawaz Group) Houston, Texas.

One day Mini Bhai came to me. He told me that Ahmed Raza Qusuri, presently working as Foreign Minister of Pakistan, is staying with him as a guest and wanted to meet me. I was surprised to know that because Qusuri was a friend of my Uncle Abdul Fateh Memon, who served as General Secretary Sind Muslim League. Upon my arrival at Mini Bhai’s house, I asked him which college he had attended. Mini Bhai very slowly said “have done masters in mopology” I thought he said metallurgy and further asked him if he attended University of Lahore. He very politely replied “Mopology” not metallurgy.

Later on he told his story. He was not highly educated. Upon his arrival at Houston, his brother in law put him and his wife to run a Dairy Queen store starting as cleaning person. I was so impressed from his vividness and honesty. I always enjoyed about his way of telling me that he has done masters in mopology.

Mini Bhai, irrespective of having no formal education, has class and is always helpful to people. He rose from a cleaning person to the owner of several successful businesses. I found his wife also very humble and very hospitable. She attended school and is operating a beauty saloon. He is a classic example of American dream. Without any formal education, he not only became a successful businessman but also a seasoned politician as he was appointed President of Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz Group). I always wondered what the party had seen in him to give a leading role to him until I visited his home and saw his library with thousands of photographs, hundreds of audio and video tapes belonging to different Muslim League activities. Most probably he has impressed the leaders by the documentation of the party events. I have never seen any one whose party leader’s portrait hangs above his bed. He proudly showed this to everyone. Unfortunately, he got into trouble with FBI when some insensitive person reported that he had affiliations with Al Qaida and had a picture of Osama Bin Laden over his bed.

One day he wanted to send an e-mail to Benazir Bhutto to congratulate her on her husband’s acquittal from Pakistani jail. I was astonished to know that he did not even know how to send an e–mail. Hence I was the one who wrote it and sent to Benazir Bhutto. Being a leader of opposition party, he did have the courtesy to send an e-mail to Benazir to share her happiness. This plainly showed the political finesse in him. Looking at his profile make me feel ashamed of those community politicians who, though with high education and vast experience, have not succeeded in creating goodwill and organization of a party as compared to an uneducated person who has raised himself to a prosperous career.

Mohammad Ashraf Abbasi, Houston                                      

Ashraf Abbasi and I have been living in Houston since twenty five plus years but I never got a chance to get aquatinted with him until I started working in the Houston Mayor’s office as Advisor to Mayor for South Asian affairs.

One day a young man came looking for a job in Mayor’s Office. I reviewed his application for the position of an intern in the office. I did not know that he was son of Ashraf Abbasi. Due to his good credentials, I immediately put him on the staff and started training him. Asad, a very handsome and intelligent young man, started handling my day-to-day affairs very efficiently and professionally. During this time, Asad introduced me formally to his father and I found out that he had been involved in main stream American politics and community service for so many years. Thus our friendship grew stronger.

 One day he called me to have my opinion about leading Pakistan Chamber of Commerce, USA (PCCUSA) as the President Elect. I told him that I was very busy in the Mayor’s office and would not be able to justify the position. However, he convinced me that I had to take full charge of the chamber after two years when my tenure in the Mayor’s office would be over. After some discussion we agreed and I was proposed by him to be the President Elect. Just before they finished deliberations to elect me as the President Elect, I received a call from Mr. Abbasi. He asked me if I would accept the position of Senior Vice President which I declined as I could not take an active role in the chamber while I was already serving in Mayor’s Office. Somehow he managed to convince his colleagues and I was chosen as President Elect. I should have sensed that a group within the chamber did not want me to supercede their positions and this eventually made my life difficult during the presidency.

Looking back after serving as President of PCCUSA, I evaluate as to why I was chosen over other existing members to lead the organization. I think Abbasi was very wise who did not see any potential within the existing executive membership to take the chamber to the mainstream level. Abbasi chose me mainly because of my affiliation with the local and national political leaders particularly local mayors, senators, state and federal legislators. In my political career, Abbasi took full use of my contacts and not only took image of the chamber to the next level but served some of his ends along with the Senator Azam Swati’s agenda items who also happened to be his brother in law. I never regret that some one would unduly use my contacts and services but in return I expected that he would stand by his own commitment. Mr. Abbasi however fell in a trap and did not let me work independently as President nor did he let me complete my two years tenure as President. Due to lack of his support and my sticking to my style of working, he somehow changed his strategy and supported my opponents. The worst condition he dragged before me was to serve second year as President only if I would resign from the position of Trustee of Pakistan Center Project. I have a feeling that Mr. Abbasi was scared by my full circle involvement and wanted to restrain me to work under his leadership which I politely refused and disassociated myself with PCCUSA. In my view, Pakistan Center Project was more important for the community. I had confidence that I could achieve that goal instead of wasting time to continue being President of an organization that had made no efforts to promote business activities and was more involved in personal goals and media coverage. Being a goal-oriented person, I preferred to work under the leadership of Ghulam Bombaywala, President of Pakistan Association of Greater Houston (PAGH) as Trustee rather than serving as a dummy President of an organization which could never serve the people what it was preaching for.

Abbasi, as a person, is very humble and hard working but is more of a solo player like me. He likes to do most of things by himself and in my view he has done an excellent job. He has served as President of PAGH many years ago but his tenure as President of Pakistani American Congress (PAC) might be the best one on the capital hill. On the other side his success became his own enemy when Mohammed Sadiq, Deputy Ambassador of Pakistani Embassy in Washington DC, became his adversary and created a replica organization to undermine PAC and was quite successful in scaling down Abbasi’s influence in the political arena. On the other hand Abbasi had a style of being a nice guy: friendly to every one. This made him no one’s friend and caused mistrust within many community leaders.

Unfortunately, our political circles demand people to be on one side rather than try to balance two opposition groups. Abbasi had always tried to bring harmony and balance between two rival groups in Pakistani community of Houston. This, he could not achieve and lost his creditability with both the groups. I still remember a wise man’s advice to me that it is better to have a few friends true to you rather than many untreatable with trust. Abbasi was caught in this dilemma and lost grip of his political influence. He supported wrong people and wrong causes and never stood up for the truth therefore lost his creditability in the political arena.

On the other hand, his contribution to support so many of his community members is commendable. His services to help so many of his community members to get settled in USA are praiseworthy. However during his tenure as President PAGH, his rivals triggered some issues particularly about some mysterious circumstance of a major embezzlement from a Pakistani United Bank in Peshawar where he was serving as Manager. Though these allegations were not proved to be authentic, they did raise questions about his integrity. Working with him for several years I found him very honest and loyal to his cause and witnessed him spending enormous amount of money to serve the community. During recent devastating earth quake in NWFP Province in Pakistan a few of his associates; Gul Faraz Khan, Mumtaz Khan, and he raised approximately $ 70,000. However, the disbursement of those funds to the needy has been questionable and so far people have been talking silently about it but no uproar as to how those funds were used.  I hope they have kept some records and it would be wise to show a detailed report to community to keep his name clean.

Abbasi has a wonderful family: three well-mannered sons and a humble and very hospitable wife. He was given Father of the Year award by PAGH few years ago.  To me, Abbasi is one the few people I have met and who has impressed me by their all-round personality. We all have some weaknesses and we all have done few wrong things in our past. Therefore one should also acknowledge the strengths of people like Abbasi who tirelessly serve people and should stand for the truth and support virtuous causes and avoid politics.

Senator Mohammad Azam Swati, Abbotabad/Beaumont, Texas, U.S.A.

I became acquainted with Senator Swati in 2003 after getting elected as President Elect Pakistan Chamber of Commerce-USA (PCC-USA). He is married to the sister of Ashraf Abbasi who was instrumental in getting me in the PCC-USA.

At present, he might be the richest Pakistani businessman within State of Texas. He is one of the few Pakistani successful entrepreneurs who have reached to the peak. However, people, familiar with him since his early days, do not carry high regard for him due his financial dealings.

A few years ago, he surrendered his U.S. citizenship and got elected as Senator in Pakistan Senate. Perception is that the election of Senate in Pakistan, voted by the members of the provincial and national assemblies, is always for sale to the highest bidder. Senator Swati, with his financial backing, has been successful in getting elected as Nazim and later on Senator. As politics in Pakistan is manipulated more by financial resources and personal acquaintances rather than by talent, people who have a little competence and huge money, can be very successful in the corrupt society of Pakistan.

Word has been that after losing his seat in Senate in year 2006, Senator Swati paid approximately Rs. 140,000,000 to various MPAs and MNAs to get himself re-elected.

People always wonder why candidates spend high money to get elected for positions that carry only fraction of amounts in their salaries. I would say that it is more for appetite of power, satisfaction of personal ego that drives people towards politics.

Senator Swati has been instrumental in getting several people from his hometown and surrounding areas settled in the U.S.A. To my critical eye, his business strategy not only became advantageous for him but also made so many success stories from his hometown. I think we must learn business tactics from him and how to be financially independent and successful. He supports community and religious organizations generously. He prays regularly and is engaged in religious services on a constant basis. As the tradition in tribal and Pathan territories, he is an excellent host and throws lavish parties at his residence in Beaumont, Texas, about 80 miles east of Houston. Politically he is very connected due to his constant financial support to the political candidates. The local public officials like Mayor, Congressmen, Judges and County Commissioners are regular guests in his lavish parties.

 Senator Swati exploits the local political system very effectively and makes right use of his wealth to achieve his political and financial ambitions.

Senator Swati’s one significant contribution was during gubernatorial election of State of Louisiana. Now Congressman Bobby Jindal, from Louisiana, made a cynical remark about the Muslims during his first speech on campaign trail while running for Governor. Congressman Jindal said: “My name is Bobby Jindal and I want to tell you that I am not a Muslim.” Senator Swati became very furious about his comments and decided to support Governor Kathleen Blanco, that time a very unknown candidate. Senator Swati and many others, including Ashraf Abbasi, spent three months on the campaign trail and succeeded in getting Kathleen Blanco elected as Governor defeating Bobby Jindal who was a favorite candidate of the Republican Party. Unfortunately, Bobby lost the chance to be the first South Asian Governor due to impecunious selection of words. This also reflected the strength of the Pakistani community who was successful in getting an unknown candidate, with not much financial support, elected on such a prominent position.

During recent crisis within the Pakistani community, Senator Swati was asked to be the mediator to resolve the problems. He held several meetings and submitted a written resolution of the problems mutually agreed by the two groups in Houston. However, his efforts failed as a group led by the MQM and Councilman M.J. Khan refused to adhere to the agreement and the community is still suffering from the political polarization.

While I was serving as Advisor to Mayor of Houston, I was asked to present him an honorary citizenship certificate. When I processed this request, it was rejected due to his vocal and negative attitude towards the U.S. Government. Lately he has been very vocal in criticizing the American media and politicians along with the government of Pakistan. Rumors are circulating that he has been indicted by US government for some illegal activities which might be the cause of his permanent move to Islamabad. Though he is not a very exemplary speaker, he does convey his message and speaks the truth rather than show hypocrisy like many of our Pakistani politicians who heartily stick to the rising sun. So far I have not been able to assess his political affiliation as he keeps on changing his tone towards the Pakistani leaders. In my view, he wants to be appointed as federal or state minister and all his energies are converged to this goal. This time around, he has not been able to achieve a very high position and merely shuttles between Pakistan and the U.S.A. I predict that he will achieve some high profile position in the future as he has all the ingredients one needs to have to be a successful politician in Pakistan. He needs to improve his speaking skills and avoid making long and repetitious speeches. This will surely improve his image.

Dr. Mital Vakassi, St. Louis Missouri / Mitiari, Sind      

          Dr. Mithal Vakassi, specialist in cardiovascular diseases, settled in St. Louis Missouri, first time met me during annual gathering of Sindhi Association of North America (SANA). His pleasant personality and vigor to serve his people was very discernible and which brought us close to each other. Dr. Vakassi’s giving nature is hard to find in many people particularly people from Sind. Most of the people visiting from Pakistan to the U.S.A. do visit him where he is the best host as well performs free medical check ups to all his friends. Any time anyone went to him for a favor he never left any stone unturned and helped the person. Dr. Muneer Abro, as mentioned above, received a $5000 grant from him. Akhtar Wakko, a young man from Mehar Sind, was working with him when the Mr. Mital’s business had to be written off. But Dr. Vakassi made sure to send him to me and got him settled. He has been working tirelessly to create Shah Lateef Academy in St. Louis, which will be the first institution to promote the Sindhi poetry and culture. He is frequently holding literary and other such formal gatherings by inviting people like Rasool Bux Palejo and many renounced scholars. Dr. Vakassi was very active in SANA and SAMNA (Sindhi Association of Medical doctors) and served very honorably to make a difference. He was not like many of our leaders who believe in slogans and come round the podium to make long elegant speeches only and never deliver any support to their community members. Mithal, as his name means “sweet,” has been one the best people I have ever met. His recent project to produce curriculum on Videocassettes and distribute within small villages for self-education can revolutionize educational system in interior areas of the country. I hope one day this system will change course of the poor villagers who suffer because of poor quality of education and lack of knowledge possessed by the rural teachers. If I ever want to go back to Pakistan, I would try to carry this project in small towns and give chance to brighten students from villages to prosper. I salute to him for his vivid ideas and wish we could produce a few more people like him who can certainly change the course of our nation.

Capt. Dr. Mohammad Talib Shaikh, Khairpur Mirs

          Dr. Talib Sheikh and I have been friends since 1958 when we studied in primary school in Khairpur Mirs. Talib’s father Dr. Ghulam Kadir Shaikh was friend of my father who was then serving as Deputy Collector Khairpur Mirs.

          Once my father was transferred to other station and we moved to our native town Shikarpur in 1961. However we kept in touch with Talib and his family. Then we came to Jamshoro. I started studying engineering and Talib pursued degree in medicine. We have always been in connection and have been associated on family level since then.

          Later, I moved to Karachi and started working in PIA.  He was a regular guest at my house and treated us as his family. He visited USA twice and we were very glad to host him at our house.

          After migrating to USA whenever I visit Pakistan I find him a hospitable host who takes care of my lodging and boarding. His family treats me like a family member and respects me as if I am one of them. He has obedient sons and daughters. His wife is one the most hospitable lady I have ever seen in recent times. Talib is one of the few people with whom I share all family and personal secrets. His advice and comments are always very direct and honest and look sour sometimes, but his straight forwardness and honesty are not sensed by many. Some time back even his family told him that he was rude. They made very harsh comments for which he asked my opinion. I told him that I found him very honest in his opinions as I felt and gave my honest opinion, which might look harsh to others, but it is from the bottom of one’s heart.

In today’s world people always try to speak what is politically correct and if you tell them the true feeling you are labeled rude and harsh. I assured Talib that he should continue to follow the path of honesty and dedication and not try to change himself on account of others. Talib is a very hard working individual. He is an eye specialist at Government of Sind hospital; he also runs a private clinic in Mehran Clinic Sindhi Muslim Society. On Saturdays and Sundays he dedicates lot of his time to charity and works with different organizations to help the poor. He is one of the few Pakistanis I have seen who believe in giving. And God has rewarded him with a wonderful family. His two sons are working in USA and one daughter is married in Canada. According to me, he is one the best people I have met in my life and he is successful merely because of his strong religious beliefs and honest dealings. In today’s time it is hard to find people like Talib.

          Mukhtiar Ahmed Junejo, Retired Justice Supreme Court Pakistan

Mukhtiar Ahmed Junejo met me in 1975 when I dwelled in Government Hostel located at Ghandi Garden, Karachi. Junejo was then serving as additional Sessions Judge at Karachi. He was one of the most delicate and behaving people who carried a very honest reputation as a judge. He was not only a good judge but a friendly person who, ultimately, rose to the position of Justice of Supreme Court. During Benazir Bhutto’s tenure I was guest of Pir Mazhar ul Haque, then Sind Minister for Housing and Law. Mazhar asked me if I would like to accompany him to congratulate two new judges of the Supreme Court. When I heard the names, I did not tell Mazhar that I knew both of them very well. On our first trip, we met Justice Hafeez Memon, elder brother of my close friend Ashfaque Memon who perished in Taif PIA plane crash while working as flight engineer. As I was a daily visitor to Ashfaque’s house, Hafeez Memon was very excited to see me and gave me a lot of love and respect. Our next meeting was with Mukhtiar Junejo, also was very glad to see me. Pir Mazhar could not resist the following comments: “Manzoor, how is it that you live in the U.S.A. but when I take you to meet two Supreme Court justices, both of them know you so well?” Justice Mukhtiar Junejo replied to him instead of me and said: “After God, we loved Manzoor because he was the in charge of the officer’s mess and we cannot forget him for all the tasty food he provided us.”

As I was very close to my father, I always accompany him while visiting many of his friends; that is how I enlarged my circle of acquaintances and friends. Additionally, I always kept in touch with people through letters, Eid cards, Christmas cards and e-mails to keep my relation healthy and the circle of friends larger and influential. I have learnt one thing in my life: pay respect and give love to people, they will return the favor in the same fashion. The people from good family background always reciprocated in equal or greater way. In my experience, people who come from lower family backgrounds do not carry the same values and use the people at the time of the need and forget the favors. I always judge the people with the attitude they show to me and always avoid people who do not respect others. I have more complaints from the new generation who do not carry regard for elders and for the people who have somehow helped them.

Mukhtiar Ahmed Mugual Advocate, Karachi

Mukhtiar belongs to the Mugual family of Shikarpur who migrated to Karachi during the early 50s and started business in Karachi. His family might be considered as one of the oldest Sindhi entrepreneurs of Karachi. Due to our old friendship my father and all of us were always in touch with them.

Mukhtiar met me the first time during my stay in Metha Ram Hostel while I was attending D.J. Science College. We had a lot of common friends like Deedar Qureshi, Shamis Samo, Deedar Soomro and many more. Mukhtiar was very close to Deedar Soomro, who later on became a district session judge. Mukhtiar pursed his career as an attorney and made a lot of fortune while Deedar Soomro was Rent Controller in Karachi. As Deedar passed away at a young age, Mukhtiar paid back to his friend and always supported his family. This was a very unique quality I found in Mukhtiar that after his friend died, he took care of his friend’s house and children.

Mukhtiar has always been very hospitable whenever I visited him. After living in Karachi, he has become more of a businessman type than a friend. While my service in Pakistan International Airlines, he came to see me with his brother to help them to get PIA Uniform Tailoring contract for their company. I was a little disappointed when they offered me a cut in the contract which I declined but did help them to get the contract through a friend of mine. Fortunately, their company has maintained the contract since 1975 that holds good till today. It simply shows that they must have made enormous profits. This was another example when I could take a cut or make myself a partner in their business and make a lot of money. But as usual like my elders I helped them to get the contract but never took any advantage from them. During early 2000-2001 time I asked Mukhtiar to handle some legal matter for me and I thought he would try to reciprocate the favor. However, he charged me for his legal fees that I paid without the slightest of ill feelings: I showed my character to help him and this was time for him to show what class he had. I lost respect for him and has ever since avoided seeing him; he has also not made any effort to call me which he always did while visiting the U.S.A. to meet with his children.

Mukhtiar is a classic example of such type of people who have always baited our family including my father and me but were never there for us when we needed him. I am so proud of my father who told me a long time ago about Mukhtiar that he was not my friend but was there only to bait us. At that time I thought Mukhtiar was a close family friend and I kind of overlooked my father’s assessment. But now I realize that I should have respected his evaluation. I have no regrets that at the time of need I helped him and in return God Almighty always showed me the right way and gave me success in anything I did.

Dr. Muneer Abro, Islamabad

          About ten years ago, I received a call from an unknown person. He introduced himself to me as Dr. Muneer Abro from Larkana region and asked me if I could help him to get admission in his Ph.D. program in Public Health. I did not know him even then I asked him how I could help him. He told me that he needed a loan of $ 15,000 based on that he would be guaranteed enrollment to the Ph.D. program. He also mentioned that he had received a grant of $ 5000 from Dr. Mithal Vakassi, one of my best friends practicing cardiovascular diseases in St Louis, Missouri.

I discussed the matter with Dr. Vakassi and came to a conclusion that giving $ 15000 to a stranger would not be a wise step; however, I asked him if I could give him a letter of guarantee for the same amount instead, would it help to get the admission? After negotiations, he convinced the Dean of admission and I furnished a $ 15,000 guarantee-letter for him and he moved from New Orleans to Houston and started attending his classes. During that time frame we started meeting at social level. I found him pleasant and knowledgeable and had a very nice family. The same while, he was also exploring the possibilities to purchase a business that could give him grounds to stay over. He asked me to do a purchase-cost evaluation of a grocery store, which I suggested him not to buy due to low returns. To my amusement, he still went ahead and purchased the store and within a few months asked me to help him to sell it. I told him that it would be very difficult to sell this store due to poor yielding factor. When I went to Pakistan once, he met my brother, Aamir, who was managing my store, and one of my employees, Ali Nawaz Pathan; he somehow convinced them to buy the store from him. Also he put one condition that I should not be told about this transaction. When I came back, my brother and Ali continued working in my store on an alternative basis and managed their store without informing me. However, the day I arrived, my other employees told me that Ali and Aamir had bought a store and they intended to keep it secret from you. I therefore expanded my security system and found out that Ali Nawaz Pathan who was nephew of one of my old friends since 1974 was moving groceries from my store to his. At one time he stole 62 cartons of cigarettes, which caused his termination. I later on asked my brother to leave and continue his business. They both lost their jobs with me. As the new business was not producing enough, they started fighting and eventually broke up the partnership. Ali bought out Aamir’s share with very little investment and Aamir was working at minimum wage again. During their tenure one of their night employees was shot dead and a major robbery occurred in the store. This was one of the reasons Aamir got scared and split from Ali.

