Treasured memories | BY Imtiaz Rafi Butt


Treasured memories

GEORGE Meredith, the English novelist, once said that Memoirs are the backstairs of history that remind us of the painful steps and hurdles through which the most significant success is achieved.

“Treasured Memories” authored by Shahid Hamid is a captivating account of intrinsic and extrinsic forces as well as personalities and events that fashioned choices and decisions that carved the history of Pakistan.

The unique set of skills of Shahid Hamid holding a degree in Economics from Cambridge, Barrister at Law and Civil Servant for over 14 years gives him an exceptional grasp on constitution, democratic institutions, civil military relations, federal-provincial and inter-provincial relations as well as chronic intrinsic problems of Pakistan such as corruption, red tape, inefficient economy and poor governance.

The book kicks off with interesting accounts of his childhood from Calcutta when he presented a flower bouquet to Quaid-i-Azam and shifting schools yet doing exceptionally well in academics all through Cambridge and Inner Temple.

His path through Civil Service is equally enviable as his batch of 1964 included exceptionally distinguished bureaucrats such as Saeed Dehlvi who later became the Chairman of Agha Khan Foundation, Farooq Leghari became President of Pakistan, Ishrat Hussain rose to the Governor State Bank, A Z K Sherdil retired as Chief Secretary Punjab and many more respectable civil Servants who made their mark both in Service as well as their personal lives.

Truth is always better than indefinite doubt. Perhaps the most excruciating chapter in the book is on East Pakistan and how in addition to other factors, discontinuing Inter-wing transfers of officers between East and West Pakistan also contributed to lack of harmony and dented a national approach.

A brief account of meeting Mujibur Rehman and the incident of subduing a mob to save the embankment from flood water in Takerhat is particularly interesting.

However, if the reader dissects into the microscopic details it surreptitiously unravels the reasons for the most catastrophic tragedy in the history of Pakistan.

I find the chapters on the politics in Pakistan most intriguing as the book provides insight into the personal relationships, confrontations, affiliations and conflicts among politicians, bureaucracy and military leadership that throb at the heart of every decision that affect the lives of every citizen of Pakistan.

The close association of the author gives us very critical analysis of events yet he manages to remain neutral and his analysis is unbiased, impartial and equitable.

Remaining fair and detached in an era of extreme political polarity is truly commendable and the reason why Shahid Hamid is well respected by friends and foes alike.

On behalf of the Jinnah Rafi Foundation, we sincerely appreciate Shahid Hamid on this interesting and thought provoking narration of life events and memories which is not only a pleasant read but also a deep insight into the political canvas of Pakistan.

He has proved his worth and shown exemplary courage and integrity throughout his life and has always been a man of honour.

The Jinnah Rafi Foundation has been blessed with his unflinching support for the past three decades.

We passionately recommend this book to all the followers of Jinnah Rafi Foundation.

We wish Shahid Hamid all the best for all his future endeavours.
—The writer is Chairman, Jinnah Rafi Foundation, based in Lahore.

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