The Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Islamabad (PIDE) organized the Book Launch Webinar of “FRONTIER STATIONS” – An account of public service in Pakistan, the memoirs of Shakil Durrani, a retired bureaucrat at 2.00 pm on Tuesday, the 11th January, 2022 at Islamabad. The event was moderated by Dr. Nadeem Ul Haque, Vice Chancellor PIDE, Islamabad.
The Author, Mr. Shakil Durrani is from the Pakistan Administrative Service 1971 batch, presently serving as the Executive Director of the Society for the Promotion of Engineering Sciences and Technology (SOPREST) and the Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology Topi.
Dr. Nadeem while introducing the author said Mr Shakeel Durrani was among the most notable officers in the country having served as Chief Secretary of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa (Formerly North West Frontier Province), Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and Sindh. He also remained Chairman of Pakistan Railways and the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA).
Shakil Durrani thanked PIDE and Dr. Nadeem ul Haque for honouring him with the privilege of launching his memoirs through this forum. He reflected on the reasons why he chose to record his views and opinions in book form stating that he wished that his extended family and friends and their children and grandchildren would become aware of their elders and their lives and times. He in particularly mentioned the times spent in Lawrence College and Edwards College and later a most memorable career in the Pakistan Administrative Service, previously called the Civil Service of Pakistan and the District Management Group. He recounted the causes behind the inability of Pakistan to raise itself economically leading to widespread poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, limited industrialization and mentioned the successes of countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Turkey, China, South Korea and Bangla Desh. He felt that the almost all rulers of Pakistan over the past seventy years must share much of the blame for the country’s problems. He believes that without a meaningful change, in the outlook and motivations of the politicians, matters would not improve. He further said that the bureaucracy, police
and judiciary have been unable to redress the problems of the people because in effect no power-centre in Pakistan is effectively accountable.
The author also spoke about the serious issues that needed to be addressed about the recently merged Districts which previously were called the Tribal Areas and particular the practically non-functional judiciary and the police set-up which again were not responsible to any fora. Shakil Durrani mentioned the poor handling by the rulers of the events of 12th May 2007 in Karachi which led to the killings at the hands of miscreants of 48 innocent and poor people.
A lively interaction took place and a number of questions/observations were raised/made by the participants. The host while winding up stated that this book would be a power tool for researchers and very educative for younger people particularly Government officers.