Muneer did the same thing as many have done to me. The return of favor was reciprocated by defrauding my brother to achieve his goal. My brother Aamir was very young at the time and was always ambitious to own a business but lost his savings due to Muneer’s selfishness. Ali Nawaz Pathan, on the other hand, was persistent in running the business and grew his business and achieved his ambitions. In my view Ali Also created conditions for my brother Aamir to leave the business so that he could achieve his goals in which he was very successful. In today’s competitive world, friendship, integrity and honesty is superseded by selfishness and personal ambition and Ali was a good example. He used my resources as well as my brother’s capital to achieve his financial independence and used my friendship with his uncle Ghulam Sarwar who at one time worked in Pakistan Embassy at Washington DC. Aamir kept on struggling and it took him almost 10 additional years to get settled. The poetic justice was that Ali suffered a back injury and has remained in pain since then. Muneer Abro had no guts to keep any contact as he knew that he cheated on us. I wonder how far he could progress in his career.

Muneer Ahmed Umrani, Hyderabad, Sind / Dallas, Texas

Muneer has been a childhood friend of my beloved brother Irshad Memon. After Irshad’s sudden death, most of his friends like Pir Mazhar ul Haque, Muneer Umrani, Ashfaque Memon, Aijaz Memon, Shakoor Memon, Jan Mohammed Samo, Deedar Qureshi, Shamis Samo, Deedar Soomro, Khadium Hussain Memon and many more became my friends and I always kept a close relationship with them. Muneer was two years senior to me in Sind University Engineering College where he always helped me due to his contacts with his seniors. Muneer was a regular visitor at our home particularly when my brother Irshad visited Hyderabad. At times, he and his friend Aijaz Memon would come and get help from my brother who was very sharp academically.

After acquiring his degree, Muneer joined Karachi Electric Supply as Assistant Engineer Meter Section. As we had several common friends, we were always in touch with each other.

After completing my degree in electrical engineering I joined Karachi Shipyard and later on joined PIA. In about 1978, while I was serving Assistant Engineer (Electrical) in Public Works Department of PIA, I received a call from Colonel Kafeel, an Administrative Manager to the Chairman PIA, Anwar Jamal. He told me that the Chairman wanted to see me right away. I was very surprised as to why the Chairman summoned me because there was a hierarchy of command under which he would ask Director Administration who would ask my General Manager and then I would be contacted. Surprised, I reached the Chairman’s office and was amazed to know that Anwar Jamal wanted a favor from me. He told me that he had moved in a town home at Clifton Area (Karachi) and had been trying to get a 3-phase electric connection for the last three months. He had requested Sami Qureshi CSP Chairman Karachi Electric Supply Corporation but so far no electric meter was installed. As the summer was approaching, his German wife was very worried how she would sustain the heat. He told me that he had heard that I had a lot of contacts and that if I could look into the matter to help him. As my father was serving at a high profile position, everyone knew that I can help to expedite their issues. I made a promise to him that I would do my best. I took the company vehicle and went straight to Muneer, then in charge of Meter Section. I told him that this was a chance for me to get close to the chairman. He was so generous that he put other things to a seizure and made an electrician accompany me with a 3-phase meter. We took it straight to the Chairman’s house. I got it installed and commissioned the air-conditioning units within two hours. As soon as I returned to my office, my secretary told me that Chairman wanted to see me again. His first impression was that I bribed someone to get it done so quickly. However, I had to really convince him that it was done merely due to my friendship. He was wondering how come the chairman of KESC could not do something in last three months and I got the issue resolved within a few hours. In Pakistan it is called the magic of friendship and Muneer showed the enchantment which was very helpful to me. When I was getting married, I invited Chairman Anwar Jamal who not only attended my wedding but invited me at his house with 56 general managers of PIA myself being the chief guest. He showed his greatness and treated me so lavishly that I would never forget his generosity and love; it was not encircled around the dinner only, however, he presented an extravagant gift for me and my wife. In my life he has been one of the few bosses who have won my heart and I could have done anything for him.

In about 1979, Muneer moved to ARAMCO and we lost touch with each other until he moved to Houston a few years ago. In college days, Muneer was very aggressive and his emotional level remained the same even after so many years. He always tried to impose his thoughts over others and talked without giving anyone an opportunity to express their views. During his stay in Houston, he asked me to help him to get his family’s green cards process expedited. As his eldest daughter would have been disqualified to get a green card, he wanted to get them legalized before certain a timeframe. As he was very frustrated with the company attorney who was handling his immigration matter with no results in two years, he looked to me for help. Upon my request, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee requested the Director of INS and his immigration case was approved within two weeks of our request. Once the case was approved, I asked Muneer to send a letter of thanks to the congresswoman so that he could remain in touch with her in the future as well. Muneer, instead of acknowledging our efforts, stated that his case came through in the regular process and no help was extended from the Congresswoman’s office. I was very upset with him and told him that he was being ungrateful. This is a common habit in our people that after getting their issues resolved, they try to avoid giving credit to the people who have helped them at the time of the need. On the other side, whenever I introduced him to someone, I recollected the story of Chairman PIA Anwar Jamal and gave him credit for what he did for me. Helping him to get his family legalized was not to get any credit but to pay back for the favor he extended to me with a hope that he would acknowledge it that he ultimately denied. Due to this incident, our relationship got strained and inspite of many moves, he has sidelined himself though his family and children are in touch with my family.

Muneer has some strange habits. He keeps fasts for all thirty days during the holy month of Ramadan and prays five times including Taravih. He very proudly says that he does not drink alcohol during Ramadan; however, he drinks all the rest of the time. In my view, God Almighty is the judge of our character but there are some religious and social norms which one should abide by. Rest is all the decision of God whose actions are accepted and whose sins are forgiven and we should not judge the person on the visual actions. I always have regards for Muneer mainly because he is a childhood friend of my dearest brother and I always looked at him like he is my brother too.

Officer Muzafar Siddiqui, Houston Police Department

During the election campaign of Mayor Lee Brown, Officer Siddiqui met me and as soon as I joined the Mayor’s office as Advisor to Mayor for South Asian Affairs he got close to me. He would call me every day and furnish a comprehensive report of the City and particularly about activities within South Asian communities.

Upon strong recommendations from Ghulam Bombaywala, Shah Haqqi, and I Mayor Lee Brown designated him as Liaison for South Asian community where he served very elegantly. We also supported him and accredited him everywhere and with all the recommendations he was bestowed upon with so many police and law enforcement awards including Policeman of the Year as well as some national awards.

During Ghulam Bombaywala’s Election Day, he was supposed to be working at the polling station. However, I felt that he was not acting fairly and was prone to support the MQM group. I shared my observation with Ghulam who, at that time, did not agree with my perception until after so many years. As long as I was in the Mayor’s office, Muzafar always extended full protocol and helped me for which I have always been thankful to him. However due to his biased attitude, he lost his creditability in the community and particularly with certain groups. The community leaders who used him for their personal agenda gave him so many awards that he always expected one during every event and he got used to the praise and pampering.

During the last few years, he bluntly came up to supporting the MQM cause rather than serving the whole community. Several community members raised some allegations of corruption and use of excessive police force for personal gain and lodged complaints against him. So far he has survived and is still working in the department but not on a high profile position like the one he was holding during Mayor Lee Brown’s tenure. Perception is that he was also a victim of Masrur’s vindictive nature when he was transferred to the head office and no longer served as Liaison to the South Asian communities. This could be true as the two of us are now out of his way. This means an open stage for Masrur to be the solo representative and leader of our communities. Certainly, this was a short sightedness on part of Masrur. If he had joined forces with us, we would have been at a higher ground in mainstream American politics.

I always suggest people who come in public life to be fair with all groups to retain their integrity. This will not only prolong their tenure at high profile position but also give them recognition in the community. As soon as you sideline one group, your creditability is minimized and complaints start surfacing to dislodge and oust you. Masrur Jawaid Khan and Muzafar Siddiqui both got an excellent opportunity to serve all the communities but they chose to cater only for one ethnic party they were affiliated with. But they lost their opportunity to rise taller.

Comparing myself to Masrur, I still admire Muzafar that at the time of my tenure at the Mayor’s office he extended all the help and was completely fair and never tried to back stab me as Masrur did.

Dr. Muzafar Hussein Memon, Hyderabad  

          Dr. Muzafar is my younger brother born in Tando Allahyar in 1958 when my father was Mukhtiarkar. He graduated with Bachelor’s degree in Dental Science from Liaqat Medical College and is presently serving the institution as Assistant Professor Dentistry as well as doing private practice at Kotri since 1980.

          Dr. Muzafar was very lucky to get admission in dental school when our Uncle Nizamuddin Memon was asked to give some applications for admission due to shortage of candidates. As I was close to Uncle Nizam, I gave him applications of three candidates including Dr. Mansoor Memon s/o Azizullah Memon and Dr. Sirfraz Memon s/o Mohammad Bux Memon working in Washington DC. This timely action was taken to streamline careers of these three individuals for which all the credit goes to Uncle Nizam.

          Dr. Muzafar was lucky that as soon as he came out of college I had enough capital to pay for establishing a dental clinic for him that he is still running.

          Dr. Muzafar’s biggest contribution in our family was to take care of our mother who suffered from diabetes and many other petty illnesses. Muzafar really served mother more than any of our brothers and God will reward him for his services. On the other hand, he is very sensitive and emotional. This has caused him a lot of grief. He had been very helpful to support two younger brothers, Shahid and Aamir, and had served honorably to help their family. In return, he has never been appreciated and has always been complaining.  I have always told him that today’s world is very selfish and one has to become self-sufficient first before helping others. Inside Muzafar is a good human being and has brought some beautiful and smart children who are going to reduce his frustration level and make him happier in life.

Najma and Anwar Memon, Toronto, Canada

Najma is the only daughter of my uncle Abdul Fateh Memon. She is married to Anwar Memon, son of Fakir Mohammed Memon from Fakir Jo Pirah Hyderabad. Fakir Mohammed had been acquainted to my father since 1956 while serving as Mukhtiarkar, Hyderabad. He lived very close to our official residence. Anwar met me first time while he was serving as Lecturer in Civil Department at Sind University Engineering College, Jamshoro. Just after serving there one year, he was married to Najma and he was awarded a scholarship to pursue Masters in Civil Engineering in London.

After completing his education, instead of serving his college as promised by him in writing before he went for the scholarship program, he moved to Canada and is presently managing a huge Environmental Engineering Company in Toronto, Canada. Najma supported Anwar and has been responsible for his success that he seldom acknowledges.

Najma has been like an elder sister to me. She treated me like her blood brother since I met her. She is one of the few cousins who have always kept contact with all the relatives.

           Anwar, on the other hand, was very aggressive but has mellowed down since his kidney failure that has kept him under the weather. They are blessed with two sons. One is Danish, an Environmental Engineer; the other is Mashal, a Computer Engineer. During Anwar’s studies in London, they were forced to leave their children in Pakistan who were raised by their grandparents. This created some kind of vacuum between the parents and children and has since kept them at odds with each other. Unfortunately, children do not realize the fact that for the middle class people like us we have to sacrifice so much to achieve the heights in our professions. Our children do not appreciate the ready meal they get with all the amenities of life and never imagine how we provide for their needs. We have always been grateful to our parents for their hard work but do not see the next generation giving us the credit for providing them the best in the world. Anwar and Najma when met with my family became very close to my children particularly my daughter. Anwar has helped most of his brothers and sisters and contributed a lot to their lives. As his father married twice, half of his brothers and sisters are from his stepmother. Yet, he has also treated them well and for his good deeds one of them donated a kidney to him which was transplanted to him giving him an extended life.

 On the community side, Anwar has made no significant contributions except that he is very effective in giving ideas as what to do for the betterment of the people. Unfortunately, most of us hitting higher ground of success once forget our motherland and do not contribute towards the upliftment of our community. I think Anwar could have done much more and joined forces with people to upgrade life of many people.

I found Anwar and Najma both making biased decisions and shying away to take the stand for the truth when at an instance he fell short in his judgement which sidelined me from their family. In my view one should be honest to those who are confidants. Instead of avoiding the veracity, one should stand by the genuineness and support the virtuous and true people even if one of their dear ones is on the opposite side. A person’s right and unbiased decision demonstrates the person’s strong character.

Dr. Naveed Saleem Chairman (MIS), University of Houston, Clearlake

          Dr. Naveed got aquatinted with me through Syed Shameem Ahmed, one of my best friends, my tennis teacher and religious affairs mentor. Shameem and Naveed were neighbors at times and we started playing tennis periodically and have continued for the last fifteen years.

          Dr. Naveed is a born Christian from Lahore. But if he does not disclose his identity he is more knowledgeable about Islam than many of us and due to his Muslim name he can never be recognized as a practicing Christian. Naveed is one of those special people presiding in my heart who always stood for the right.  He is a man of principles and a very dedicated and hardworking teacher.

His noblest quality, which I found, was his care for his parents. His father suffers from throat cancer and his mother is old but Naveed takes the time to make sure they are healthy and happy. I think his rise and cause of happiness is due to his dedication to his parents, his family and his students.

          Dr. Naveed and I always discuss various issues and I always found him always giving me right advice hinged on very strict principles. He is one of the few people who constantly remind me that honesty is the best policy which may not take you on the peak but does make you a first class human being and Naveed is more than first class. I wish we had teachers like him who could help the students round the clock and serve them rather than being bossy and arrogant like many teachers who achieve higher positions in their academic life. Naveed teaches extra classes to earn additional money which he donates back to a scholarship fund to help the poor and needy students. His generosity towards his students, his family and friends is hardly to find in many human beings. If I had to give a humanitarian award Naveed would be on top of my list for the best teacher and best human being.

Namatullah Bhutto, Shikarpur

Namatullah Bhutto, son of Habibullah Bhutto, both schoolteachers in Government High School Shikarpur, was aquatinted to us through a distant relative Ghulam Haider Memon. Habibullah Bhutto retired as Head Master of the school and carried a very high reputation in all genres of his field. Namatullah became a family friend and during 1966-67 when I was just in 9th grade, we decided to publish first digest ever published in Sindhi language. Few of us contributed financially and edited Mehran Digest and issued twelve monthly issues distributed in major cities of Sind. During that time there were only a few Sindhi periodicals like Sohani by Tariq Ashraf, Naeen Zindangi by Shamsheer Haideri, and very shallow amount of literary books was published in Sindhi. Mehran Digest can be called the first of its kind published in the format of Reader’s Digest giving people of Sind the information which could not previously reach to them due to language barriers. I wish the educated Sindhis take this task and publish some literary and educational periodicals to promote Sindhi language and stop complaining that Urdu is promoted by the government.

It is the Urdu-speaking people who are taking the pain to promote their language and why not the Sindhis who are more interested in slogans drag their energies to promote their language.

People like Namatullah need financial support from all of us to promote our language and we need to start making honest efforts for our mother tongue otherwise it will be buried in the heavy pressure of other languages which are being promoted on a higher pace than that of ours.

Dr. Nazir Mughal, Former Vice Chancellor, University of Sind

Dr. Nazir Mughal and I got aquatinted during SANA convention and were immediately connected due to my involvement with Travel business. During 1986-1992 I owned and operated five branches of IATA approved travel agencies in Houston. Dr. Nazir Mughal was serving as Dean of International Studies at Edinboro University at Erie Pennsylvania. In my travel business, he was my top client and he not only diverted his personal and university business but also referred his friends to me too.

I also served him with first class service and made sure that his trips were arranged with high quality and precision. Dr. Mughal used to take groups of international students on foreign trips. I (for this I can never forget him) made all the ticketing and related arrangements.

Dr. Nazir was also very sociable. He invited several educationists and prominent people from Pakistan to lecture his students and finally the government of Pakistan appreciated his talent and he was appointed as Vice Chancellor Sind University where he served honorably for several years.

Dr. Nazir has been instrumental in settling so many Pakistani boys and girls whom he helped to get admission in Edinboro University and subsequently got them jobs and sponsorships. In my view, he is one of the very few people who have served his country and people. I wish many of us follow his footsteps and help our people to upgrade standard of living of a few of the poor families. Dr. Nazir is a practical person and knows how to make things work for him as well as for others. We must learn his tactics to be successful in practical life.

During my visit to Pakistan, when I visited him, he forced me to stay for a night at his official Vice Chancellor quarters. This was a unique experience when I sat on the same chair where I sat about twenty years ago to discuss with the then Vice Chancellor Hassan Ali Abdul Rahman the plan to ouster Dr. A.Q. Afghan. The detailed story is narrated in paragraph written about Dr. A.Q. Afghan.

The most inspiring memory of this trip was my morning walk from his bungalow to Mehran hostel where I lived for several years during my engineering education. When I visited grave of Allama I.I. Kazi, founder of Sind University, I prayed for his soul. As soon as I turned towards the University, I felt as if God showed to Allama Kazi the new version of the university through my eyes. I knew that Alama Kazi could not see the final product of what he started several decades ago when only a single unit was built to commence the university. Now it has evolved into a large town. We forget the contributions of those who have the vision to build the educational institutions that consequently change the course of our nation.

I will urge affluent and influential people to please support your educational institutions and let education spread to the poor people to encourage the less privileged to upgrade this nation.

Dr. Nazir has been my friend since then and has always been in touch with me. He is a wonderful host and excellent friend. After serving as VC Sind University he has lost touch with the U.S.A. yet has been constantly taking educational assignments in Pakistan where he can be better utilized by our people. I wish our government can create programs through which talented professors from Pakistani origin are encouraged to take teaching jobs to upgrade educational standards in Pakistan. The biggest dilemma our country has been undergoing is the brain drain due to the opportunities foreign countries provide to out people. This takes away all the high-class talent. I wish our government cut down their budgets from feeding a gigantic army and spend it for education to upgrade our lives.

Nizamuddin Memon Advocate, Larkana                       

Nizamuddin Memon is my father’s first cousin and my uncle from mother’s side being married to my mother’s younger sister. Ada Nizamuddin, as we all call him, is one of the best people of our family. He was a good looking, intelligent as well as a very honest man. He was always overshadowed by his elder brother Abdul Fateh Memon who was always in the limelight until he settled in Karachi after returning from Saudi Arabia where he served as Pakistani Ambassador. Nizamuddin handled most of the law practice while his elder brother was busy in politics and once he took charge of the political reins, he shined like a star. His children also always silently felt that the joint family system did not give them an equal opportunity and their cousins became more successful and they were left out. Though there was little truth in their feelings but one has to work hard and overcome hurdles to open new doors so that one can achieve success. According to my experienced analysis of life in common and particular, jealousy and laziness do not bring success to people but hard work and positive attitude.

As soon as Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto came to Larkana in the mid 50s, there was a family meeting held at our house. This meeting was attended by Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto, Z.A. Bhutto, Sikander Bhutto, Uncle Abdul Fateh, Uncle Nizamuddin, cousins Dr. Ghulam Ali and Ali Nawaz Memon. During this meeting two families joined political forces together and decided to support each other. However, Nizamuddin and Z.A. Bhutto clicked louder and remained very close friends till the end.

During the historical trip taken by Bhutto to UNO where he tore off the agenda and walked out, Nizamuddin was on his side. They played bridge together and partied at the Larkana Gymkhana till Bhutto was appointed as Industries minister in Ayub Khan’s regime. Bhutto was a regular guest at our home when we were very young. As Nizamuddin was very close to me, he shared so many intimate details about him and about so many politicians (some of which cannot be mentioned here for the sake of secrecy). It did show to me how close he was to many of the top politicians. During Bhutto’s tenure, he was assigned an undocumented position as political advisor to Prime Minister and a Toyota Land Cruiser was assigned to him with Prim Minster’s Seal on it. The Land Cruiser was usually left parked at my residence in Karachi and I was his driver on the weekends when he would fly from Larkana. During weekends we would meet with various political leaders and officials and he would prepare a policy making report for the Prime Minster. I used to send that report to the Prime Minister via PIA cargo. Prime Minister Bhutto had issued orders to seek for Nizamuddin’s consultancy while making any major decisions to formulate policy of Sind; however, he never accepted any remuneration for working for the Prime Minister the same I did working for the Mayor of Houston. During second term election, Nizamuddin was the in charge of elections in Sind province and was custodian of millions of rupees to be spent on the election. This time around, Nizamuddin ruined his law practice and was almost broke but he never accepted any political assistance in any form.

Nizamuddin is the symbol of honesty in Sind politics where he held so much power but did not take any financial advantage and is presently living a very modest life in Larkana. Looking at the people who worked beside him at a very lower level and who have accumulated large assets by using their political influence I always wonder “Is honesty the best policy?” People like Chaker Ali Junejo, Abdul Razaque Soomro, Abdul Waheed Katper and many more are the ones who used their political influence and became very wealthy as well as enjoyed high political positions in subsequent governments. Contrarily, Nizamuddin was never asked to take any role after death of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. The main reason was that he had no financial backing that he could spend money to be part of the new political system prevailing in our country where money plays the key role to achieve positions. After so much hard work finally Pakistan People’s Party assigned a national assembly ticket to his son Khalid Iqbal who won the seat inspite of a government-backed candidate running against him for the same seat.

Some of the stories of his honesty have been mentioned in this book with relation to others but few of the stories are repeated here.

During Bhutto regime, the government was issuing permits to purchase a new Corolla car at a government-fixed price. Many of the people acquired the permit and sold the permit in the black market and, without even buying a car, made ten to fifteen thousand rupees on the spot. During one of his visits, I asked him to get me such a permit. He asked me if I had the money to purchase the car and I told him no. He told me that it meant I would sell the permit in the black market and this would stain our family’s honor. Even though he got around 110 permits issued for the political workers of the PPP, he never got one for him or any of the family members.

Bashir Moriani, a Secretary of Industries, delayed my appointment as Assistant director in Industries department. He appointed one of my friends, Nisar Channa, on the same position after hurling into his pocket a sum of Rs. 50,000. This incident was reported to the Prime Minister who dismissed Moriani on the spot and referred me to PIA for the job. This was the foundation, a gateway to success for me: I married Amber and migrated to the U.S.A. where I not only achieved my financial independence but also earned so much respect and learnt about political and human relations. I always considered him one of my heroes who was instrumental in getting me to the higher ground.

