1916 – 2016 — 2116 … II

Gyroscope

Abdur Rahman Mian

THIS scribe and his age group compatriots had witnessed the WW-II and blissfully had completed the high schooling before the partition of the sub-continent. CMZ High was a private school with wonderful teachers. We didn’t have to learn anything about: Will Power; Maturity; Sociability; Adaptability; Punctuality; Knowledge; Confidence; Leadership and Manners, ever after! Luckily I had been through professional and vocational trainings and studies during Pakistan’s Dominion Status! I could sail through the National Selection by Federal Public Service Commission of 1957. And because perhaps better candidates did not choose to participate, I topped to be the very first Assistant Drilling Engineer of Pakistan. I got a lucky slot to tender my apprenticeship at Kalabagh Dam site, followed by services at Turrap; Haro; Kotli; Rajdhani; Mangla and Tarbela Dam sites. In early 1960’s I was invited to visit Swedish dams’ sites across Lulea River in Arctic Circle. Kungs Vetten falls were excellent hosts. I was on leave ex-Pakistan which nascent WAPDA was not inclined to extend! However they were kind enough to accept my resignation.
Objectives resolution. I was just 17 years and 7 days old when this Resolution was passed after almost half a year after the death of the Quaid! Being a student then, I could get its text, weeks later. Treasured the address of Maolana Shahbir Ahmed Osmani and learnt to know about Niccolo Machiavelli’s Obverse Verdict that: “Spiritual and ethical values should play no part in the governance of the people”. After the advent of 1956 Constitution, Pakistan the independent dominion of the British Empire, became the Islamic Republic, with Iskander Mirza as the President. He dutifully followed Machiavelli rather than preamble by Maolana Osmani! He dislodged four PMs in a matter of two years! Your scribe had met Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, as a ‘Special Invitee’ during his tenure on a week end evening. The political veteran had known the young man ever since his own arrival in West Pakistan during December 1950. The visitor foolishly asked about the political landscape. Mr Suhrawardy pointed to the Vat 69 bottle lying on the table and said: “like this bottle its upside and down side are the same”.
KKMC aka Emerald City: Coincidently almost 100 years after Sykes-Picot diplomatic forestall, there was a lot of activity during early March 2016, at KKMC. JF-17 Thunders demonstrated their manoeuvres and Pakistani Paratroopers glided from Helicopters flying the National Flags of the twenty one participating countries. It all had uncanny ceremonies of culmination of the 20th century and the beginning of a new one. It has a large airport called King Saud airport, a state of the art Hospital – and some chequered history. Originally it was proposed to be located at mid country. However, on the advice of soe friends, Prince Sultan decided to locate KKMC forty miles away from Hafr Al-Batin, right on the bank of Kuwaiti and Iraqi borders – the present site. He entrusted the Design and Construction Superintendence of the Emerald City to the US Army Corps of Engineers and their consultants. However, like all Human Habitats, potable water’s availability is vital, but there were some problems. Hence an Italian drilling Company was engaged to explore, install and develop the initial three out of the estimated twenty one water wells, but the Italian Company was not equipped to do the job. Thus the abandoned wells were choked due to encrustation.
Geography and history: President John F. Kennedy’s science Advisor Dr. Jerome B. Wiesner, who chaired PSAC had approached Dr. Roger Revelle who had already conducted thorough investigations of the twin menace of water logging and salinity in the plains of West Pakistan. He designated a Pakistani prodigy, when approached. The Pakistani young man did accord his opinion and when engaged, he rehabilitated the defunct wells. A Japanese manufacturer delivered all the custom-built submersible pumps each to pump a million gallons per day. That’s how the KKMC was built at the present location. As an appreciation for the Pakistani’s founding contribution all the thousands of ‘Drilled Piers’ foundation/s of The Emerald City Sectors were executed by the Pakistani workmen (in an organization created by a Royal Ministerial Decree KSA). All projects were completed ahead of stipulated schedules! HRH Prince Abdur Rehman bin Abdulaziz AL-Saud the Dy. Defence minister was highly appreciative of these services by Pakistanis. He expressed that in fluent English diction.
Natural calamities: They are around the corner. Scientific discoveries are even building doors to knock on them. Your good offices shall see a few glimpses in this column or following ones. Water Policy: Pakistan yet has no ‘water policy’! Pakistan Water research Council (or whatever, it is officially called) Chief has released the great news: “That the draft of it, is ready and that shall, next month, be presented before the Competent Authority.” The Chief, however, did not choose to explain the reasons – for such a hurry. The damnd dams: Kalabagh Dam site was the 1st that Government of Pakistan investigated during early 1950s! after the Warsak Dam, which was already entrusted to the Canadians. All the Administrations, ever since the completion of Tarbela Dam in 1974, have been hiding behind the lack of the mini-skirt of “consensus”!
Climate change: At the least 1.4 billion habitants of South Asia including of: India; Japan; Pakistan; China; Indonesia; Bangladesh and Philippine are amongst the top ten countries to be the worst affected. The drought and deluge cycles would be untimely and devastating. Out of the lot the responsible governments that can take precautions may have a chance of less damage. India shall not be one of the lucky. One billion Indians are liable to be hurt. Two Third of the land under agriculture shall be rendered desolate desert in Pakistan.
(to be continued)
—The writer is a freelance columnist based in Lahore.

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