Nusrat Hassan CSP, Member, Board of Revenue, Sind.

After abolishing one unit when West Pakistan was divided into four provinces, Sind achieved partial independence. This change brought my father to serve as Secretary Revenue in newly established Board of Revenue Sind. Nusrat Hassan CSP, an ISS officer, was before partition appointed as Senior Member Board of Revenue. Syed Qatib Ali Shah PCS was appointed as Member Land Utilization in the board. Considering my father’s position, he was in charge of all the administration of the board, responsible to hire the new staff and procure every thing to operate the board. All the Divisional Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners, Deputy Collectors, Mukhtirkars and other revenue staff came under direct control of this board. However, the appointment and transfers of senior staff was under the control of Chief Secretary Sind.

My father advertised all the vacant positions in the board and held written and oral tests and hired all the 119 employees on merit basis without letting even a single person with any other influence but genuine merit. Just before the written test for the first time my father took my advice to create a Performa to be filled by all candidates. This form was created by me to investigate the domicile status of the people who never lived in Sind. During this process we found hundreds of forged domicile certificates and rejected their applications. At the end of the day all 119 positions were filled by the native citizens of the Sind province. I wish our bureaucrats appoint the people with genuine domiciles and do not cheat the local people by hiring employees with fake documents. The biggest complaint the locals have with the federation is that people with fake domicile certificates not only take their jobs but also rule them by making policies in favor of their interest.  Baluchistan, Frontier and interior Sind have been aggravated with the federation because the right share in all the jobs opportunities is not granted to the local people. This results in frustration among the people and a full-fledged movement is ripe to break the federation if these problems are not addressed soon.

Nusrat Hassan was considered one of the most honest CSP officers but what we saw while being close to him will give the reader an insight account as how the CSP officers operate and still maintain an honest posture for the outside world.

All CSP officers start as Deputy Collector and quickly travel to higher ranks. Most of the lower staff like Mukhtiarkars, Tapidars, etc. are the ones who collect the money from the general public and pass on to the superiors; therefore superficially only the lower staff is considered corrupt. Most of us do not know that the money collected by the lower staff is in substance passed on to the senior staff and cut backs are given to the top level personnel including the Ministers of relevant departments. In this complex game of cunningness, most of the senior staff is portrayed to be very honest while they milk millions without getting the slightest of the common man’s notice. Most of the senior officers choose their subordinates of their confidence and use them as their agent to attract and make illegal deal with the clients who have major problems. By this way they milk easy money. Nusrat Hassan was in this category where at one occasion he received a gift of 200 acres of fertile land and at another, a new Toyota Carolla Car in recognition of his services. On the academic side he was a very weak who could never make a decision in black and white but always gave verbal orders to avoid any consequences. He never liked my father because any time his verbal orders were given; my father would send him a summary and practically forced him to issue orders with his signature. Most of the files sent to him in routine traveled back with notes like “Pl. speak” or “Pl. discuss”. Once I myself saw my father getting at least thirty files with Pl. speak instructions and waiting for him to issue orders. I told my father that was an insult for a high-ranking officer like him to wait for Nusrat and get his blessings on each file. Unfortunately, this was the procedure and my father had to follow it and eventually when Nusrat Hassan found out that he could make more money if some corrupt officer was brought at my father’s position he had my father transferred as Additional Commissioner Hyderabad. Looking back to such happenings, I often wonder the fact that Nusrat Hassan not only remained as one of the most honest officers on roll call of CSPs but also rose to high positions as Chairman Cotton export etc. Most of the CSP officers belong to the underground interest circle with an honor code to support each other and praise everyone showing that they are the most honest breed of the Pakistani bureaucracy. In truth, they have been responsible to promote corrupt culture in the country which has made this country hollow from inside. These officers who are part of the background establishment, with help of army have created conditions to take control of all financial and official institutions. They have become an elite ruling class using all the resources for their personal gain with no national pride and no fear of God that one day they have to answer for depriving the poor people of the resources misused by them.

During my tenure as Assistant Engineer Public Works in PIA, I encountered a boss like Nusrat Hassan who would write the same note “Pl. speak” on half of the files. The same way he would make me wait in his office and would issue verbal orders and sign a few of the files and make me do different unnecessary research work for the other files. Every time he would make me stay in his office for hours to get the projects approved which needed to be finished on a certain schedule. One day I experimented a trick on him and changed the summary with his notes to speak to him and send him the files with the new files. To my amusement he signed several of the files he wanted to speak to me about and wrote the same note on the rest of the files! Since then I stopped going to his office and every time he would send back some file to me, I would change the approval summary and the file would be approved. In about three years time I had to visit his office only once to discus with him about a very important project otherwise he approved each and every file and never noticed that he wanted to talk to me about those files. This was the caliber of the officers who claimed to be very competent and honest but were very hollow inside.

Pir Mazhar-ul-Haque, Dadu

Pir Mazhar-ul-Haque is grandson of Pir Illahi Bux, a close associate of Qaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and first chief Minister of Sind. He is also grandson of Kazi Akbar of Hyderabad on the mother’s side. Mazhar luckily followed his paternal grandfather’s footprints and has been a man of principle and commitment. He has been a dedicated member of the Pakistan People’s Party from the early days of the party and has served as Law Minister and Minster for Housing during the last two governments of the PPP respectively. In my view, he deserves to be the best chief minister Sind if given an opportunity due to his commitment to his constituents and poor people.

Mazhar was childhood friend of my elder brother Late Irshad Ahmed Memon. After the sudden death of my brother, Mazhar could be the only of his friends who filled the gap and always treated me like one of his brothers and loved me like Irshad. Mazhar has several brothers. Muzafar is operating a school after serving in Pakistan Air Force and National College of Engineering at Karachi. Munawar is a Mechanical Engineer; Mukkarum was Chairman of Pakistan Printing Corporation now an entrepreneur. And Moizim, a Custom Officer, is more known as a TV actor who has performed in many drama series.

Mazhar pursued his degree in Law and joined Sind University as Public Relation Officer to the Vice Chancellor, Hassan Ali Abdul Rehman, in 1968. During my third year in engineering, Pir Mazhar asked Ghulam Nabi Morie and me to come and meet the VC but at an early dawn time so that our meeting was kept in secret. In the house of the VC, Hassan Ali Abdul Rehman, we were told that the government had approved to upgrade Sind University Engineering College to a University of Engineering. We were told that Dr. A.Q. Afghan, the Principal Sind University Engineering College, had been working against this cause as he knew that he would not be appointed as VC of the new university. He was certainly being selfish and was working for his own interest. He stood as a barrier in the way of an opportunity our people could have in the form of an engineering university. Hassan Ali Abdul Rehman wanted something to be done to eliminate Dr. Afghan from the scene. I told him that it was practically impossible and we could be in danger if he found out that we were making any move to dislocate him. During the discussion, the Vice Chancellor gave us a lot of ammunition to attack Dr. Afghan but Ghulam Nabi was not ready to make any move which could put our lives in danger. After deep contemplation, I decided to take action without telling anyone. My father was serving as Registrar Co-operative Societies for Sind at headquarter office situated in One Unit Building, Hyderabad. I went to my father’s secretary and took him in confidence and asked him to type up a questionnaire addressed to Dr. Afghan for his activities. He made me 500 copies of the flyer and I distributed them very systematically and carefully by leaving 10 copies of flyer in each rest room of the Sind University. This was done between 2 to 4 a.m. when all the students were asleep. The next day the flyer was in every one’s hand and I left a copy of the flyer in Pir Mazhar’s office without his knowledge. Dr. Afghan could not handle the allegations and Vice Chancellor asked legal experts to hold an enquiry against him to prove authenticity of the allegations. However, on the third day, Dr. Afghan tendered his resignation and within the next month, the government announced appointment of Dr. S.M. Qureshi as Vice Chancellor of the new Mehran Engineering University.  If Pir Mazhar had not brought me on the scene I would never have achieved the result that opened doors of opportunity for so many locals.

During General Zia’s regime, Mazhar was under attack by the army and establishment. So he came to the U.S.A. and stayed with us for a few months. This was the time we drew ever closer and he became part of our family. Though Mazhar had some weaknesses but was very caring and loving person. He prayed very sincerely and was always helping poor people and respected his elders.

During his tenure as Minister Law and Housing, one day when I was with him in his office at Sind Assembly building, Kazi Abid who was brother of Kazi Akbar (Mazhar’s grandfather on the mother’s side) came to see him with his son. Mazhar was very respectful to him and took care of him before doing anything else. Subsequently, he went all the way to the parking lot to see him off. I knew that Kazi Abid was not very fair in his dealing with the family of Mazhar when they were growing up but even then he showed high regards for him which was very impressive. One should always respect elders and guests who visit you since your treatment to them reflects the class of character you have.

He paid high respect to my father. One day when he visited my father at Hyderabad in summer, he asked someone to buy an airconditioner and get it installed in my father’s room. My father became very angry with him. It was after a lot of persuasion that he was friend of Irshad and like his son and that he should accept his gift, he let the unit get installed. During his tenure as Minister of Law and Housing, Mazhar was given 10 positions to fill for his district. Upon my recommendation, he gave one position to my brother Shahid Hussein, who is still serving as Assistant Engineer at Hyderabad Development Authority. Due to this he was harshly questioned from his constituents as to why he let one Dadu seat go to a resident of Shikarpur. Mazhar stood firm on his decision and Shahid is still working in H.D.A.

Upon my visit to Karachi, during his tenure as Minister, Mazhar treated me like a VVIP guest and took me on a tour of whole Sind; I visited so many places and met my old friends. In my whole life, I have never been treated as lavishly as by him during that time. This shows the class of the person that when he was not in power I treated him well and when he got the chance he reciprocated the favor. Now also whenever I visit London, he always extends full hospitality and lets me stay in his room and does not hesitate even if he has to sleep on the floor. Such mannerisms and treatment reflect a person’s family background and training; they impress everyone if observed as loftily as by Mazhar and consequently win a person’s heart for ever. In my view Mazhar has been one of the top class persons I have ever met and the one who practically filled the gap of my late brother Irshad by giving me love and respect. His family and children are also very respectful and always very cordial. He has three sons and two daughters. His two sons have finished Bar at Law and his daughter married to a prominent PPP leader is also serving as Member of Sind Provincial Assembly from Dadu, their native hometown.

Pir Syed Rashid Shah Pir Sahib of Pagaro, Pir Jo Goth

My first meeting with Pir Pagaro happened when I was only 7 years old. Following the government protocol, my father who recently them took charge as Deputy Collector Khairpur Mirs, had to pay visit to Pir Pagaro at his residence located at Pir Jo Goth. My father and I had to pass through seven different channels to reach his drawing room including the one where everyone had to bow down to pass through a low height door. I was too young to form any opinion about him then, but later on I met him two times that revealed to me more about his personality and political wisdom.

Just before 1970 general elections (the only fair election ever held in the history of Pakistan while Yahya Khan was the President), one day I visited Kingri House official residence of Pir Pagaro in Karachi accompanied by Syed Ghous Ali Shah. I still remember that he was sitting behind a large desk about 6-12" higher than the other chairs and sofas. Soon after our arrival a discussion about up coming elections started. The role of the PPP and its leader Bhutto in the politics of Pakistan also came underway. Pir Sahib made the following remarks to Ghous Ali shah: “Shah Sahib if Bhutto wins more than 20 seats, I will shave off my beard.” Unfortunately he did not know the street power of Bhutto who swept the elections in West Pakistan. This showed the political wisdom of one of the top leaders of Sind.

A very interesting thing happened on December 20 1970. The time Bhutto was sworn in as Chief Martial law Administrator and President of Pakistan; I was staying at Syed Ghous Ali Shah’s residence at Khairpur. The servants announced that Pir Sahib was there to meet Shah Sahib. Both of them embraced each other and conveyed sarcastic congratulations and made the following statement: “Shah Sahib now that Bhutto Sahib had become the President, we have nothing left but to hunt teeter” (a bird very favorite to the hunters in Sind due to its delicious meat).

The next day, when all the local newspapers were on the breakfast table, I saw a small news item at the bottom of Daily Ibrat, a Sindhi newspaper: “First ordinance Bhutto issues: ban on teeter hunting.” I immediately showed the news to Ghous Ali Shah and told him that last night there must have been someone in the company who reported Bhutto about the teeter hunting episode and Bhutto made sure to ban it for Pir Sahib.

During Bhutto’s time Syed Ghous Ali Shah put so many efforts to unite Pir Pagaro and Bhutto but due to intervention of Yahya Bukhtiar the reconciliation meeting never materialized. Sind politics could have been at a different juncture if these two leaders would have mended their differences and worked together and done something for the common good of people of Sind. It was very sad that close associates of Bhutto like Yahya Bukhtiar (Attorney General of Pakistan) did not extend their 100 % sincerity and integrity to Bhutto. If Bhutto and Pir Sahib had worked on the same grounds, it could have changed course of democracy in Pakistan. It shows that the Punjab never wanted to see Bhutto too strong to govern the country for long. With Pir Sahib’s support, Bhutto could have survived longer and did not have to face the horrible end. Also this could have brought a lot of prosperity and development to Sind.

By nature, Pir Sahib is an aristocrat who always speaks for the establishment and army and has been a favorite of any non-democratic government due to his strength in his area. Bhutto was the only political leader who broke his political power and a time came that Pir Sahib's followers confronted him and told him that he was only their spiritual leader: their vote belonged to Bhutto. It was very surprising that his candidates lost election miserably. People of high caliber and strong political background like Syed Ghous Ali Shah lost their seats to weak candidates like Syed Qaim Ali Shah mainly because of Bhutto. One day, Ghous Ali Shah confided in me and told me that his biggest regret was that people always rejected him. I know that he was much superior in every aspect to many of the leaders from his area but he was rejected due to his affiliation with Pir Sahib. On the other hand, Ghous Ali Shah acquired most of his high profile positions with Pir Sahib’s recommendations. The political power acquired by Pir Sahib has slowly been diminished; yet any backdoor government uses him and his associates, from time to time, to share the power. Unfortunately, Pir Sahib has done no concrete work for the people of Sind and in particular for his constituents. Person of his status who has enjoyed unlimited power since the creation of Pakistan should have had high achievements listed under his name. But history will remember him as a failure, though as a leader and politician. I wish he could have taken stance for the rights of Sind and got fair share in various fields of life. He could have at least established a few educational institutions to upgrade the standard of living of local people or installed some small industry in the interior part of Sind which could have created jobs for people. Unfortunately, feudals spend most of their time to secure their own positions and are scared to improve the infrastructure of their constituencies. They are afraid that if education and development will occur it will break their power base. However, they are wrong as history only remembers those in golden words who have constructed institutions and have helped the poor people. Bhutto is the best examples as he is still in the hearts of the people for giving them a sense to live a respectable life. Despite being a feudal, he promoted development of infrastructure. He established some educational institutions and built some industrial units that changed the course of the nation and the poor people whom he gave due respect and ego to stand up. People of Pakistan always remember him and his fame will grow for his invaluable services done for the good of his people. People like Pir Sahib, on the other hand, always stood on high grounds looking down upon people as inferior creatures; a time will soon come that such people will completely vanish from the history.

The entire history, stretching as far back as into the times of Homer, reveals that for political leaders it is essential to leave some positive legacy that is the only way to remain in the memories of their people. Sadly and helplessly, I would say: “In the context of Pakistani politics, I do not see many to mention for such a great person.”

My advice to the senior community leaders is to encourage younger people and help each other so that we can rise and carry our community to a higher level.

Qaiser Yusuf & Shama Yusuf, St. Louis Missouri

Qaiser Yusuf is my mother in law’s stepbrother. Born in 1946 in India, Qaiser is the only son of Syed Akhtar Yusuf. He migrated to Pakistan and was raised in Hyderabad. Syed Akhtar Yusuf married several times and had one child from each wife. Qaiser has so many stepsisters: Dr. Jamal Yusuf (my mother in law) lives in Karachi and Rezm Lodi and Anjum Maqbool live in the U.S.A. Qaiser joined Pakistan army and was promoted to the rank of captain but left the army and came to the U.S.A. He is working in computer programming. Qaiser Yusuf was married to a Punjabi girl but she divorced him in 1976. Qaiser Yusuf’s mother was a college professor. She divorced his father after finding out that he was maintaining a bunch of wives. She also left Qaiser who was raised by one of his step mothers. Qaiser always suffered from inferiority complex and felt neglected. His relationship with his father was not very healthy.

Jawaid Maqbool, his brother in law, also sponsored Qaiser to migrate to the U.S.A. in the late 70s. In 1979, when he visited Pakistan, he told my wife that he was involved with a white girl in Phoenix, Arizona who was carrying his child. She wanted to marry Qaiser but he wanted to marry a Pakistani girl. When he went to his father, he was told that the family would not take any responsibility and would not help him to marry. He wanted me and Amber to find him a girl to marry. Amber had a friend who was a distant relative of hers. She was also abandoned by her father who went to England and married an English girl; the girl’s mother left her with her grandmother and married someone else. She was from a scattered family and was looking for some break through. I proposed my wife to try to associate these two and see if they could click. Three days before Qaiser’s departure back to the U.S.A., we invited Shama and took both of them to the Drive in Cinema in Karachi. I briefed them and gave them three hours to discuss the possibilities of marriage while my wife and I watched the movie. In the end, they decided to marry and my wife and I carried the marriage proposal to Shama’s grandmother. She was not ready to accept the proposal until Qaiser’s father would take the responsibility. I told her that I could bring anyone from Chief Minister down to anyone who could take the guarantee but his father would not come. I knew she wanted to settle Shama and after a little persuasion she agreed and we decided to perform their Nikkah the next day. My wife gave her a bridal dress and jewelry to Shama and she was married to Qaiser the next day.

The following day, Qaiser left for the U.S.A. leaving all the responsibility of Shama on us. I got her identity card, passport and did all the paper work to send her to the U.S.A. For the next four months, Amber and I supported her financially and treated her like a family member. Qaiser had promised that all the expenses incurred to send his wife to the U.S.A. would be borne by him. Keeping aside the time spent to settle them, I spend approximately $ 1200 over her necessary arrangement like ticket etc. Surprising was the thing that when we reached Phoenix, Arizona; the couple was well-settled but they never offered any help to us and we stayed in a hotel until I got our apartment and job. Upon my arrival, I gave all the payment receipts to Qaiser and asked for reimbursement of the funds used to send his wife. To my utmost resentment, Shama disputed over so many charges and Qaiser refused to pay the money. How disgraceful it is that we spent so much of our time and resources to take this girl from Gatos to bring her to the U.S.A.; but she plainly lied in front of us and made us look like absolute fools. As I had receipts of each expense laid on her, I took those to Qaiser. I was so furious that I threw in his face a couple of heavy punches and commanded him to bring the money by next morning; otherwise, he would have a harder time. I felt sorry to have used very conventional method of recovery. However, to my amusement, the money was returned the very next day.

This is how ungrateful people return favors but, as I must say, by such actions of the unwise, all the good between people flows down the drain staining confidence. This is one of many incidents of our help to people in which they backfired on us and caused us pain and grief.

It is my biggest regret in life that people whom I have helped have been unfair to me; and instead of reciprocating the favor they have given me financial loss and mental anguish. Qaiser is so selfish a person that he never took care even of his family, particularly, his father and stepmother who raised him. While they lived in poverty he never helped them financially though at the same time living a very lavish life. Upon his father’s death, he came to Houston and paid the funeral expenses which every body appreciated for his acting like a good son. After a few days, he found out that his father had saved money for his funeral; as such, he demanded his money back and took the money instead of leaving it with his mother who is living a poor life. Qaiser is one of those sons who never take care of their family particularly parents. I do not see him successful in any walk of life.

Qurban Panwhar, Hyderabad Sind      

In 1956, when my father was serving as Mukhtiarkar Hyderabad, we lived in Hirabad Mohalla about two miles from our schools. My elder brothers Shabir, Irshad and I were students in Training College Primary school at Tilik Chari, Hyderabad. After school time, we used to wait for our servant to pick us up from Qurban Panwhar’s home. His father and some other relatives knew my father. Qurban was my elder brother’s classmate; his younger brother Roshan was Irsahd’s classmate. Our friendship continued and we have been friends since then. Qurban completed his degree in electrical engineering in 1968 and was serving as lecturer electrical engineering when I entered the engineering college. Roshan also finished his degree in civil engineering and pursued a career as politician and organized the Sind People’s Student Federation, a student orgnization of the Pakistan People’s Party. Later on, he was appointed as Public Relations Officer to Mumtaz Bhutto, who served as Federal Minister of Communications in the first cabinet set up by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Roshan could not rise higher in politics and married an Urdu-speaking girl and was practically forced to leave politics and has been out of touch for the last 20 years.

Qurban Panwhar was both my teacher and mentor. He became more of a friend and helped me greatly in my college days. As most of my brother’s friends were his friends too, his house served as a common meeting place for all the friends to gather periodically. Ashfaque Memon, CSP; Shakoor Memon, District Sessions Judge; Jan Mohammad Samo, Contractor; and many more would gather and socialize at their home. I was like one of his family members. His mother was a very close friend of my mother. She was like a real aunt to me. His sisters always loved me like their younger brother. Qurban’s family was one of the few early time families who pursued higher education. His sisters were teaching at university level when common Sindhi girls were behind the closed doors. In my view, this family, like a few other families, shattered the barriers and led the Sindhi girls to come out and work shoulder to shoulder with men. Qurban’s mother and father gave full opportunity to their kids but were a little disappointed that their children did not reach to the peak.

They faced some tragedies. For instance, one of Qurban’s brothers in law, Mushtaq Baluch, a flight engineer in PIA, died at a young age leaving behind a few children. Qurban came on slant terms with the administration of the university and his services were terminated. His case is still pending in the High Court or Supreme Court without a decision. Last time I met Qurban, I was almost in tears to see him sitting on the footpath and doing nothing. In all our friends, Qurban is the only unlucky person who is living a very sub standard life. He was in love with a girl and could not marry her, reasons unknown to me. This in part contributed to his downfall. Qurban was very close to Dr. A.Q. Afghan, principal of Sind University Engineering College Jamshoro. But after his departure and making of Mehran Engineering University, Qurban could not carry himself. Rumors have been that Qurban and Roshan had some involvement in the case missing of a Hindu lecturer, Ashook Kumar, an excellent teacher in the electrical engineering department. Unconfirmed news stated that Ashook was an Indian agent who was either killed in an encounter with the agencies or ran away to India. Many think that his killing happened because of Roshan and Qurban but nothing is confirmed. I hope this is not true but looking to the Qurban's failures, I always wondered if he had anything to do with Ashook’s killing. I firmly believe that God does not excuse men who take life of their innocent fellow men. God always punishes them in this world. I wish I could talk to Qurban to get this matter cleared but some times people live in denial and never accept the truth that keeps haunting them. It is very difficult for them to accept the truth and confess the crime they have committed.

In my view, Qurban has been the biggest waste of our nation as he could have been a very successful administrator and could have done a lot for the Sindhis.

Rakib Manzoor Memon

Rakib (Rocky) my first and only son was born on January 22, 1979 at 11:59 p.m. just a minute away from the next day. Interestingly, just after we checked in the hospital, I received a call from my office about a fire in the DC-10 PIA Hanger at Karachi Airport. Because I was in-charge of electrical systems of PIA Hanger areas, I had to leave my wife in labor pains to attend the duty. I worked until 11:30 p.m. and returned to the hospital right after Rocky came to this world. My sister in law brought him out of the delivery room and filled my lap with the most precious gift of God. Rocky was a very healthy baby and being the first boy in the second generation of the family was loved and cared by everyone.

After moving to the USA, he went to various schools until we moved to Deer Park. He graduated from Deer Park High School in 1997. However, at the age of 13, he started working at Dairy Queen, my first business venture, and since then he has been managing the store.

Rocky has some special qualities which today only a few people have. He is very honest and is away from the worldly glamour. He has never asked me for anything. Although sometimes he carries only a few dollars in his wallet, but he never asks for money or any material comfort. Unfortunately he is a  man  with serious mood, and cannot make new friends. However, he is all the same: honest and always generous for the poor. Anytime he sees a homeless individual, he wants to give a dollar to help them.

Unfortunately, during his high school days some bullies made his life miserable which left bad scars on his heart and mind.  This discouraged him to go to college. However, he has been busy in managing the family business and is very well contented. Rocky’s special gift is his computer skills; he is an encyclopedia of music and movies. Evaluating Rocky makes me admit the fact that God Almighty is so perfect; He bestows people with a variety of characteristics necessary for a balanced society. One should always try to look for strong areas in different people and try to work with their drawbacks and make use of their God given gift.

Luckily, he has married a girl from a modest family who had become an orphan in her early days: the two of them clicked. I pray for their happy life together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Sana Manzoor Memon

Sana, my only daughter, was born on September 13, 1980 in Karachi. My family had taken a trip in May, 1980 to explore the possibilities to migrate to the USA. As soon as Sana was born, we started to sell all of our assets and moved to the USA in October, 1980, when she was just 40 days old.

Unfortunately, my wife Amber got sick as we came to the USA. Therefore I took the responsibility to nurture both the kids and learned to be both a mom and a dad. Since then I have dedicated my life to my children and worked hard to provide all the luxuries of life to them that my parents could not provide me. I thank God to engrave in me the potential to be financially independent and to provide all the luxuries to my kids; Sana made the most of my resources by going for higher education.

During one of her school days, she came and told me that she wanted to join choir, an extracurricular activity. I somehow discouraged her that choir was a Christian thing and she would have a hard time to excel and get a prominent place owing to her Muslim heritage. At the end of the school year, my wife told me to accompany her in a school event. In the school auditorium I was astounded to see Sana leading the choir which brought me to tears and I regretted my earlier advice to her.

Since then I have always encouraged her to go after her dreams and she has always been an honor student. She graduated magna cum laude from Deer Park High School in 1998.  She also graduated magna cum laude with University Honors and Honors in Biology from the University of Houston Honors College. She has been awarded with many distinctions, awards, and scholarships.

Side by side her distinguished academic record, she has inherited a political instinct and has been serving at different student union positions since her high school years. She served as the first Muslim Pakistani student to get elected as President of the Honors Student Governing Board at The Honors College, University of Houston. She has been serving as Vice President of her class at the University of Houston College of Pharmacy since her second year. We are always proud of her multifarious talents and her time management to balance her studies and extracurricular activities. She has been in the news since her kindergarten.

Besides, she has been blessed with a gift similar to her mother: to screen people and read faces. My wife Amber always consults to her in her cases and amazingly her analyses have been very accurate. The only thing she needs to do is to meditate and sharpen her skills in this area. This can be very helpful in her professional life.

Sana has taught me a life-long lesson to not restrain one’s children to take part in activities of their choice; however, it is essential to monitor children’s activities and keep an eye on their progress to ensure their success in every endeavor.

Sana possesses the same qualities as my son does: honesty and generosity. She always helps the homeless and supports a number of young children of our store employees and encourages them to go for higher education.

During the disastrous hurricane Allison, Sana was attending a medical school program at UTMB Medical Center in Galveston, Texas. The day after the storm I called Mayor Lee Brown to offer my services. He told me that one of the major county hospitals, Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) Hospital, had a severe shortage of man power due to flooding in various low income areas. He also told me that his wife Francis Brown was already on her way to help the hurricane-struck; he also asked me to see what I could do to support the community. I called Sana and asked her for help. She vowed to meet us at the LBJ Hospital in the shortest possible time. To my surprise, Sana had arrived at the hospital with eight students from the summer program. With her leadership qualities and my efforts, we ran the hospital for about a day until things got better and the hospital staff took charge. I never forgot the comment made by Francis Brown.  She asked me, “Manny, have you ever managed a hospital before?” “No”, I replied, because I knew only how to manage people and business. I was proud of my family including my wife and son who worked tirelessly to help the sick and needy on the day of the natural disaster.

The only drawback in Sana I see is that she is too loving and judges people from her personal viewpoint. However, she has never given us a chance to complain and has kept our chins up and I pray that she be the source of our happiness in the future.

Sana has devoted most of her time to be a high achiever and seldom enjoys life. We always preach to her to be friendlier with people and to be joyful. Sana is a perfectionist which reflects in her everyday life.  I always preach her to be more flexible with people but she has rigid standards of loyalty and expects total loyalty from her friends. In today’s society, total loyalty and honesty are hard to find.

Rafique and Ashfaque Safi, Sukkur

Rafique and Ashfaque Safi are originally from Sukkur. Their father, a Sindhi married again with an Urdu-speaking lady, had these two talented sons. Nisar Munshi, a CPA living in Houston, is their half brother. The Safi brothers were one of the top debaters in Sind and won hundreds of debate competitions in Pakistan. I met both of them in Sind University Engineering College from where both of them earned their engineering degrees. Rafique was hired as a lecturer and Ashfaque joined a company. When I joined PIA, Rafique had joined Karachi Electric Supply Corporation as an engineer and was living at government hostel located at Garden Road Karachi. He was deeply involved in politics and had received the only handwritten copy of the book written by Shaheed Bhutto: If I Am Assassinated. Due to his immaturity, he revealed this secret to a friend of his who was a retired colonel and security in-charge at Karachi Electric Supply Corporation who reported the matter to ISI (Inter Services Intelligence Agency). One night Rafique was quietly picked up by the army and put behind bars where he stayed for almost 10 years till Zia’s regime came to an end. This is a classic example of injustice on part of the army that Rafique was arrested only because he had a copy of Bhutto’s book. This showed the fear of Bhutto to the army personnel; sure enough, the innocent shed of Bhutto’s sacred blood is still haunting over them even now. Rafique lost ten years of his prime youth but was finally rewarded when he joined Karachi Port Trust as General Manager.

Ashfaque worked with various major corporations and visited Houston a few years ago. Upon my visit to Pakistan, he took me for a lavish lunch at Karachi Club and after that time he migrated to Australia. The Safi brothers, though from an intermarriage, learn fluent Sindhi and always fought for the rights of Sind and were a few of the smart people I have, to date, met. Unfortunately due to political set backs they did not flourish and did not rise to the level they deserved.

Rafique Ahmed Memon, Hala  

Rafique Memon is married to my only sister. Rafique was classmate of my elder brother, late Irshad Memon. We used to live together in Metha Ram hostel, opposite D.J. College. As soon as he graduated in electrical engineering from NED College, he proposed to marry my sister through Irshad Bhai. Unfortunately the proposal never reached to the family due to sudden death of Irshad Bhai. Rafique was very hesitant to pursue the issue but finally one day he approached me and I convinced my family that even being from a poor family Rafique carried a strong character and could support his family. By this time, he started working in a private firm and after I finished my degree, I sent his application to the then Prime Minister Bhutto for his appointment at Karachi Shipyard. Luckily he and I both were selected to work together in the same department and worked as design engineers for LALAZAR, a 13500-cargo ship manufactured for National Shipping Corporation. After one year I was offered a job in PIA upon recommendation of Premier Bhutto and Rafique stayed back. In 1979 he got an opportunity to serve in Saudi Arabia and he worked there for more than twenty years. He had two sons: Kashif an engineer working in Saudi Arabia; and Saqib, who met a fatal motorcycle accident and died in front of his parents – a second tragedy hit our family.

Rafique is a very intelligent, honest, and down to earth person though he talks very sarcastically to an extent of hurting others’ feelings. After returning from Saudi Arabia, he is now teaching religion at different institutes and living a retired life in Karachi. If given an opportunity, Rafique could have proved to be a top class talent but never got a chance to show his caliber.

Rashid Yusuf CPA, Houston, Texas

Rashid and I met for a short while in 1968 when we both attended D.J. College. After one year I was sent back to Shikarpur and he continued his education and graduated in engineering and migrated to the U.S.A. I met with Rashid in Houston in 1986 through a common friend and we have been friends since then. Rashid stays on top of the list of the best people I have ever met in my life. He is not only a friend but has been my CPA and financial planner and given me invaluable pieces of advice form time to time. Rashid’s high quality, besides being a topnotch CPA, is that he is always content with what he has and never showed any human greed I have noticed in almost every person I have ever met. With so many qualifications, Rashid was working on a very modest salary, working as financial controller with Steward and Stevenson Company in the mid 80s when I persuaded him to leave the job and work for himself. He took my advice and started a computer sales business at one of my locations and eventually moved close to his house while continuing his CPA practice. Due to his utmost honesty and dedication, he is not a very successful businessman but lives a decent life. After knowing him for 20 years I see him always happy, helpful and honest. I hardly find people like him.

Rasool Bux Palejo Hyderabad, Sind

I knew Rasool Bux Palejo’s name for a long time but met him for the first time a few years ago in St. Louis. He was invited by Dr. Mithal Vakassi to give a lecture on Sophism and the poetry of Shah Abdul Lateef Bhatie. Poetry has never been my favorite subject but the way Rasool Bux Palejo narrated Shah Sahib’s poetry it groomed my vision and forced me to take interest to learn more about sophism and poetry. I was so electrified by Palejo’s academic achievements that I invited him to Houston and had a privilege to be his host for a week. We arranged a lecture by him that was highly admired by the intelligentsia of Houston. His cognitive powers dazzled people and they witnessed the other side of Palejo, known more as an advocate of the Sindhi rights in the political circles.

Palejo and his party have been tirelessly working in the interior Sind to mobilize people to rise for their rights. In my view he has the guts that can change the public opinion about the rights of Sind only if his resources permit him. To me Palejo is the only Sindhi leader who is working for the rights of Sindhi people in a practical way though he has not been very successful in achieving his goals. The Pakistani establishment and agencies have always been after his case but he is still active to accomplish his goal.

After discussions with many people I always wondered why nationalist leaders like Sain G.M. Syed, Ali Ahmed Talpur, Rasool Bux Palejo, and many more could not achieve much in their life to upgrade the standard of living of the Sindhi people. Ali Ahmed Talpur eventually joined a non-democratic government and became Defense Minister. Sain G.M. Syed, though gave a vision to Sindhi people, did not give any practical solutions of their problems. Insiders reveal that G.M. Syed helped the MQM and trained their workers in Sun, his hometown, to fight the establishment. If it is true then he did not have the political vision that the MQM would become a giant political power in Sind and will snatch the remaining rights of the Sindhis. Today the Sindhis, a majority in Sind politics, are being ruled by a minority: the MQM. I think what the Sindhi leadership lacked was: promotion of education among their people; get them involved in industrialization and entrepreneurship to acquire economic power; and then trying to get their rights. Most of the feudalistic political leaders discouraged establishment of educational institutes in their constituencies to keep their power unchallenged. Most of the industrial permits receievd by the Sindhis were sold in black market and the money was used in satisfying their sinister wants. On the other hand non-Sindhis mobilized their financial assets and established them and their families and started controlling the local politics. Then MQM is an exemplary case as they collected enormous money by using illegal means like blackmailing, robberies and forced donations but invested their assets in their party. Unofficial estimates reveal that the MQM is worth six billion dollars with investments in all major cities of the U.S.A. and Europe, and the party operates its programs from its profit receievd from those investments. In my view the MQM is the only political party of Pakistan that has  systematized its operations and has emerged as the biggest political power in Pakistan. I wonder where our leaders who claim to be very poignant and heartfelt were while a regional party amassed and accumulated so much wealth to become the cardinal part of every government. This is the reason that every ordinary member of the MQM claims that no one can form a government in Pakistan without the MQM being their partner. The Sindhi leaders as well as other political parties must assess their actions and follow their footprints.

The only negative thing I heard about Palejo was that at a time he worked with the ISI and received funding from the establishment to satisfy their needs. As this was revealed to me by a top politician I could not help writing it. However, so far his actions have proved to be contrary to what I have been told. I think he needs to address the issue as most of the opposition leaders are exploited by the establishment that they are hungry for money.

I have had some dealings with his son Ayaz Palejo, also an emerging leader to raise the voice for the Sindhi people’s rights. However I found him very shallow in handling people and found him greedy and not a man of his word. Leaders have to rise above common level and show a strong character before leading people. Their dealings with people decide their place in society and if they have been honest and have maintained high degree of integrity, they rise; otherwise, such people always go in the black holes of history.

Rehman Baig, London, England

Rehman Baig was introduced to us by my wife’s aunt Rezm Lodi, wife of late Faheem Lodi, flight Engineer PIA. Rehman had been a very close friend of Faheem since their childhood. In the mid 90s, I took my family for a vacation to London when he was asked to help us. We thought that he would situate us and leave us to visit London but he accompanied us for all four days we stayed in London and treated us in a most amiable way. I was so impressed by his hospitality and since then we have been close friends and visit each other frequently. After meeting and staying with him for a night and two days or so in London, he has been on my regular schedule while visiting Pakistan. Rehman’s hospitality has always been warmer and I have seen only a few people like him who take pride to have a guest in their home.

Rehman comes from a broken family and moved to England at an early age. Rehman married a British woman and had two children. Rasheed his only son works for Scotland Yard as a police Officer and daughter is married but has never met us. After so many years of marriage, Rehman and his English wife broke off and since then Rehman has married three times but has not been lucky in maintaining nuptial bonds.

After death of Faheem Lodi, my wife’s aunt was proposed by so many people to marry her but she was very committed to her four children. Finally after 10-12 years’ struggle she got her three daughters married and her son was independent then she decided to marry. Rehman was interested in marrying her and he kept on visiting the U.S.A. to pursue his wish. During that time Rezm asked a loan of $ 3000 from Rehman. He had already lent her some money in the past which was never paid back; this time Rehman was skeptical to extend credit to her. Rezm convinced my wife Amber to take the guarantee for the payback from Rezm within three months and tricked Rehman to give the money to her. The loan was never paid after six months and Rehman always joked at Amber that money was paid upon her guarantee. One day I wrote a check to him and asked him to take the money but he refused to take my money but asked me to help him in getting the money. As Rezm practically refused to pay back the loan, I suggested Rehman to file a small claim case against her. After so many trial dates finally she appeared before a local Judge, Molly Maness, whose daughter went to school with my daughter and I knew her due to my political affiliations. To my amusement, when she appeared on the witness stand, she claimed that the money was given to her as a gift because Rehman wanted to marry her. I told the judge the true story that I was an eyewitness when this transition occurred for which a receipt with Rezm’s signature was produced before the court. Rezm’s attorney took a new twist and pleaded to the judge to vacate her from the case because she was friends with me. I have known Judge Molly Mannes for the last 20 years and have found her to be a very fair judge. Though she was upset with this pleading but she had to follow the law. By this time Rehman had spend almost $3000 in travel expenses so he made a request to the judge to make sure that justice was done on his current trip. Judge Molly Manes immediately arranged a court date with a new judge in Glena Park and transferred the case for disposal on the next day. Upon my arrival to the new court, I found out that Judge Ditta, who was a regular judge in the prescient (not known to me), had taken a day off and a substitute judge was presiding the court. To my delight this judge was known to me more closely due to my working in Mayor’s office and being active in the Democratic Party. During trial he never showed that he knew me and after looking at the evidence he gave judgement in our favor. Rezm Lodi was also very conceited and ingenious and she filed an appeal and after so many hearings she lost the case in the county court and had to pay restitution. The reason I wanted to narrate this story is to make a point that one must deal with people fairly and if one has taken a guarantee for something it is his or her moral duty to support the victim and not his/her relatives or close friends. In my case I went against my wife’s aunt and made sure the justice was served and victim got his money. Financially, Rehman was a loser though; in this case, he spent more than $ 3000 to get principal of the same amount. But he fought for the right and achieved a moral victory. I feel satisfied that I supported him to get justice. Rezm was a bigger loser. She spent court and attorney fees to avoid paying a genuine loan she took. She always thought that we would support her and not be witness against her but I was proud to be the witness and stood for justice.

Rehman is one of the best people I have met but his weakness about women always puts him below on my list. However, due to his past life and family problems I can see that he has no respect for women; he treats them as toys. This has caused him pain and misery in his personal life. Yet it might be too late to change his habits.

The self-made who suffer from young age trauma always lose faith in life and act slightly abnormal. Lost love is one of the biggest traumas that make humans act very weird. It is my personal experience that I loved some one for twelve years but due to family pressure I could not unite with her but the feeling of loss always remained in my heart. After coming off with her, I met so many women but could not carry the same feeling for them. Luckily, I got married to a wonderful woman who also became my close friend and I always shared my feelings with her about my lost love. It took me several years to get out of that trauma of losing my first love.

Rehman also went through a huge trauma in his early age particularly from his parents. This made him hard in life outwardly but he is a very soft and loving person and a kind hearted soul from within. As a friend I always trust him and I am pretty sure he will do anything for me and I will reciprocate for him too.

Dr. S.M. Qureshi, Vice Chancellor, Mehran University of Engineering

After the resignation of Dr. A.Q. Afghan, Dr. S.M. Qureshi was appointed as Vice Chancellor for the newly established Mehran University of Engineering and Technology. Dr. Qureshi began casting his spell over the management of the university and raised it to a high level for which all of us should be grateful to him. Dr. Qureshi established Sind Science Society to promote science and technology to arrange for the up coming generation to participate in technical know how. Dr. Qureshi and I interacted during my third year of engineering when he organized first Sind Science Fair where many talented students displayed their small inventions and projects in the exhibition. Dr. Qureshi always appreciated talent and always encouraged people like me to work harder and achieve excellence. Dr. Qureshi and I organized few programs in American Cultural Center Hyderabad and he always supported me in publishing monthly technical bulletin, The Engineer, for which I was the editor in chief. Also he was instrumental in raising funds for the annual college magazine which was issued after a three-year gap which was also edited by me. Dr. Qureshi was not only a good teacher but also a high-class administrator. The proof is that he took the new university to a high level of excellence to match its educational standard compatible to other higher educational institutions of the country. He subsequently moved to Islamabad where he served as Federal Secretary Science and Technology and held other many high profile positions. Dr. S.M. Qureshi has been one of the top educationists of our country and I salute him for his services for his nation.

Whenever I visit Dr. Qureshi, he always treats me like his own son and recently when I was staying at Qasir-e-Naz, a government circuit house, I met him and was so delighted to see him still serving the country.

On the personal side, Dr. S.M. Qureshi suffered a lot due to his son’s illness who developed some liver disease for which he struggled for years to get some successful treatment. He spent most of his life savings to save life of his son. I always wished that the government would have helped him in getting some treatment for his son. It is so sad that people like him who have touched so many lives and have dedicated their entire life to educate our new generation, do not get any appreciation and financial incentive for their hard work. This is the reason most of the new generation shy away from noble profession of teaching and try to solicit lucrative jobs.

          After my father, Professor Abdul Jabbar Gupchani, and Ustad Kisharam, Dr. S.M. Qureshi takes the place as a person who lifted my life to a higher level for which I will always remain grateful to him

Syed Sajjad Ali Shah, Retired Chief Justice Supreme Court Pakistan

After retirement as Chief Justice Supreme Court of Pakistan, Sajjad Ali Shah was sent to the U.S.A. to get in touch with the Pakistanis there and bring some feed back. I was invited to meet Sajjad Ali Shah. It was about six years ago when he visited Houston. As soon as I was introduced to him we clicked for he knew my father and many other relatives. He never met my father for the reason that they both worked at opposite stations; however, he did know about his honest and daring attitude while serving the government.

The day I met with Sajjad Ali Shah, the Pakistani community had organized a public meeting to get feed back from the local public. During the question and answer session, I sent him the following question: “You claim that Pakistani judiciary is impartial but still any time army generals have held back democratic institutions, the Supreme Court has always rubberstamped the decision. It never helped the democratic institutions to flourish. Why is it so? 

His answer was very honest and true: “If you are in your house getting robbed by ten gunmen and they ask you to hand over your safe keys to them, would you like to take a bullet or give the keys?”

Indirectly he called the army dictators robbers who steal the democratic ethos from us by force of their gun power.

On my next visit to Pakistan, when I called Sajjad Ali Shah, he invited me at his house with a few friends including Farooqi, DIG Police, and Moula Bux Bhatti. We had a five-hour lunch–discussion about sophism and other religious school of thoughts. I saw a different side of Sajjad Ali Shah that a very few might have seen. After reading his autobiography “Law Courts in a Glass House,” I found a lot of common grounds between his life and that of my father’s who also carried a daring posture all through his career.

When mentioned this to one of the top politicians who knew both Sajjad Ali Shah and my father, he disagreed with me and told me that my father had a unique quality that made him superior to Sajjad Ali Shah. According to him Sajjad Ali Shah was not as brave as he claims to be and made political decisions and did not care for the people who supported him.

During Benazir Bhutto’s first tenure as Prime Minister of Pakistan, she invited all the politicians on a roundtable conference. The day before the conference, I was guest of Syed Ghous Ali Shah, former Chief Minister Sind. Sajjad Ali Shah phoned him at least four times to talk to him if opposition leaders should participate in the roundtable conference. I found it very inappropriate for the Chief Justice of Supreme Court to interfere in political process as to whether they should attend or boycott the roundtable conference. During his visit to Houston, when I asked him what role he played in that conference, he even denied ever talking to Ghous Ali Shah on this subject. I think he did not know that I was sitting next to Ghous Ali Shah when his phone calls were announced and he was interfering in the political process that he should have avoided to honor the court he was representing.

On the personal level, I have met him several times and he has been an excellent host. He attended my son’s wedding though he was indisposed. Unfortunately, judges and bureaucrats have to indulge themselves in politics to safeguard their positions and some time in life they consequently compromise for their integrity. Sajjad Ali Shah became the victim of this phenomenon and faced humiliation during Nawaz Sharif’s tenure as Prime Minister of Pakistan. His family also had to suffer a lot due to negative tactics adopted by our politicians.

Sajjad Ali Shah, if weighed as a judge, would score very high due to his honesty and character; however, due to his indulgence in politics he lost some of his creditability. This eventually ended with appointment of an incompetent and inferior judge, Justice Irshad Ahmad to replace him that was a vile blow to the judiciary of Pakistan. Unfortunately, my opinion about Pakistan judiciary has always been low since people have never receievd justice from the honorable courts. Their decisions have been biased and controlled by the establishment. Hanging of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was one of the worst and damaging decisions carried out by the Pakistani judiciary and his blood can never be wiped off the High court Lahore and Supreme Court which upheld a wrong decision made against all international laws.

Saeed Sheikh, Houston, Texas

Saeed Sheikh got aquatinted with me after I was nominated as President Elect for Pakistan Chamber of Commerce-USA (PCC-USA). Then he served as General Secretary of the orgnization.

Saeed Sheikh is one of the few people I have met who served as the General Secretary of our orgnization very efficiently despite with very little education and computer knowledge. His record keeping and knowledge of the rules, parliamentary procedures and regulations were all excellent. Saeed Sheikh would have been very prosperous had he pursued higher education. Saeed, besides being a good entrepreneur, is a cunning and skillful politician by keeping consanguinity with every group and is well recognized by all parties in Pakistani community of Houston. One of the major reasons of Saeed’s success is his smart and ambitious wife who knows the art of making friends. Saeed and his wife are superb hosts and invite friends of common thought process exclusively. They maintain relationship with almost everyone in town. Politicians should learn a few tricks from Saeed as how to carry themselves in a polluted atmosphere of our communities with so many factions based on ethnicity, language and religious beliefs. Saeed’s one quality which I have seen in only one other person (Mian Nazir, former General Secretary Pakistani American Association of Greater Houston) is that he takes charge of the situation and extends his full support at any special occasion. Most recently someone asked me as to why Saeed Sheikh was honored by Counsel General of Pakistan Mr. G.R. Baluch? My response was: “Saeed goes an extra mile to help people. He serves them when there is no one else for them. This is mostly the time when we shy away fearing to get our hands dirty.” Throughout my tenure as President of PCC-USA, I found Saeed to be very helpful and respectful to others when he served as my General Secretary. Besides raising ample funds for community projects, he participated in almost every initiative even though his financial conditions did not permit him to invest personally. Saeed is a very determined individual. He carries more load than his capability.  This usually puts him at odds with many; but at last he stands successful and tactfully manipulates situations to his own advantage. Like everyone of us he is also very media–conscious. Due to his round-the-clock activities with each group he gets extended media coverage which makes many of his friends very jealous. He gets all the attention without feeding any media people. This is based on his work and is unlike a few of our community members who buy the media attention by encouraging envelope culture. Once again if Saeed had been more educated, he could have been at a higher level politically and financially.

During the end of my tenure as President Pakistan Chamber of Commerce Saeed played some cunning and negative role to get elected as President of chamber from back door. This is typical of Urdu Speaking people to use unfair tactics to grab the power for which I have written a lot in this book. His Character reminds me of Justice Irshad as portrayed by Justice Sajjid Ali Shah who got appointed as Chief Justice of Pakistan through back door.

Sajjad Ahmed Siddiqui, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

I met Sajjad Siddiqui, son of Jamal Siddiqui from Sukkur Sind, through Badur Sheikh (From New York), in 1987 in an annual convention of Sindhi Association of North America (SANA). Sajjad had just finished his MBA and was looking for some sponsor to work with and get the green card. Sajjad is nephew of late Abdul Kadir Siddiqui, married to my cousin sister. Therefore I immediately offered him a job as well as a sponsorship and moved him to Pasadena, Texas to work for me.

In 1989, he received his green card married the daughter of Kadir’s sister. I loaned him $ 5000 to take care of the wedding arrangements and he came to Pasadena with his wife. After marriage, his expenses started rising and he started steeling from the company where he was in-charge of the finances. He started using third party credit cards and pocketing the cash. Subsequently, he was caught. Once FBI contacted me to investigate about some illegal activity going on in my travel agency where third party credit cards were being used for airline tickets. Once I questioned, him he had no answer. A total audit was performed and it was revealed that he had embezzled some $ 30,000 or so in merely a year’s time.

Unfortunately, the audit report came on the night of Eid day. I fired him before waiting for Eid. His family was very dazzled by my action but I had to show him the way out. He did not acknowledge my softness for him as I saved him from getting arrested by FBI as well as paid the money to the credit card companies and saved him. My biggest regret was caused by his uncle Kadir, very close friend of mine too: he claimed to be honest…so he should have had the guts to stand up for the truth.

In my whole life Sajjad Siddiqui has done to me my biggest financial and family damage. While working for me and playing as my friend he took the greatest advantage to get the green card from my company. He not only brought to me major financial loss but also tried to break my marriage by iniquitous schemes.

When my brother Aamir migrated to the U.S.A., I bought him a used car through a newspaper ad by a lady. On the day of purchase, she came to see me in my office and after the transition my brother and I gave her lift to her home. Sajjad on the other hand called my wife and told her that my brother and I had taken a girl on a date. He poured so much suspicion into my wife’s ears that one night when I was late in coming home she called Sajjad if he knew where I was. Sajjad immediately came to the house and misguided her that I must be with that girl and pursued her to catch me in action by visiting that girl’s home. When they reached her home I was not there but the girl got suspicious and called the police who followed my wife ending at our home. They inquired what she was doing outside the lady’s home.

This is a miserable example of an ill-natured person. Sajjad, whom I extended so many favors, was trying his best to break my family. If I was doing something wrong then Sajjad’s actions have some weight: I was innocent. Then why was he fabricating things against me to break my family?

Similarly, a relative of my wife came to work for me and wanted me to sponsor him for H-1 visa. As per the H-1 Visa proviso, he had to work for my company for a minimum of 2 years’ time. As soon as he got his H-1 Visa, he left the job and by the rules I reported the matter to the immigration authorities to cancel his visa. The letter written to the authorities was kept in the outgoing company mail, which was not only intercepted by Sajjad, but he took the original letter and handed over to my relative. To my amusement his green card was approved and I always wondered why the immigration authorities never took any action. After a few years, in a family argument, the original copy of the letter was produced before me to prove me as a bad guy who was trying to get an innocent man deported. My relatives were very thankful to Sajjad Siddiqui for favoring him to intercept the letter. On one side it must be the God’s will to get him green card but on the other side I wondered why a traitor helped a cheat?

Sajjad was very smart in that he was doing all these negative things to cover his evil deeds but was eventually caught up using fraudulent credit cards and his services were eventually terminated. However, he was still a winner as he stole money from me; moreover, his other illegal activities did not come to my notice at that time that could have forced me to turn him to FBI for fraud. He acquired legal residency in the U.S.A. and this led his aunt to get him married to her daughter, a doctor. Consequently, Sajjad is enjoying a carefree life without holding any respectable job. I am still waiting for the poetic justice to happen. I firmly believe that God evens score with the people in this world for the bad deeds they have committed.

During my tenure as advisor to Houston Mayor, I was asked by Dr. Nazir Mugual, Former Vice Chancellor Sind University, to request Mayor to honor a few of the guests to attend the Sindhi Association of North America Convention held in Houston. Mayor was out of station so he instructed me to attend on his behalf and present three awards to different people. Two days earlier, I received a call from Dr. Mugual informing that the Executive Board of SANA wanted to keep two more awards – one was for Sajjad Siddiqui who was serving as an executive of SANA. I refused to give an honor to a thief and mischievous person like Sajjad and refused to attend their convention. However, I invited the honorees at the Mayor’s Proclamation Room and gave them the honors with full media coverage and they were surprised to see the next week’s newspapers which covered our activities rather than covering SANA convention.

Again in my life Sajjad has been the most mischievous person who executed so much financial loss to me and made my family go through so much tension and torture for which I must put him at the top of the worst people I have ever met in my life.

Professor Shabir Ahmed Memon, Jamshoro, Sind

Shabir, my eldest brother, is about 5 years older than I am. Being the first son born in the family, he was the baby of the family and very close to both of my parents. Shabir is a very mild, down-to-earth, and calm person. In contrast, I was a very hyper, vocal and practical person. Shabir did not do well in his intermediate examinations; thus he could not get admission in a professional college. He pursued B.Sc. at D.J. College and then qualified for another B.Sc. degree in industrial technology from Nawabshah Polytechnic School. His first job was with Fakir Textile Mill in Hyderabad and later on he joined a Sugar Mill in Nawabshah as a Chemist. This was the time his luck took a nice twist. One night Dur Mohammed Usto, Minister for Education then, called my father saying that he wanted to see him. As my father had done a big favor to Dur Mohammed Usto (see details in article about Dur Mohammed Usto) he wanted to visit my father who was serving as Registrar Co-operative Societies, Sind. My father told Usto that it was against protocol for a minister to come to an officer. Therefore we went to see him in his office. He had a petty issue that my father took care of right away. This gave me an immediate thought to help Shabir. As my father never took favors from anyone, without discussing with my father I asked Dur Mohammad Usto if he could help my brother Shabir to get a job. Usto called the Director Technical Education and asked him if there was any position available matching Shabir’s qualifications. It was amazing to experience that there was only one position of instructor available at Hyderabad Polytechnic College requiring qualifications similar to those possessed by Shabir. Usto asked me to go to his Private Secretary to type up an application and issued the orders and I got the final orders issued next morning and sent a telegram to Shabir to return home with his baggage. Once in Hyderabad Polytechnic College, Shabir got admission in Mehran Engineering University with two years credit and finished his degree in electrical engineering and secured third position in the university. Immediately after that he was offered a job as a lecturer in electrical engineering department. After a few years he was sent for higher education and completed his Masters in electrical engineering from Manchester England. As per his commitment with the college he returned and continued his faculty position and has been working there since then. This is a classical example that he was honest and kept his word and returned to serve the university, which gave him an opportunity for higher education. Most of the lecturers who were awarded scholarships for higher education never returned to their parent educational institutions and cheated the system. But Shabir kept his word and proved that he was honest and dedicated. Shabir has a beautiful handwriting and he writes scripts for all the degrees of his university.

Shabir is very humble and respected his elders to an extent that he gave his whole life upon the wish of my parents. In my view Shabir observed big sacrifices to make our parents happy and was always content with what he got out of life. I have never heard him complaining to anyone. He is peacefully living a very modest life in Jamshoro. I was always at odds with him as he never rose for his rights. Also, there were matters that caused him load of anguish and he blames me for all that. Though I always tried to fix things for him but due to his innocent nature he was forced to do things against his will which I always felt myself responsible for. Many other factors also made him stand distant from me. After the death of Irshad Bhai, he never took the leading role as an elder brother. Subsequently, I took the leading role at home, which bothered him too. In outside circles everyone thought I was the eldest son of Karamullah Memon as I kept links alive with outside world since Shabir never tried to make an effort. During his education in England, his scholarship was suspended due to certain reason. However, I visited the then Vice Chancellor Mehran University, Dr. S.M. Qureshi. He was very close to me and kindly released the funds so that Shabir could finish his masters. I always preach people to extend relationships to different people since at times it is people who come to your rescue. Shabir never believed in keeping any relationships and always suffered and stayed behind. After the blessings of God Almighty, I can always say: there have been so many heroes in my life; they helped me and supported me to move ahead. I have always been grateful to them. To return their favor, I help anyone in need. I always pray to God and thank Him to always have endowed me with giving hands rather than those of receiving. I have strong faith that the more you let go of your belongings, the more God is going to return to you. Coward people who are unhelpful and jealous of others never reach the higher grounds in their career and life.

My greatest regret with Shabir is that he never acknowledged my service to him for straightening his life. I always loved him and respected him as my elder but he always shied away from his responsibilities to take the lead to solve family problems. I am lucky, and surely thankful to God to have chosen me to get all my brothers and sister settled through my efforts. I am always proud of my accomplishments. As they say charity begins from home I built the house for my parents where they lived a decent life after my father’s retirement. I got my elder sister married; she is now living a happy life. Shabir’s break through of becoming a professor came through me. My younger brother Dr. Muzafar got admission in dental school through my efforts and I financed his dental clinic that is still under his occupation after 25 years. Besides financial support to the younger brothers, I made available a job to Shahid through my friend Pir Mazhar-ul-Haque. Shahid is still serving in HDA as an Engineer. Aamir, the youngest, came to, and finally got settled in the U.S.A. Presently working as financial controller in a Vocational Institute, I am the man behind the curtain. I offered an opportunity to all my brothers and to migrate to the U.S.A. This is another thing that only the youngest one availed the chance. My only regret has been that all the efforts I made for my parents, brothers and sister have never been truly appreciated and I always wondered if the proverb “Neeke kar darya me dal” is very true or it is my feelings.

Dr. Shabnam Lutafali, University of Houston

Dr. Shabnam and I came in touch during my tenure as Advisor to Mayor while she served as President of the Ismaili Council in Houston, Texas. She took this position after the high-profile Sada Cumber completed his tenure as the head of this organization. During her time I got close to many Ismaili Muslims and learnt so much about their contributions. This small group, though many of them come from Pakistan, has some exceptional qualities which many of the Pakistanis lack. Their organization, discipline, time management, mutual respect and generosity always made me wonder why not most of us follow their norms. The best part of their organization was to give due respect to public officials and give full protocol to the VIPs. It has been pleasurable for me to attend their events, which were managed, on very high standards, punctuality and competence.

          During Prince Karim Agha Khan’s three-day visit to Houston in 2001, I was assigned to provide protocol for him on behalf of the City of Houston. I found Prince Karim Agha Khan as very humble and loving person. This gives me the feeling that leaders can spread the germs of goodness to their followers if they observe the same rules themselves. The generosity of this clan of the Muslims is praise-worthy as they have established so many world class institutions to serve common people. Several Sunni Muslim scholars do not accept Ismaili Muslims as true Muslims. This is due to their beliefs but no one can ignore the fact that they are doing much more charity work than many Sunni leaders who are more of sloganeers than devotees of their energies to uplift the lives of poor people. This group is serving the people in its true essence and because of their work Agha Khan is treated as a world leader. Many of the critics label him as right wing conspirator who is sponsored by many European Christian countries to create a splitting within the Muslims to weaken the Muslim unity. However, the work done by him and his section of Muslims is so commendable that I hardly see any truth in these allegations as I found these people carrying a high standard of ethics, honesty and respect for others which many of us have forgotten.

Shafi Zakaria, Houston, Texas

Hashmat Wali, whose wife is a childhood friend of my wife’s aunt, introduced me to Shafi Zakaria. During the early 90s when I was building a chevron gas station at Pasadena, I hired Hashmat to design my store. At the same time Hashmat and I started playing tennis at Houston City Club where he introduced me to Shafi Zakaria. At times we played doubles and enjoyed a good group where late Dr. Daulat Shah and Ali Baghani and three of us played tennis regularly.

Shafi Zakaria is one of the few rich people whom I found to be highly down-to-earth. His brothers and sons and he himself are very humble and thorough gentlemen. They are very generous and very much involved in community and charity work. Shafi Bhai’s modesty can be visualized from an incident.

One day I visited his office. He wanted me to see his new car that he had just bought. Keeping his financial status I thought he must have bought a Mercedes Benz S500. But surprisingly I saw a new Toyota Camay. It is not that Shafi Bhai could not afford an expensive car. The thing is he was content to buy a simple car as it also well served his purpose.

In Houston a number of people have started buying massive houses and expensive cars: they want to show off that they come from respectable families though they are burdened with large mortgage payments. A great many people coming from small families think that purchasing expensive articles showcases them as from high-class family roots. In my opinion, one’s class can only be judged from their activities and dealings with people and the charity and community service one does rather than these worldly things. I have no hesitation to say that I learnt modesty from this family. I always used to preach him to ask one of his sons to join political arena but he always stayed behind. However, just before Lee Brown’s mayoral election when I asked him for a campaign donation he gladly wrote me a check for $ 500. Later on one day when I invited him to meet with Mayor Brown he gave me a check for $ 5000. When I showed that check to Ghulam Bombaywala he made a comment that he had been trying to bring the Zakaria family to the political arena for so many years but they did not care. Bombaywala was very impressed by my efforts for being finally successful in bringing the Zakaria family on to the political ground. His son Shukat Zakaria worked very hard and served the community for which he was appointed by Mayor Bill White to serve as member Planning Commission, a very powerful and influential board.

I always feel good for encouraging young people to come forward and join the political arena and lead our people when we are getting old and burnt out from doing community service which brings a lot of stress and financial losses. In my view Shafi Zakaria and his family really took my advice and followed the direction and achieved a very good name in the political circles. I am pretty sure Shukat will long serve this community.

I advise the senior community leaders to encourage younger people and help each other so that we can rise and carry our community to a higher level. On the other hand I would recommend the younger generation to respect the old guard and don’t forget the people who gave you opportunity to take the limelight.  Serve the people and you will flourish. Don’t be scared of the losing your position as long as you are doing common good of the community.

Shawn Siddiqui, Houston, Texas                      

In the mid 90s when I was building a Chevron station designed by Hashmat Wali, a well-experienced architect, I was introduced to Shawn Siddiqui. As I had acquired an SBA loan, I had to call for at least three bids to construct the store and select a general contractor to get the store built. Hashmat Wali convinced me to award the job to Shawn’s company: UBA Contractors.

As the work commenced, Shawn requested me if I could act like his Superintendent to control the job to save him daily trips from Houston to Pasadena. As I was an engineer with extensive experience in construction I thought it was a good proposition that I will control the quality of the job as well as I was offered $ 2000 per month as salary to handle the job.

Upon completion of the job, Shawn started complaining that he could not make any money from the contract and started manipulations to make extra money. As Hashmat was a common friend, I decided to designated him as an “Ameen” (Mediator in Islamic language) and asked him to make the final determination as how much to be paid to Shawn to close the chapter. On the day of decision, Hashmat made me pay approximately $ 36000 more than Shawn’s bid amount and made me waive my 6 months salary as promised by him which amounted to be $ 12000.00. Considering Hashmat an ethical and noble person I wrote the check and closed the matter. However, after a few weeks, I happened to know that Hashmat was a partner in Shawn’s company and Hashmat set me up from the beginning.

His invitation to start playing tennis, diverting the job to Shawn’s company and making me overpay approximately $ 50,000; was all done with a predetermined scheme and with a sophisticated plan. Hashmat has been a family friend for so many years. His wife was a childhood friend of my wife’s aunt therefore I trusted him. In principle, he should not have accepted to be a mediator if he was a party to the company. I always wonder why people of such status with strong financial background would trade their faith for a few dollars. For the last so many years I have been waiting for Hashmat to come forward and admit his mistake and apologize to me; but I have not seen this thing happening as yet. Looking back to Hashmat’s dealings again, I wonder if honesty is the policy or not. If I had been greedy, I would not have agreed to pay extra money above the fixed contract price which was accepted by Shawn. Interesting to note, that since then I have found so many owners of projects in which Shawn played the same role. I have also numerous legal suits filed against Shawn for the same reason of overcharging and defrauding people. This has been one of the dark experiences of my life where a person whom I trusted under the name of God deceived me.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, U.S. Congress, District 18,Houston,

My first meeting with Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee occurred during election campaign of Mayor Lee Brown about 10 years ago when Lutfi Hassan, a political activist and very close to her, invited me to attend a fundraiser. With time and my position at the Mayor’s office I worked very close to her and her congressional staff. In so many years our relationship grew closer and we became more of friends and trusted allies to each other.

Sheila is one of the very few congresspersons who work very hard and intelligently and have achieved a very high ranking in the Democratic Party. She was a very close associate of President Clinton and has been very vocal for the rights of minorities throughout her tenure. Sheila has been a regular guest at our community events and has always supported our cause; similarly, our community has always supported her financially as well as during elections.

Besides working for the minorities, Sheila holds a Christmas toy drive for underprivileged children every year. She collects thousands of toys and distributes them among children from different underprivileged families. Just after 9/11 she asked me if I could help her in raising some funds or get some toys donated from our community. I sent an e-mail to all my contacts and was surprised to see that I got at least two thousand toys from our community. Dr. Barkat Charania donated me some space to store the toys and my family and a few volunteers stuffed 300 large bags with toys and delivered a full U-haul truckload of gifts to her during her annual event. We inserted a card with the following message: “Donated by Muslim Community of Houston”. The purpose was to educate people receiving the gifts that Muslims are part of the American system. I always preach to people that if you are living in America you need to be part of the mainstream and participate in the local activities by being the practical example of the maxim: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Every year, ever since, we have donated a lot of funds and toys to this cause. We have been always working with Congresswoman to support her initiatives.

After the massive earthquake calamity in Pakistan, Sheila wanted to take an initiative upon my recommendation to submit a bill in the US Congress to bring a planeload of orphans from devastated parts of Pakistan and ask the local Muslims to adopt those poor children. However, due to our dirty internal politics and a few uneducated leaders, she did drop this initiative. The only reason was opposition by some so-called leaders mainly because I was the originator of the proposal and they did not want me to have the credit for this initiative. It is so rueful and regretful that our people oppose issues of national importance for the sake of personal vindication and this way hurt the community cause. Think about bringing 450-500 orphans. It is most likely that they are now starving in orphanages lying at odds. These little stars could have had a decent life in the U.S.A.

Sheila Jackson Lee has been actively involved in US-PAK Congressional caucus in Washington and has been Vice Chair of the caucus and very pro Pakistan to help to achieve its goals in relation to the US government.

Sheila has been one of the most energetic elected officials I have ever seen. She tries her best to attend all the community events and sometimes she works until midnight. Her special qualities include meeting with everyone and letting them take her memories with them by autographs or pictures. Accompanying her I feel that she should be left alone but she never gets tired and completes her visit formality from inside to out or outside to inside by meeting as many people as she can by making new friends every time. Her popularity in her district is always more than 90 %. This makes the new candidate very intimidated even to file nomination to fight election against her. I always tell her that government always wastes its resources to hold an election in her constituency because no one ever gets more than 10% votes against her.

Sheila is a very aggressive worker and combative boss and it is practically impossible to coupe with her speed to do the things. Her major problem has been that due to her belligerent and demanding nature, she cannot keep her congressional staff. Therefore a big staff turnover in her office is somewhat more common to notice. My only suggestion to her has been to hire committed staff and give them assignments in order to delegate some of the responsibilities to her staff. Most of the management failures occur when bosses try to do everything themselves and do not give out work to the lower staff.

Sheila’s husband, Dr. Elwin Lee, Vice Chancellor University of Houston Student Affairs; is also a very helpful person to our community and has helped so many of our students for which our community has always been grateful. Mr. and Mrs. Lee have been a blessing for our community since both of them have always supported our community. They have always given us a chance to be part of the mainstream politics. I can foresee Sheila reaching the cabinet level so long as Hillary Clinton is elected President of the U.S.A. in 2008 elections.

Shukat Ali Memon, Executive Engineer WAPDA, Shikarpur

Shukat is son of my father’s cousin, Ghulam Mustafa Memon, now a retired Mukhtiarkar. A very intelligent and smart person, Shukat finished his degree in Electrical Engineering from NED College and joined WAPDA and is presently serving there for the past 25 years. Shukat has been my childhood friend and a very loving person to me. As Shukat’s father was very well off, Shukat used to get a lot of pocket money. He always shared his pocket money with his friends and always took care of all people around him. His habit of giving and taking care of people has been so deeply rooted in him that even today if someone visits him, he shows utmost respect and his hospitality cannot be matched by anyone. Similarly, his wife and children are also are very friendly and loving and always treated me with great care and affection.

If I evaluate all my cousins and close relatives, Shukat can be considered the best as he is a very balanced person who keeps relationship with everyone and has treated every one nicely.

A few years ago he suffered a big setback when one of his two daughters passed away during a car accident: this was a heartbreaking situation for them. Their daughter wrote a poem for her mother. The poem is so affectionately put that it makes me cry anytime I read it. Her love for her mother and family is so evident from this poem. I always wonder why God decides to take away the loving and kind at an early day as he took my loving brother Irshad or my nephew Saqib. Both of them died at a youthful age of early 20s when they had not even fully blossomed. I pray to God that their souls be at peace and give us patience as we all have to meet our God one of these days.

In the loving memory of Roshna who has gone on before---and is waiting

My Mother   (By Roshana Memon 1988-2000)

My mother is very nice

Like a musical dice

She is frightened at night

And can’t argue and fight.

She is a simple lady

And loves me and my daddy

She is the heart of our family

Who suffers every sadness happily

God bless my mother

For years she has looked

After me and my brother.

Shukat Soomro Shikarpur, Commissioner Income Tax

In 1965, when I was about 14 years old, I was student of art and drawing for which there was evening classes conducted by a highly trained teacher. During the second year of this course, the school management appointed a new drawing teacher, Mr. Shukat Soomro. As this was a special field, and many of us, including me, were already at the advance level of the subject proficiency; Shukat Soomro could not satisfactorily address our questioning and started getting aggravated with us. One day when I asked him a complex question, instead of accepting his incompetence he used abusive language with me and I got very furious with him and beat him up. He was almost 25 years and I was only fourteen but I overpowered him and he was injured during the fight. The next day I was brought before Ustad Kisha Ram, Head Master of Qazi Habibullah High School Shikarpur. Though he was a close friend to the family, he followed the rules and expelled me from the school. This was the standard of honesty and integrity that with all our political and governmental influence no one could save me from the punishment though it was the fault of the teacher who used abusive language with me. I had to spend the rest of my academic year in Khairpur Mirs where I stayed with Syed Ghous Ali Shah and his family to complete my schooling. After one year my father, many of his friends, and I went to see Shukat Soomro and personally apologized for my actions and I was readmitted in the school with a punishment and apology tendered in front of all the students and teachers during morning assembly. Shukat Soomro resigned from his job soon and joined Income Tax department and in about 35 years he eventually reached a high level being the Commissioner Income Tax. My father always used to tease him that generally a teacher’s thrashing straightens the students but in his case a student’s whipping became so effectual that his career flourished so high. If this incident had not happened he might have remained a teacher even until the end of his career.

It has been my wish to meet all the people with whom I have been unfair or they have been anyhow hurt by my actions. Every time I visit Pakistan, I choose people and try to find them and ask for their forgiveness. Shukat was one of those people that I had not been able to come into contact with for a long time. Last year when I was returning from my hometown Shikarpur and waiting at the Sukkur Airport Passenger lounge, I saw someone sitting beside me. I asked him who he was. To my amusement, it was Shuakt Soomro, a completely transformed person who acted like an aristocrat. When I introduced myself to him, he hugged me and I apologized to him and asked for his forgiveness. It was not a good thing to note that a scar, caused by me in the verbal row then, was still very much visible on his forehead.  This must be reminding him of me throughout his life. My only regrets with his attitude was that teachers who have shallow knowledge should be more humble and try to learn more about the subject they are trying to teach. They say: “Any dumb person can ask a question that cannot be answered even by the wisest.” Teachers have to improve their universe of discourse and help the bright students learn more so that those kids can compete in this competitive world of challenges. Shukat was wrong in that he tried to use abusive language to cloud his inadequacy and incompetence which in turn changed his life too. During that brief meeting with him, at least I had freed myself from the guilt of disgracing him by asking him for his forgiveness. I hope he has accepted my apology.

Dr. Sirfraz Memon, Washington DC

Dr. Sirfraz Memon is my cousin through various family links but is more of a childhood friend. His father, Mohammad Bux Memon, was Deputy Director Food, Sind Government who was a very low profile, soft-spoken person.

Sirfraz attended Chandka Medical College Larkana and migrated to the U.S.A. and is presently serving as researcher in health field.

Sirfraz has been serving his people under the umbrella of Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) and has achieved many goals for this organization.

The best quality of Sirfraz has been that he stood behind me during a series of false attacks based on fictitious events created by one of my relatives to tarnish my image in the family and community. Ali Nawaz and Sirfraz both supported me and saved my respect for which I always shall remain thankful.

Suleman Kalhoro Karachi(Retd Director General Science & Tech)

In my tenure as Advisor to Houston Mayor for South Asian Affairs, I received a call from an old acquaintance who wanted to introduce me to someone visiting from Pakistan. It was Suleman Kalhoro, who wanted to see me because he was educated in the only Commerce College of Sind established by my uncles, Abdul Fatah and Nizamuddin Memon in Larkana Sind. I was so delighted to meet him and was so amazed to see that a small educational institute established by my family has produced so many high level financial and commercial officials, businessmen and entrepreneurs. According to Suleman, most of the Sindhi officials in financial institutions have been educated in this institution.

During his stay, I invited Suleman to various community events and requested the Mayor to award him an Honorary Citizenship of Houston. Suleman was so overwhelmed by this gesture that once he went to Pakistan, he got that certificate and the pictures of the ceremony printed in all major newspapers.

Upon my visit to Pakistan, he reciprocated with the same hospitality and was in my attendance every day all the time I was in Karachi. He introduced me to so many new friends including Zafar Junejo, SSP; Dr. Mushtaque Mehar, SSP; Justice Issani; and many more high level officials and entertained me very well.

He is a typical example of Sindhi hospitality and would cross all borders to serve people with any kind of service asked. Though I did not use his services to the extent but it looked to me that several of his friends use him to gain his services beyond the scope of friendship. This could be the reason that Suleman has a vast circle of contacts in every government offices and he can be very useful to get things done at a highly expedited rate. From my viewpoint, a person of his caliber and contacts should divert his energies to do some positive and concrete work to help the poor people of his area.

Dr. Suleman Sheikh, Sind Graduate Association Karachi

Dr. Suleman Sheikh and I got aquatinted in 1968 when his cousin Altaf Sheikh, a known sailor; my brother’s Shabir and Irshad lived at Mehta Ram Hostel opposite D.J. Science College, Karachi. Although Suleman and many of our friends did not live in this hostel, they did come to eat in the mess that provided high class food at very nominal prices. Suleman‘s contributions have been enormous for the people of Sind. His vision to form Sind Graduate Association has played a pivotal role in the field of education as well as political arena for the rights of the people of Sind. Also, his work to organize ZABIST, which was established in the name of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, has also produced very positive results for the local people.

Suleman is a very mature, intelligent and cultured person and has always been goal-oriented and has done a great deal of work in his life for the betterment of other people for which he should be appreciated. As I have been associated with him for a very short time, I may not write about many of his contributions. But I am sure he is one of the few people who have worked tirelessly for the cause of his people and made a big difference for which I salute him.

Syed Abdullah Shah , Former Chief Minister, Sind

Abdullah Shah, by profession an attorney, comes from the Syed family of Dadu, Sind. He joined Pakistan People’s Party at an early time and rose to the level of Chief Minister. During 1970s when the PPP acquired power at national and provincial level, Abdullah Shah was appointed as Minister for Agriculture and Co-operative Societies. At the same time my father was working as Registrar Co-operative Societies Sind. This department controlled all the housing co-operative societies and co-operative banks that granted loans to various people to open small business institutions. However, due to the heavy wave of corruption, these loans were mainly given as political bribes and the beneficiaries never paid back these loans. One of the task of this department was to recover those loans but most of the officials received cut backs and kept on extending payoff deadlines to help the perpetrators. Abdullah Shah, being young and very energetic, wanted to help his friends in the party and wanted my father to issue orders for several out of the way decisions. Soon afterwards, he realized that he was smashing his head against a concrete wall and my father would send every verbal order to him in a form of a summary to confirm his orders which really aggravated him. He therefore sent a summary to the then Chief Minster Mumtaz Bhutto that my father was anti People’s Party and its programs and that his services should be terminated. Mumtaz Bhutto made a historical decision on that summary and instead of firing my father he took away the portfolio of co-operative societies and gave it to Qaim Ali Shah. He also put in black and white on the summary that if we fired honest and dedicated people like Karamullah Memon then this government was going to get a negative exposure in the public therefore it was in the interest of the people the portfolio be given to Qaim Ali Shah. This was a classical example of upholding the law and Mumtaz Bhutto made the right and honest decision to fire his cabinet minister instead of dismissing an honest officer. Since then Abdullah shah was always at odds with my father but despite all his political power, he could never harm any of us.

In the mid 90s, Abdullah Shah was serving as a speaker of Sind Assembly when he met me during a SANA Convention at Washington DC. That time the PPP made a high level change and appointed Aftab Shahbaz Mirani in place of Syed Qaim Ali Shah as Chief Minister Sind. While riding in elevator with Abdullah Shah, accompanied by Ashfaque Memon, CSP; I asked him: “Shah Sahib, Do you think the PPP does not have any competent people since you changed one chief minister with another?” Knowing both Syed Qaim Ali Shah and Aftab Mirani, both very soft spoken and nice people but very weak administrators, it was clear that none of them were suitable for such high profile positions. He laughed and said: “You remind me of Karamullah Memon who was also so blunt in his observations.” I further added to my conversation without hesitation: “Shah Sahib, I think you could be a better Chief Minister at this time.” Ashfaque, on the other hand, said: “Manzoor, by the time Shah Sahib is back to Pakistan, he might be out of his job.” Interestingly, by the time Abdullah Shah returned home, his government was dissolved and he was hiding from the anti-corruption and many other government agencies. I was so impressed by Ashfaque’s assessment that the PPP government was at verge of collapse. The next time when the PPP came in power again, Abdullah Shah was appointed as Chief Minister Sind. I was very right in my assessment that he proved to be a very good administrator. After Mumtaz Bhutto, he was the only Chief Minister who had the guts to carry his job at a highest level of competence and in a defiant way. Unfortunately, due to some mistakes committed by him during his tenure as Chief Minister, he has been hiding from the authorities and is living a secluded life. This is again a good example that being such a competent administrator if he had chosen to be  honest in his dealings he might have been living a peaceful life without hiding from anyone.

Major (Retired) Syed Akhtar Yusuf, Karachi

Syed Akhtar Yusuf, maternal grandfather of my wife Amber, was born in Lukhnoew India and migrated to Pakistan in 1947 and settled in Hyderabad Sind. In his early time in Pakistan, he served as General Manager for His Highness Mir of Khairpur Mirs, and later on moved to Karachi where he served as General Manager Pakistan Shipping Corporation. During the fall of Dacca he boarded the last plane from Bangladesh and forfeited most of his assets and has lived a very unpretentious life since then.  Akhtar Yusuf’s family is very well established. His nephew and son in law, Syed Ahad Yusuf, was elected Mayor of Hyderabad and served as Health Minister during Zia’s regime. His other nephew, Ali Yusuf, was a builder in Karachi who constructed several projects for various Arab princes from Middle Eastern countries. Sardar Ahmed, Provincial Minister in the MQM Sind Government, and former Chief Secretary Sind; is also his nephew.

Syed Akhtar was recruited in the Indian Army as a second lieutenant and rose to the level of major and retired before coming to Pakistan. He faced a trauma during his first marriage when he was showed a six feet tall, fair complexion, and golden-haired girl. However, to his utmost surprise, he found out that the bride he brought home with him was her sister: a four feet tall girl with a very unimpressive complexion. This trauma created a kind of ailment in him causing him to marry every woman he could get hand on. I was so amazed from his guts while he kept four wives in one home and under one roof. The count of his wives is still a puzzle and even his children do not know the real number. The best thing he did was not to have more than one child from each wife which made this family so unique that when they were together no one could say that they were step brothers and sisters. 

All through his life, he remained a man of principle and who was also very generous. As he was the elder of the family and financially very sound, most of his relatives looked at him for help and used him. His house used to be a guesthouse for everyone. He was very gracious and hospitable to everyone. He threw lavish and extravagant parties at his home. He was very stylish and traveled in luxurious cars equipped by uniformed servants. This is how he showed off more than his financial strength. Eventually, after his financial fall he lived a very hermetic and secluded life and lived with one of his daughter Rezm Lodi who became widow at her early age. In the mid 80s, most of his family members and he migrated to the U.S.A. Here he became my partner in my first business venture: Dairy Queen. He was my 1/3 partner in the restaurant Dairy Queen. However, due to ill advice from his daughetr he sold his share to me and moved with his daughter and lost everything. About a year later, he and his daughter moved back to Deer Park and she worked as Manager at my store. One day when I came back home I was informed that Rezm Lodi had kicked her parents out of her house and when my wife reached there, her grandparents were sitting outside waiting for some help. Amber immediately loaded their stuff and settled them in a two-bedroom apartment and worked tirelessly to get them SSI and government housing and made them self sufficient with the government programs so that they did not have to ask for any one’s help. On the other hand, his daughter lost her job and kept struggling at odd jobs. This way one day she was again forced to come back to her parents to find shelter. This was a poetic justice that a daughter made her parents homeless. It was they who did everything for her throughout her life and one day she was again put by God at their mercy. When asked for support, they, being the parents, the image of God on earth, could not refuse. I wish our children were raised to take care of their elders to return the favor that their parents do for the upbringing of them. Here in the U.S.A., we are slowly moving away from our original cultural bonds and treating our parents just like the Americans, who dump their parents in nursing homes at the mercy of rude and elderly medical workers. Here they constantly get abused and mistreated. At the end they leave this world wondering what wrong they did to deserve this treatment from their children.

As a Muslim I request everyone to please take care of your parents, little brothers and sisters. Remember, God is going to reward you for your good deeds. In my view my prosperity in every walk of life has been mainly because of prayers of my parents and I have never left any stone unturned to support my parents and family members for which God almighty has always blessed and rewarded me.

Syed Akhtar Yusuf is one of the characters of this contemporary world of selfishness. Even though he worked so hard to upgrade his family, served his relatives, in time of need he was mistreated by his own son and daughters. His only son Qaiser Yusuf was always at odds with him and never supported him. When Syed Akhtar Yusuf passed away, his son paid for his funeral expenses but later on when he found out that his father had left the money for his own funeral he forced his stepmother to return him the money instead of supporting his stepmother. I pray our social structure not decay and rot so much that our children act like this and give pain and miseries to parents who always endeavor and strive to give them better things in life. Syed Akhtar Yusuf’s life was like a soap opera and he left so many secrets untold and never gave disclosure to so many mysteries he left behind. Most of his wives eventually left him and he was left with his youngest wife who took care of him till the end. His wife deserves an exemplary and exquisite position in the history of this family. She supported her husband irrespective of his infidelities and women sharing. She stood behind her man and served him till the end in happy and sad times.

Syed Ghous Ali Shah Khairpur Mirs, Former Chief Minister Sind

In 1959-60, when my father was serving as Deputy Collector Khairpur Mirs, one day upon leaving his office he noticed three well-dressed people in black coats but handcuffed by the police. It was a Friday afternoon and the police had arrested them at this very hour to be remanded in the police custody for the weekend until they could arrange for bail. Sensing some foul play, my father refused to sign the remand papers and returned to the office and convened the court to hear the bail request of these three people. These three were Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Syed Ghous Ali Shah, and Ghulam Kadir Soomro, who became District Session Judge later. This case was a fictitious one ordered by the then people in power to harass them. But my father not knowing these three men gave them immediate justice and issued the bail upon their personal cognition and let them go loose. Due to this gesture of goodwill, all these three people remained friends of my father and respected him always.

In Khairpur Mirs, many people think that Syed Ghous Ali Shah and Syed Qaim Ali Shah were either brothers or cousins but they had no relationship except they were friends at an early day of their lives. During the formative days of the Pakistan People’s Party, Qaim Ali Shah joined the party and Ghous Ali Shah remained loyal to Pir Sahib of Pagaro and was active in the Pakistan Muslim League.

Ghous Ali Shah is a distinguished and competent attorney. He prepared his cases so much professional endeavor that it was often very strenuous for any judge to deny judgement in his favor. On the other side, Qaim Ali Shah was a nice and good-natured person but a mediocre in his legal practice. I still remember that one day both of them appeared before my father and due to some legal weight, my father gave judgement in favor of Qaim Ali Shah’s client. For the sake of cracking a joke, my father said before the court: “This is a lucky day that Qaim Ali Shah has won his first case ever before me and he asked his court clerk to bring some sweets and distribute among all those present here.” Contrary to Qaim Ali Shah, Ghous Ali Shah was always up to the mark in his practice therefore he was appointed directly as a Judge of High Court.

While I had an episode in school in Shikarpur, and was forced to attend school in Khairpur Mirs, I stayed with Ghous Ali Shah for about one year at his home with his three sons. During this time, I learnt so much from him. His time management was very impressive and was particularly educational for me. He would rise early at 6 a.m. and study his cases until 8 a.m., and took shower and breakfast sequentially. He was in the court at 9 a.m. He would return at 1 p.m. and take lunch and take a nap till 4 p.m. From 4 to 6 p.m., he would be assigned to meet with clients and prepare for the cases for the next day. Three hours of his day, from 6 to 9 p.m., were dedicated to socializing and politics. From 9 to 11 p.m., he would study his cases and go to bed by the midnight. On Saturdays and Sundays, he would visit his village Kali Mori where he would take care of his family and land matters. His three sons, properly educated being given full attention, lived with him. This way he observed a balanced life.

Syed Ghous Ali Shah had three sons from his first wife: Shabir Shah, who is a practicing attorney handling his estate at home; Dr. Ali Haider, who is a medical practitioner; and late Ameer Haider, who committed suicide a few years ago. Ameer Haider, being the youngest, was a little spoiled and was very aggressive during his childhood days. He caused a lot of pain for his father particularly during Shah Sahib’s high profile assignments.

Ameer Haider was used by some greedy businessmen who made him put pressure on the bureaucrats to have some decisions made without Shah Sahib’s knowledge. This created so many problems for him. One day while visiting my cousin’s husband Abdul Kadir Siddiqui, then working as Secretary Law Sind Government, I met Secretary to Chief Minister: Ali Mohammad Sheikh, on the day he relinquished charge of this high profile position. Ali Mohammed was once a subordinate officer to my father and knew me. Upon his arrival he told us: “Today is my luckiest day that I am leaving the chief minister house.” Later on he briefed us that Ameer Haider was pushed by some avaricious people and forced Ali Mohammed Sheikh to issue orders without the knowledge of Shah Sahib. According to him, he preferred to leave such a prestigious position and work on a low profile position due to Ameer Haider. In politics, people push children of high profile politicians and bureaucrats to get their agenda realized promising some gains in return which eventually creates suffering for the parents. In my life I was offered so many propositions to help people for some return but I always shared with them with my father and never fell for the vicious schemes.

Just after his tenure as Chief Minister Sind, I met with Ghous Ali Shah and told him that the common opinion about his was that he was milking a lot of money. During our lunch meeting which stretched from 1.30 p.m. to 6 p.m., he told me so many stories but one very important to mention here.

General Zia, the then President of Pakistan, also had the same perception that Ghous Ali Shah was making illegal money so he conveyed his message through a common friend (Most probably Pir Sahib Pagaro) to keep a low profile over making money. The very next day, Ghous Ali Shah flew to Islamabad and submitted his resignation to Zia who advised him not to be hasty and wait to see him until the next week when he planned to attend a conference at Karachi. The next week all agencies were asked to submit reports of assets accumulated by Ghous Ali Shah particularly from the time he took over office as Chief Minister of Sind. Upon his arrival, Gen. Zia, during Zuhar prayers, asked Ghous Ali Shah to lead the prayers instead of leading the prayer as he used to do all the time. He repeated the same thing at all three prayers and asked Ghous Ali Shah to be the Imam. Before retiring for the day, Zia apologized to him and asked him to stay in office because all the reports stated that he never made any illegal money and receievd any illegal gratification. After telling me the story, he asked me to accompany him in his rental house in Defense Housing Society and to my amusement I found the same office furniture which he owned 20 years ago at Khairpur. He was very honest about his son that some criminal people had put him on the wrong track. I suggested him sending his son to the U.S.A. so that we could streamline him.

Ghous Ali Shah might be one of the few politicians who never used his position to take any illegal benefit and stood a man of honesty and integrity. I was so sad to see him living in a one-bedroom apartment in London when he was forced to live in self-exile. Upon my enquiry, I found out that this apartment was given to him by one of his old friends, as he could never afford the rent of this small place. I found out that he had no automobile so he took public transportation. If he had made money like many other politicians, he could have owned a mansion like Altaf Hussein or many other national politicians but he remained a man of high moral character, virtue and righteousness.

 Knowing Ghous Ali Shah, it was a tragedy that he was Chief Minster at the wrong timing that Nawaz Sharif took an immature and infantile decision to try to dismiss the most powerful person in the system, Chief of Army Staff and suffered so many years in jail. Ghous Ali Shah was so much popular and well liked by the agencies and establishment that he was one of the three people invited to conduct oath of President of Pakistan. How miserable that he was put behind the bars. It is perhaps because he was from Sind; whereas a Punjabi brother was skimmed out of the country without any torture. This is again another good example of the common practice that politicians from smaller provinces are treated indifferently as compared to the politicians of the Punjab who control the agencies, Armed forces and establishment. One of the prime reasons of Ghous Ali Shah’s suffering was that he tried to get out of the establishment circle and disassociated from Pir Pagaro who has been favorite of agencies even to this very day.

Ghous Ali Shah lost his wife several years ago and married again. He has a son from his second marriage. Three of them live a very modest life in London and I was so happy to experience that his second wife has become the best companion for him and has fully supported her husband at the crucial hour of his life. Ghous Ali Shah never used the British system and never applied for any government assistance and has been living off by his own funds waiting for the day when he could go back and serve his people.

During my visit to London, he invited me for dinner and uttered some golden words: “Manzoor, after every dark night, the sun shines and we all are waiting for the sunrise”. I remember a long time ago I asked him: “Shah Sahib, what are your biggest regrets in politics?” He replied: “Manzoor, my biggest regret is that people have always rejected us.” The main reason has been that Pakistan People’s Party has so much depth in Sind Province that no one can win an election without illegal rigging. Though Shah Sahib won some elections during Zia’s regime, he still feels that people rejected him despite his being smart, honest and a man of integrity as compared to so many local politicians. His other regret has been that his sons never flourished and failed to take his political dynasty to the next generation like his political rival Syed Qaim Ali Shah. One good thing I noticed was that after so much rivalry, recently when the PPP and the ML Nawaz group signed Charter of Democracy to restore democracy in Pakistan, two old friends, Ghous Ali Shah and Qaim Ali Shah, were also reunited and opened new doors of good will.

Ghous Ali Shah is my mentor and any time I visited Pakistan I used to find him and go and met with him even if he was serving at high profile position or if was out of power. He always said to me: “Manzoor, you are one of the few people who find me every time and remained in touch with me but have never asked me for any favor.” I always tell him that my prayer to God has been to bestow me with a giving hand rather than being on the receiver end. I further told him that I visited him to learn ways of wisdom rather than material interests.

Ghous Ali Shah was very close to my father as both of them believed in the same ideology of honesty and integrity. When my father was appointed as the additional commissioner Khairpur Division, the government bungalow was being renovated and father had to stay with Ghous Ali Shah in the room that is still named after my father. After living so many months with Shah Sahib, no one pointed finger of objection to either one of them. Though Ghous Ali Shah used to appear before my father’s court every day, he never took any undue advantage from him.

The biggest political blunder Ghous Ali Shah ever committed that damaged his position in Sind was to support agencies to create the MQM to undermine the most powerful Islamic party Jamit-i-Islami. Shah Sahib did not preconceive that the MQM would become so mighty a militant party that it would take over absolute political power over almost entire Pakistan. I think he was trapped in the agencies assessment that creation of the MQM would divide the political power of Mohajirs but it resulted more in unification of the Mohajirs and has created a major threat to the agencies ever since. I consider this to be a biggest disfavor Shah Sahib did to people of Sind though inadvertently that was consequently to create major problems for the local Sindhi people.

Most of our politicians spend great share of their time to consolidate their power base but forget to create some educational or industrial institutions during their political power. Shah Sahib did not pay much attention in this regard and if ever he should achieve some powerful position again, he must leave some legacy for the future generations to remember him.

Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah, Former Vice Chancellor Sind University

Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah can be called one of the top educationists Sind has ever produced. He was not only an excellent teacher and educationist but also a very powerful administrator. His tenure as Vice Chancellor Sind University could be called a golden time for this institution. He could be the only Vice Chancellor who stood firm and used his power to run the university on his terms without outside influence.

My personal interaction started with him when I was hosting a weekly television program telecasted from KTV. After his first appearance in my program I started visiting him and later on found out that he was very close to my in-laws who lived a block away from his residence in Karachi. Subsequently, he was a regular guest in my program and we shared a lot of thoughts. He was one of the few early time educationists who believed in letting women pursue higher education.

Ghulam Mustafa Shah can be called a warrior and a fearless hero on another front as well. It was when he broke off the Syed tradition by letting a Syed girl get married to a non-Syed person. And this new trend started from his own home. Since then so many intermarriages between the Syeds and non-Syeds have consummated. This is a very healthy sign of true Islamic vision in the orthodox and authoritative culture of Sind.

Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah’s contributions in the field of education rate him as one of the top reformers who left a legacy behind by promoting higher education to achieve success in this global culture. His literary contributions include Sind Quarterly published and edited by him which could be called the best periodical issued in Sindhi at all times.

          Syed Mohibullah Shah, CSP                                

I met with Mohibullah Shah in the early 60s when he was Deputy Collector (Under Training) at Jacobabad when my father was serving as Additional District Magistrate. My only interaction with Mohibullah Shah occurred when we met at a government rest house at Khandkot where I was accompanied by my father. During the social hour, Mohibullah Shah was bragging and boasting about the American culture and American history. He did not stop trying to impress everyone with his fluent English and world knowledge. I was rather annoyed with his lecture and told him: “Shah Sahib, you were born in Sind. You have to serve in Sind so let us talk about our own issues and history rather than American history. What do you think we should do to solve the problems of our people?” He came to calmness because his lecturing was interrupted by my blunt remarks. I am pretty sure he did not like a thirteen-year-old boy telling him what to do. As I was very near to my father, I kept myself informed about bureaucracy and its trends. Mohibullah Shah, being from a privileged CSP class, rose through ranks faster than my father and was federal secretary while my father still served in grade 19. However I did not hear any positive achievements which can be attributed to Mohibullah Shah. Although most of our Sindhi bureaucrats achieve their position by virtue of their domiciles in rural areas, they forget their hometowns and join the establishment and become part of the elite: they never serve their people. It is right that I never heard any negativity about Mohibullah Shah; it is right that I neither heard any substantial goal he has achieved during his career. Most of the CSPs consider themselves a privileged class and keep themselves away from the common man and live a life in seclusion just to satisfy their ego to hold various top positions but do not serve the interests of the people. Selfish politicians and army dictators take full advantage of their mindset and use them to rule this poor country through such bureaucrats and agencies. In my view, Mohibullah Shah is part of the culture of those people who used the resources of this country and become god over their own people. Mohibullah Shah is a very good writer and I read a few of his editorials written for Dawn, Karachi but I expect him to serve his people rather than army masters.

Mohibullah Shah’s brother, Shuja Shah, a Collector Customs, was about to marry Benazir Bhutto when he did one of the most stupid mistakes by asking the government to give him permission to marry her. This was the time when Zia was in full control and he ordered him not to marry her and by virtue of this, he lost a chance to marry a world-renowned leader. This could have dramatically changed the demography of their family.

These brothers are the typical Syeds for whom people of Sind have always complained that the major cause of suffering has been caused by the Syeds, Pirs and Mirs of Sind who have always worked to make their own ends meet and have never done anything positive for the common man. There is some truth in this notion that most of the top positions are enjoyed by this class and the middle class and hard working people never get a chance to step ahead in nay field.

Syed Shameem Ahmed , Houston Texas

In the early 90s when I opened a Chevron station with a Dry Cleaning Pick up station, I was looking for opportunities to give my dry cleaning business to some company with its own plant. Looking as such, I met Syed Shameem Ahmed, who was owner of a chain of Dry Cleaning outlets. However, it was not very convenient for both of us to do business due to long distance between his plant and my location. None the less, this meeting turned into a very strong and intimate companionship that has continued since then. Shameem and my bonding occurred because of tennis as we both were looking for a regular partner for each of us. Shameem was an experienced tennis player and once I started playing with him, he outsmarted me in his game and it became a practical formidable task to win a point from him. As the time went by my loss of 0-6 started improving and may be after three four years of vigorous practice I attained enough quality of game to come close to his score. One day after so many years when I won a set from him it was like an Eid day for me and I jokingly told him that I would have to distribute sweets on this occasion of winning a set from him. Shameem and I continued our tennis for at least fourteen years till he was elected as Treasurer of Islamic Society of Greater Houston ISGH and devoted his entire time to serve the Muslim Uma of Houston.

Shameem, after his early education, worked in private sector and due to his hard work and intelligence rose at a very high position in his early career. Shameem served as Chief Executive Officer for ESSO and once he moved to the U.S.A., he served at a top executive position with Exxon U.S.A. when he retired. Shameem has held very high positions in Pakistan and has the touch of that bureaucracy and with his too much modesty and simplicity it always feels that he has served at a high level.

In my circle of friends, relatives and acquaintances Shameem has been on the top for punctuality, promptness and time management. After playing tennis for 14 years, three times a week, I never found him late even for a minute. In some cases if he was to be late by a few minutes, he would inform me. I have seldom seen such quality in any human being. This made me over-cautious whenever with Shameem and I always tried my best to be in time in any case and anywhere. Shameem always reminded me of my father who was also very honest, a man of integrity and very punctual.

Shameem has a very loving family: two sons and a daughter and their family is considered almost perfect in the community. The best thing in their family, which I witnessed, was respect for him being the eldest in the family and his younger brothers always looked upon him for guidance. My Wife and I always felt kind of envious from their family because I could never achieve a level of respect from my relatives though I helped everyone.

Shameem might be very modern and rejuvenate during his early days of career; but since I saw him, he had metamorphosed into a perfect Muslim who prayed five times so punctually that during tennis game he would stop for prayers and render his religious duty before continuing the game. His passion for religion grew more and after over 65 years of age he spent two years in Dubai and studied Islamic studies at Jubail Islamic University. I always used to tell him that his knowledge is very vast and he does not need to go to a strange culture to get higher Islamic education but he kept on insisting to learn more so that he can spread word of Islam. Luckily he got elected as Treasurer of ISGH and has been serving the people of faith besides controlling finances of the Islamic Center, which consists of about 56 mosques and so many schools. Shameem has dedicated his all time to serve the people and spread word of God and I have yet to see anybody doing this without personal agenda or financial gain.

Shameem always taught me ways of wisdom during tennis breaks and I could entrust in him for everything in my life and he reciprocated the same way to have confidence in me.

Shameem and his wife are one of the best hosts I have ever met. Before starting tennis if I would visit his house, I would be served with tea with all types of dishes and his wife would always force me to taste her food. She is the only person I have ever seen who would put detailed description of every dish on a display card during a party so that guests would know what ingredients have been used in the recipe.

Shameem is a very down-to-earth and modest person. He is one of those people who though living high class show purity and simplicity. He always speaks his mind and does not try to sugarcoat anything but speak the veracity and truth that a very few people have the audacity and courage to do. In my association with him I have learnt a lot and I always call him my USTAD (Teacher) in many ways particularly tennis as I enjoy the game more after learning a few tricks from him.

Tajdar Adil Producer Karachi Television Station

In about 1974 I was invited to be part of a weekly Sindhi TV program named Naeen Tahie (Means Young Generation). This program was produced by Tajdar Adil and hosted by Anwar Pirzado. Ghulam Rasool Sial who worked for me introduced me to Anwar. After about 50 episodes of this program Anwar wanted to move on and Tajdar Adil offered me to take over as the host of the program. As Tajdar Adil did not know Sindhi language, the burden of full production was on the shoulders of the host. When I took over the program I changed the format of the existing program and made so many experiments. The biggest change I brought was to invite Sindhi women to participate in the program. Sindhi women were very shy and had very bad notions about coming on TV but I took this task and pursued so many talented women to take part in the program and in about 75 episodes at least 50 Sindhi women came before the camera. In the early 70s, KTV was the only TV station and during the six-hour transmission, only half an hour was dedicated to local language Sindhi.

In Sindhi customs interaction of two sexes (other than relatives or man and wife) was considered almost a sin. Parents were greatly scared to let their daughters take part in television shows. Even as men we were not supposed to interact with women and I was always scared of my father lest he would see me with some woman.

During a program’s recording, I had invited five female medical students from Liaqat medical College. Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah was the chief guest of the program and the topic was Women’s role in medical field. During the recording a small fire broke out in the studio and we had to evacuate the station and the recording was rescheduled for the next day. As these girls had traveled from Hyderabad to Karachi I gave them option to either return to Hyderabad or come back next day or they could stay at my apartment at Government Officers Hostel at Garden road. As my family and I knew most of the girls therefore they trusted me and came to stay at my apartment. While I was serving them dinner, my father knocked the door and came in. He was astonished to see so many girls in my room and immediately went out and asked me what was going on. I was very shaky and scared and explained him and he decided to stay at the government guesthouse instead of staying with me. Since then he always teased me that how I handled five girls as he could not handle one woman in his life. My father was very strict but very friendly with us and we could talk to him and discus any issues and crack jokes with him. I believe parents need to be more like friends to their children rather than be the dictator and boss over them. My father always said: “Feed your children with the best available; but when it comes to discipline, never let them go even slightly loose.”

During 1975-76, I conducted about 75 episodes of the TV program and was investing all my time to prepare this program and appear on Radio Pakistan Karachi and conducting three programs a week.

Tajdar Adil and I came very close and he started extracting money from me in a systematic way. At times while I was conducting rehearsal of the program, he came and asked me to lend him some money. The regular lending became more like a habit and the money was never returned. One day when we were getting ready to start recording the program, he came to me and gave me his Canteen bill worth more than Rs 400 and kind of ordered me to pay it. By this time I had figured out that he was making me pay him a cut back in a very indirect way. I took his canteen bill and walked out of TV station and never entered the building ever again. That was the only time the program was not recorded and had a break after so many years. I do not know what excuse Tajdar Adil gave to the then Program Manager, Abdul Karim Baluch. But I never saw his face again. I wish to call him one of these days and tell him that he was not only sinister himself but was trying to corrupt me by giving him bribe to keep hosting the program. I wanted to give the message to him that there are still some honorable and honest people who would not sell their soul to achieve their goals. I had wished that Tajdar would get caught one day but looks like either he has reformed himself or he is too lucky not to be caught in the corrupt society of Pakistan. I wonder after me how many more people he came across and in what other ways drove them to bribe him and be a praetorian.

This episode in my life also makes me wonder “If honesty is the best policy.” If I had been bribable, I could have given him few coins and have used him and the system and continued my job and may rise to top of my TV career. But I decided to leave the floor where I was getting dirty in the stinky sea of corruption and favoritism that has made our nation completely hollow from inside.

Captain Usman Ali Issani CSP, Vice Chancellor Iqra University

Captain Usman Ali Issani was my father’s boss when he served as Deputy Commissioner Khairpur Mirs and my father served as Additional Deputy Commissioner in 1965. Knowing so many CSP officers, I can very easily rank Issani as the best bureaucrat I have ever met or heard of, at least within the province of Sind.

Issani comes from a very modest family and rose to high ranks at an expedited manner due to many factors. Mainly because he was a CSP officer, very honest, intelligent and hard working man who had compassion for the poor people; moreover, he was a retired army officer and married a Punjabi girl: a contributing factor for his rapid rise. But what I witnessed personally in Issani, I have not seen, all through my experience, in so many officials.

While Deputy Commissioner Khairpur Mirs, Issani would hold open Kuchahray (Open House) and ask all his subordinates, including Additional Deputy Commissioner, Deputy Collectors, Mukhtiarkars, and other lower staff to sit in a row next to him. In such proceedings, he would issue orders and copies of the decisions would be typed on the spot and signed by him and handed over to the people. This system that eliminated the chance of any corruption in the channels is unseen and unheard of.. This is the only way one can endow fair and immediate justice to the common man. He gave the vision to the bureaucracy that if we are really sincere to eradicate corruption; we have to eliminate the red tape culture and various such channels to give justice to the people without paying for it. I am a firm believer in that his style was adopted by late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who also used to hold historical open Kuchahray and gave immediate justice to the people.

As I was always impressed by people like Issani, Ghous Ali Shah, and many more, to keep in touch with them to learn ways of wisdom always remained my priority.

While I worked in PIA, I used to frequently visit Islamabad.  On one occasion, I visited Issani while he was serving Federal Secretary Education. When I met his private secretary, I presented my business card and asked him if I could have a few minutes with him. To my surprise, the secretary asked me to go in. I was kind of upset with him and told him: “You expect me to barge in Federal Secretary’s office unannounced; this is against all the norms of protocol.” Surprise me further, he informed me that Issani had an open door policy and anyone can visit him any time he likes. Very hesitantly, I entered in his office and found so many people around and he made fast decisions and ordered in writing for each decision he made. His subordinate staff was busy in typing the orders and Issani in signing and hand-delivering the decisions to people.

In my life I have never seen any officer helping people in such a marvelous way, serving anyone the same time regardless of their cast, creed, religion, or status.

I wish government can implement his style: on spot decision making, with instant written orders with no red tape. This is how corruption can be minimized in our infrastructure where it has now become part of official ethos to delay decisions to make illegal money.

Issani is the only Sindhi speaking person, who has ever served as a Chief Secretary of a Province and has held so many important positions; currently he is serving as Vice Chancellor Iqra University. Issani is a regular tennis player. It is my wish to have a tennis match with him and know him more as I have lost in touch with him since I migrated to the U.S.A.

Wali Mohammad Bhatti,  PIA Karachi

Late Wali Mohammad Bhatti, General Manager Public Works, Pakistan International Airlines Karachi; was my boss when I served as Assistant Engineer Electrical, PIA. In my engineering career from 1974- 1987 I could very easily rank Bhatti as the best boss I ever served for.

When I joined PIA, I was hired as a ground engineer maintaining DC-10 aircrafts. Just after six months, I felt that I was misfit for the job. So I started exploring the possibilities to join other departments. My option was to join flight operations department and after so much struggle one day I was told about a position in Bhatti’s department. Though this position was not what I wished for, but it was better than working as a clerk in maintenance department. I joined with Public Works and worked there until I resigned in 1980 and moved to the U.S.A.

Bhatti was one of the few bosses who treated everyone with equal honor and dignity. His office used to be open for us anytime for any problem. He would help to solve the problem. Whenever he got an opportunity, he would join the subordinate engineers to eat lunch together in the PIA Officers dinning Hall. Abbas Brohi, younger brother of late A.K. Brohi, and I were Bhatti’s regular companions at lunch. I have scarcely seen a boss socializing with his staff and keeping the official decorum, honor and respect. He always reminded me of my father who was very friendly with his staff. At times I saw him seated with his servants on the same dinning table. I wish all super ordinates treated their subs with due human respect and nobility taken care of. As Bhatti was amiable to us his superior quality of behavior made us more vigilant. We made sure that no complaint occurred. The night my only son Rakib was born at a local hospital, I received a call from office informing me that there was a fire at the tool room of DC 10 hanger; a new aircraft was parked just near it. Luckily the aircraft was moved in time. I was summoned on site and I stayed overnight and made the area usable by the next morning while my wife delivered my son without my being on her side. This kind of dedication was mainly because we all wanted our department to enjoy prestige to earn repute for Bhatti.

It was Bhatti who very well taught me that one should be very friendly to his subordinate staff and must not act arrogant and bossy because such positive attitude would return in form of a high degree of sincerity and truthfulness to the boss.

After migrating to the U.S.A. I visited Bhatti every time I went to Pakistan and he always treated me with his hospitality and love. A few years ago when I visited Karachi I missed out to call him due to some family issues and two days before returning I called his home. When I asked for Bhatti Sahib they asked me which Bhatti Sahib. I told them Wali Mohammad Bhatti. I was given one of the sorrowful and dejected news that Wali Mohammed passed away three days ago and they just finished his funeral at his hometown and returned to Karachi. I was so disconsolate for not calling him before as I may have met him before his journey to heavens.

Yusuf Jakhrani, Sind University

Yusuf Jakhrani was a student leader while I was attending Sind University Engineering College Jamshoro in 1969-1973. I never came face to face with Yusuf directly though we had many common friends. The main reason I have chosen Yusuf’s name in my book is a special event occurred during my final year.

I used to live in Room number 109, Sachal Sarmast Hostel. One morning when I woke up, I was told that last night two residents in the next door room, number 110, were brutally murdered by some gunmen at a close range. These students were Syed Ali Mardan Shah and Ali Mohammad Mahwar. Though these two guys were part of the gang of tough guys who had created a hostile atmosphere in the engineering college but their being harshly murdered caused huge upset in the college and university. Apparently the police investigations did not locate the murderer and he is at large to date. As I was in charge of the students mess, the cooks gave me some inside information about the people seen close to the murder scene on that night. Though this was hearsay and second hand information, it interestingly incriminated Yusuf Jakhrani and a few of his friends. This included one medical student from Liaqat Medical College, now a practicing medical practitioner in the U.S.A., who was seen on the scene on that night. The FIR (Police First Information Report) indicated these people as suspicious of the crime but all of them got away with cold murder. Ali Mardan Shah was the only son of their parents. His father had passed away and his mother contracted blindness after wildly crying over her son’s young death.

I always wondered when God was going to justify by making the people responsible for the murder pay for their sins.  Many years later, one day I found out that Yusuf Jakhrani was also found murdered at Super Highway Toll Plaza in the same fashion as he killed those two innocent people. Up to today, no one had taken the responsibility of his elimination. After hearing this news my belief in the poetic justice got stronger as God eventually makes people pay for their sins. He punishes them in the similar fashion as they have committed their crimes.

Therefore every day and night I pray for His forgiveness for the sins I commit on a daily basis. I request God Almighty to show me the right path and keep me away from the wrong doings.

Zafar Tahir, Houston, Texas

Zafar Tahir and I got aquatinted during Mayor Lee Brown’s first election campaign. Zafar, by profession an engineer, is a prosperous entrepreneur. He is a very dynamic, sharp, skillful, cunning and ingenious person. Zafar Tahir has served as President of Pakistan Association of Greater Houston (PAGH) and has been a core member of the MQM and closed political crony of Masrur Jawaid Khan (MJK), the first Muslim Councilman elected in Houston City Council. I perceive that Zafar Tahir is behind the strategic maneuvering of MJK’s political career and he is partially responsible for his surprised win in the City Council election.

During constitution of Mayor’s Advisory Board for International Business Development, I recommended Zafar Tahir to be a member of the board which was very strenuously opposed by Lutfi Hassan who was appointed as Chairman of the board. I have inclination to patronize people with high education therefore I took brawny stand against Lutfi Hassan and got Zafar Tahir appointed on the board that eventually turned out to be a political mistake. Zafar has a typical Pakistani style of those who try to act over smart, think very high of themselves without substance and poke their nose in every matter. After a few meetings with him, I realized that it was my grave error to let him on board. On the other hand Zafar and MJK were working on their political agenda and manipulated me to achieve their goal. Many of us worked tirelessly to support the community; whereas these two individuals worked for their personal gains and were successful in their resolute. People like us who served the community were eventually sidelined and the selfish, arrogant and cunning, like Zafar, surfaced as leaders. Ashraf Abbasi was also mistaken by Zafar’s style. He appointed him as Vice President Liaison in Pakistan Chamber of Commerce-USA (PCCUSA).

Zafar made use of these two positions and his relationship with General Moinuddin Haider, ex-governor of Sind, to convince the Board of Investment, Government of Pakistan to appoint him as Honorary Investment Counselor to promote business between the U.S.A. and Pakistan.

One can very easily assess his cunning style by the fact that he manipulated all the people to make his selfish ends meet. His ambitious style surely took him to a higher level. Unfortunately, after his holding the position with government of Pakistan for so many years, I do not see a single achievement he can claim to be on his credit that can be attributed to promotion of trade between the U.S.A. and Pakistan. If you meet him, he will narrate many fairytales about his achievements. However he has been successful in making many personal contacts and helped himself and his friends.

According to me, Zafar Tahir can be an excellent leader if his agenda is to achieve goals for the community. He is a good speaker who can write eloquently and present himself very professionally.  But due to his arrogant and back stabbing nature he has not been successful in the Pakistani community except a small circle of the MQM supporters. He was kicked out of his position of the President of PAGH where he was alleged to have thrown a kick on a portrait of Qaid-i-Azam. He is the only Pakistani whose basic membership from PAGH was terminated twice due to his negative activities against the interest of the Pakistani community.

During his tenure as VP PCC-USA he was constantly at odds with the President Haroon Sheikh. For instance, once he physically attacked the President outside the chamber office. Haroon Sheikh could have filed charges of physical assault on him but most of us restrained him to do so. If Zafar Tahir moves away from negative tactic to incontestable work, he could be one of the top leaders of the Pakistani community but he has ravaged his image and reputation mainly due to his arrogant and dissenting attitude: whenever on air the local radio stations, he keeps on targeting various community leaders to promote his own agenda. The fundamental attribute he lacks is mutual respect the lack of which confirms him out in the crowd. He can never get along with anyone in the community.

Zafar Tahir: Addendum 2007

Advised irresponsibly and immaturely, Zafar Tahir ran for City Council at Large. He met a vehement defeat owing to his negative past and the many enemies he has created during his life time. With all the credentials and enormous financial support, he lost the election to an unknown African American attorney Jolanda Jones. Some of his critics think that his political guru MJ Khan deliberately instigated him to run for this office to demean his political career so that MJ can still keep the command of power in the mainstream American politics.

Zahoor Siddiqui, Houston

Zahoor Siddiqui, a teacher in Rice University, originally comes from Shikarpur Sind. He became aquatinted with me during my active interest in Sindhi Association of North America (SANA). I have included Zahoor’s name in this book due to a very eccentric and peculiar reason.

Some twelve years ago, I invited him and his family for dinner at my house. My wife is very extravagant in treating her guests and we did everything possible to show our hospitality to them. After two weeks Zahoor invited us for dinner at 8 p.m. Upon our arrival at exactly 8 p.m., the lady of the house seated us and informed us that her husband was giving a shower to his young son. We waited for about 45 minutes until he came to greet us. Subsequently, we were told that the dinner was ready but Zahoor and the lady of the house had already eaten their dinner! We four were seated on the dinner table with 5 small pieces of chicken curry and four pieces of pita bread. The curry was cold and bread was not even warmed up. I looked at my wife and wanted to leave their house without saying anything but she told me to be thankful to God for what we had been served. I agreed with her and thought that God must be testing our patience as to how we were going to react in that situation. After completing our dinner, I asked the house lady  for a glass of water. To my surprise she went to the kitchen and took an already used glass from the sink and poured tab water in it. This situation occurred in August, considered to be the hottest in Houston. Upon my enquiry for some ice to be put in the water, she replied that they did not use ice at their home. After dinner we were served with a dessert. The lady warned us to be overlooking for any taste-slips as it was her first try. The dessert was an eccentric produce of burnt pieces of sweet she had tried to prepare and made us eat.

The reason I mentioned this story is because of several reasons. One, God Almighty showed me that I should be thankful to Him for what he has given me. It includes a loving wife who prepares delicious food fresh every day, six days a week with no breaks. On the seventh day of the week, I take her out and serve her the best meal at any of the lavish restaurants of her choice. However, I always wonder why educated people like Zahoor Siddiqui, from a decent family, and his wife, daughter of a very rich landlord of Hyderabad, have not been taught and groomed as how to entertain friends particularly those who have treated them well. If we had gone to their house uninvited, then this behavior can be condoned. However, we drove fifty miles to get to their house after an invitation and were treated in this manner that is absolutely over my head: anyone with sane mind will take it as personal offence…

In my life I have seen ups and downs, traveled in the best, and walked 11 miles to reach home but have never been humiliated by anyone like this. I wish during education people learn the social skills as well.  And women who are more interested in wearing new clothes and adorning themselves with all kind of jewelry and make up, should also learn how to live in a social circle with due respect to be paid to the others. In comparison to this couple who come from a good and educated family, my servant Ghulam Rasool Sial has served me a better dinner being just a bus driver for Steel Mills.

Though I learnt several things from this episode but wonder why Zahoor invited and treated us in such a strange way that consequently ended our relationship since then. However lately I found out that the couple is divorced after two decades of marriage.

Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Former Prime Minister of Pakistan

Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s father, Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto, was friend of my uncle Abdul Fatah Memon who served as General Secretary Pakistan Muslim League after the creation of Pakistan. In the mid 1950s, when Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto came back to Larkana after completing his education from England, there was a historical meeting held at my uncle’s house. Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto, Sikander Bhutto, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, my uncles Abdul Fatah and Nizamuddin Memon, and my two cousins Dr. Ghulam Ali and Ali Nawaz Memon attended this meeting. As per Sindhi tradition, in the meeting, Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto took Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s hand and perched it to my uncle Abdul Fatah’s hands saying: “Fatah, I want you to teach Zulfi politics.” This is the reason we always claim that ZAB started politics from our home. The Bhutto’s were local feudals and after army took over power in 1958, ZAB was the best pick from interior Sind being highly educated, smart and very good speaker. He became Industries Minister and later on became Foreign Minister in Ayub Khan’s cabinet. By this time ZAB was on his way to jump for higher political grounds than my uncles. When election time came, my uncle Abdul Fatah, then member of West Pakistan assembly, filed his nominations for the local seat which ZAB wanted to run from. During the course, my uncle Nizamuddin became very close friend of ZAB but uncle Abdul Fatah was a little distant from him. ZAB wanted to win the election unopposed therefore he convinced uncle Nizamuddin to pursue uncle Abdul Fatah to withdraw his nomination from the seat.

After a long political maneuvering, ZAB got his wish and he reciprocated the favor by appointing uncle Abdul Fatah as Ambassador of Pakistan to Saudi Arabia. Uncle Abdul Fatah always felt that this was not healthy for his political career as he was completely eliminated from Larkana’s political scene. After his completion of the tenure he settled in Karachi. However uncle Nizamuddin was very close to ZAB and accompanied him to UNO on the historical day when he tore off the UNO charter and walked out of the building. During ZAB’s tenure as Prime Minister, uncle Nizam enjoyed a very powerful position as Political Advisor to the Prime Minister for Sind Affairs, of course without any financial compensation. Chief Minister of Sind was instructed to consult him on every important issue.

This relationship was so strong that during 1976 election uncle Nizam was the in charge of elections in Sind and was custodian of millions of rupees being used for the elections. Before this Uncle Nizam used to visit Karachi every week and make political assessments and send a weekly briefing to Premier Bhutto which was sent by me through PIA cargo every week. For this purpose Uncle Nizam was assigned a Toyota Land Cruiser with Prime Minister House Logo which was in my custody and I used to drive uncle from place to place while he was in Karachi.

Meanwhile, Premier Bhutto appointed my cousin Khalid Iqbal Memon, now MNA from Larkana, to work with him at the Prime Minister secretariat. He was also instrumental in setting my life on a path of success by referring me to PIA for a job which changed my course of life.

I met with Bhutto Sahib first time in on March 24,1967 at his house in Larkana. I asked him for his autograph. Before giving him my autograph book, I wrote “my favorite hero” and he wrote best wishes to me and signed it.

Upon his return from Tashkent when he resigned from the position as Foreign Minister of Pakistan all of my brothers and cousins were at the Karachi railway Station to receive him and accompanied him to 90 Clifton, his personal residence in Karachi.

In 1970, when my father was serving as Additional Commissioner Khairpur Division October 1970, he received a call from Shaheed ZAB who asked him to do a favor. Instead of ordering my father to decide a case in favor of him, Bhutto asked him to see if he could make the decision in the next hearing to close the case. This case was filed by Ayub Khan’s government against Bhutto alleging that he used government machinery to cultivate his lands without making any payments to the government treasury. At this time, the only genuine elections were held in Pakistan and Bhutto shone as the leader of the majority party. And his polite attitude impressed my father and he liked his style of not pushing him to take a decision in his favor. Upon his next trip to Larkana when he convened his court, my father asked Bhutto’s attorney, Abdul Razzaque Soomro, to leave the court and come back at 1.30 p.m. By this time my father disposed off the remaining cases on the docket and issued a written judgement in favor of Bhutto and hand delivered to his attorney. This was completely out of the court’s ethos where such high profile case, in which the sitting President and his complete cabinet wanted to punish Bhutto, my father not only gave a verdict in his favor but also gave the written copy of the judgement to Abdul Razzaque Soomro. Soomro was so excited to know the results that he immediately called Bhutto who was then taking a nap. He got up and was informed about the decision made by father. Mr. Bhutto personally thanked my father and invited him to have dinner with him on his next trip to Larkana. Mr. Bhutto was serving as Chief Martial Law Administrator and President of the Pakistan on my father’s next trip to Larkana.

Mr. Bhutto never forgot my father and during direct and lateral appointments and accelerated promotions, he sent an invitation to my father to apply for a grade 20 position of his choice. My father refused to take up his offer and stayed in grade 18 and waited for his promotion by seniority rule.

Bhutto has been the only Pakistani politician who rose from bottom to top by his own talent, education and hard work. He had feelings and pain for the poor people. He gave them a chance to rise from the bottom. One day he was driving with uncle Nizam and saw numerous people working in lands at 110 degrees temperature. He told my uncle with tears in his eyes: “Nizam I want to do something for these people.” His planning, though failed in our complex social context, did give a boost to the poor people.

I remember that when we were young our farmers used to come to visit us. They not only bowed before out elders but also before us. After Bhutto’s teaching them, the same farmers came and sat next to uncle and us. The biggest thing he gave to the poor people of Pakistan was the pride and sense of being treated like humans and not as animals as most affluent people regarded. He gave the laborers a voice to get their rights and get better remuneration for their services. He broke the backbone of bureaucracy and eliminated so many corrupt officers; he could not eradicate corruption because it has become a part of our society.

His greatest achievement was to initiate the nuclear program that has, to date, kept Pakistan on equal power terms with Indian supremacy. The other way round, we would have been eliminated from the world map.

Bhutto gave Pakistan its only constitution approved by every party of the country though it has been changed from time to time by the army generals to justify their frequent takeovers.

His election supervised by General Yahya Khan, a corrupt army general; was the only fair election held in the entire history of Pakistan. Bhutto, who exercised the power independently and boldly without fear of getting dismissed by the army generals, was the only elected Prime Minister Pakistan has ever seen. Subsequently all the Prime Ministers who have governed the country have been appointed or selected by the army and establishment with pre conditions as how they would conduct themselves.

Bhutto’s another major achievement was to bring home ninety thousand army prisoners from Bangladesh and Indian captivity boosted the Pakistan army and kept their heads up for which he was punished and hanged to death for a murder he never committed. I am sure if Bhutto was selfish, he could have let the war prisoners stay in Indian captivity and ruled the country long enough to weaken the army; this way the army would not have dared to demolish democratic institutions and eliminate the representatives of the common man for their own agenda.

Bhutto created so many educational institutions including many medical colleges, engineering universities. This made us self-sufficient in every field of technology to a great extent. His vision to give passport to every Pakistani without any hassle changed the demography of Pakistan. Today millions of people live abroad and sent billions of rupees in remittance. Before his orders to open issuance of passport it took me three months to get my passport even with so much political influence.

His deal with Russia to establish Steel Mills gave Pakistan its first heavy industry, backbone for strong infrastructure of any country. His relationship with China that still helps Pakistan to acquire international respect can never be forgotten. This has kept Pakistan ever strong. The secret mission to unite China and United States of America can never be forgotten which opened gateway for China to penetrate the U.S.A. for which the Chinese have always been grateful to him.

His vision to use oil as the Muslim leverage in international politics (though it cost him his life) did educate the Muslim nations to use oil as a weapon. Though most of the Muslim countries have forgotten his vision, it has become very evident that if alive Bhutto would be the biggest threat to the West in the oil market and certainly elsewhere.

Unfortunately our nation never appreciates leaders like him and prefers to send them to Gatos rather than let them raise their head and flourish their countries. We have traitors like General Zia who hanged Bhutto for his own power and to satisfy his masters in the West.

Bhutto’s one of the biggest mistakes was to bring someone out of the way and appoint him as Commander In Chief who ultimately toppled his government.

In my view all the promotions must be carried on seniority basis to keep the incompetent people at their level. Generally cunning people with hidden agendas succeed in acquiring high positions in Pakistani culture and damage the country and its institutions. Zia not only sold himself but took Pakistan 15-20 years behind by promoting the Talibans culture. He paved way for a drug addicted society with guns in every child’s hand.

History will always remember Bhutto as the reformer and victim of the western conspiracy that got him eliminated to get western agenda approved. Bhutto was always treated as a Sindhi Prime Minister and the Mohajir leadership never accepted him as their leader though they rose to a higher level due to his policies.

The Mohajirs who are mostly middle class people were the biggest beneficiary from Bhutto’s policies but they always hated his guts because he was too shrewd and smart.

It is very sad to quote that when Sindhi language was prescribed as a compulsory subject for the Urdu speaking people, they revolted against Bhutto and his government and conspired against him throughout the time. They have always worked against the Pakistan People’s Party since then.

Every human has some weaknesses and they make mistakes but wise people always analyze what good a person has done for the nation on a whole. Bhutto’s main weakness was his firmness. It caused several of his close associates to leave him. I always tell the politicians that they should never let their core people go away from them as the people who help you to be the leader can also reverse the course.

In 1975 when a friend of mine Abdul Kadir Jamoot was getting married to daughter of Mumtaz Bhutto, then Chief Minister of Sind, we asked Bhutto Sahib during the wedding about the rights for Sind and he said to us: “Gentlemen, I am the Prime Minister of Pakistan and not of Sind only.” He always believed in the federation and never considered himself as a Sindhi but he was always treated as a Sindhi and was sent to Gatos.

Whereas a Punjabi Prime Minister who tried to fire the Commander In chief and milked billions from the government treasury was very conveniently sent to Saudi Arabia presently enjoying his life. People like Bhutto or Nawab Akber Khan Bughti who came from small provinces were punished for death because they dare to rise against the establishment. If Bhutto Sahib had been power-hungry, he could have very easily befriended with the U.S.A. and its allies like General Pervaiz Musharaf and remained in power as long as he wanted. But then he had to abandon the nuclear program that eventually saved Pakistan from its aggressive neighbor. He had to abandon mobilizing the Islamic world which would have further damaged the Muslim strength in the world. If he had been selfish, he would still be alive enjoying power. A true leader, Bhutto chose to leave his name in the history instead; he chose to fight the Super Power laying his precious life for the good of his people.

His strength can only be visualized from what Henry Kissinger, U.S. Secretary of State, once said: “Bhutto is so smart that if he were born in the U.S.A., he would be at least on my position or could even be the President of the U.S.A.”

Pakistan was unlucky to have only a few leaders like Bhutto. Still so sad as it is that we always either kill them, like Liaqat Ali Khan and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto; or push them to the darkness like our own founder of the nation Qaid-i-Azam, who made Pakistan as a democratic country where dictators have enjoyed the power for most of its 60 years in existence and have sucked blood out of poor people of Pakistan. They have lost half of the country and are working very hard to suppress the smaller provinces that may eventually break Pakistan into small fragments like Russia.

The thing that saddens me most about Bhutto is that most of the Urdu speaking people always saw him as a Sindhi. They have shown opposition to Bhutto and his family up to present. The media has also played a very nasty role in portraying him the builder of Larkana as Paris and alleging him to be corrupt.

According to me, after Qaid-i-Azam and Shaheed Liaqat Ali Khan, Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was the true leader of Pakistan. It is so interesting that after killing him his ghost is still haunting the army and the Pakistani establishment for they still never dare to let a free election be held in Pakistan due to fear of the Peoples Party again achieving the majority role in the government.

Bhutto was asked to make a bargain with the army but he chose to leave his name in the history as martyr and never compromised with the army dictators. History will always remember him.

My biggest regret about Bhutto is that after his arrest and eventually his hanging, the public did not appear on the streets and most of the PPP front leaders kept quiet; whereas, a provincial leader like Akber Khan Bugti’ killing by the army brought almost whole Pakistan at a standstill for a few days. A national hero was let go in the grave without a low cry. This shows that our nation has no character and we only cry over the martyrs but never rise against the evil during their life.

As a student of world political history I can see that the nations that do not respect their leaders, writers, and reformers, never flourish and die down in the vast history. I dedicate the following poem for Bhutto, the martyr of nation:

With the shining of the sun,

The moon, and the stars,

Your name will rise higher

And higher, breaking the bars

Of suppression and misery

That the poor have always suffered

On the hands of the cruel

 

You’re the child of nature

Who always saw

What a common eye could not

You always cared for the nation

When there was no one

 

Bhutto, you haven’t died

For die you can never

Every child born today

Is your reflection

I know one day

All the nation will

Rise against the suppressers

And it will be your second coming

 

[0.1 INDEX]  [0.2 DEDICATIONS]  [0.3 INTRODUCTION]  [1.0 AMERICAN POLITICAL SYSTEM] [2.0 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]  [3.0 AMERICAN LEGAL SYSTEM]  [4.0 PAKISTAN AND THE MUSLIM WORLD]  [5.0 PEOPLE WHO TOUCHED MY LIFE]  [6.0 HEALTH AND SOCIAL ISSUES]  [7.0 MONEY AND BUSINESS]  [8.0 POEMS BY MANZOOR A. MEMON]  [PHOTOS]  [ARTICLES]  [CERTIFICATE & LETTERS]  [HOME PAGE]  [ABOUT AUTHOR] [NEW ARTICLES] [Published Book, Part I, Part II, Part III]

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