Who will lead us?
IN 2007, the Nobel Prize was awarded to the former US Vice President Al-Gore for his work on climate change and global warming. On his team was an illustrious son of the soil Dr. Adil Najam who after graduating from University of Engineering and Technology (UET) Lahore proceeded to USA for higher education. He received his Masters degree from Harvard University and Doctorate from MIT. Currently he is a professor at Boston University. He was the second Pakistani, after Dr. Abdul Salam to be included in this award. As we had long family terms with the Najam's, I decided to proceed to Islamabad to congratulate his proud father Col. Imtiaz Najam.
Col. Sahib railed from Lahore. His father Mian Najamuddin was the first Director General Survey Government of Pakistan. Their haveli is located in Moori Gate, very close to the Data Darbar. At the time of partition he was a class ten student at the central Model School located not too far away. On my facilitations on his son's achievement he narrated a very interesting incident. After school he stopped at a bicycle shop to pump air in his cycle tyres. The owner of the business on noticing his school uniform approached him and asked one of his employee's to complete the chore. He remarked that this young man will one day lead the nation and it is our duty to nourish him today.
Indeed Imtiaz sahib soar, where he fought two wars (1965 and1971) and became a prisoner of war (POW) in East Pakistan where he was lodged in a camp in India, finally to be repatriated back to his motherland.
Professor Hamid Ahmed Khan was appointed as the Vice Chancellor of Punjab University. In the 1964 Presidential Elections the mighty Ayub Khan desired to hold a public rally at the university grounds near Chauburji. His party approached the VC who demanded a security deposit of Rs. 400,000- the amount spent on the cricket pitch. The President was furious but Professor sahib as leader of the institution stood his ground. Today the same venue is in shambles, totally destroyed first by the Metro Bus and now the Orange Line Project.
Professor Hamid was a true leader and Ayub Khan was not. Instead of honoring his commitment to his institution he was denied extension and sent home. The family fell on hard times but they braved the storm.
What we have today is a tainted leadership in all spheres. Political leaders are mostly propelled by the Khankis through manipulated electoral exercise. Once in power they ensure loyal and subservient individual appointed against merit. Then the negative influence of the haves created by the Ayub regime continues to dominate the private sector and strengthen status-quo.
Interestingly Dr. Abdul Najam a star of the illustrious Najam family and an educationist of Inter National repute was appointed VC of the most prestigious university of Lahore in the year of 2011. He left his position in USA to relocate himself in the city of his fore fathers. The normal term of a VC is four years but in this case he stepped down after two years. Students were shocked. There was a small campaign to keep Dr. Najam in the country but he landed back in Boston. While Col. Najam was able to serve his country his son could not-the times and players had changed.
Dr. Najam is not alone; there are several illustrious sons of the soil who tried to serve their motherland. Dr. Shahid Bokhari left his prestigious position at NASA to join the Electrical Engineering Department at the University of Engineering and Technology. He played a long innings, but was finally driven out by the Khaki VC who was brought in to restore law and order but in the process destroyed academics of the university. Dr. Sohail Zuberi started the Electronics programme at the Quaid-e-Azam University and produced outstanding scholars. In this case a Baboo VC drove him out. Dr. Asad Abidi established the school of science and Engineering at LUMS. I personally convinced him to leave his job at University of California at Los Angeles (UCCA) to serve his country. He lasted for two years before returning back to resume his academic career in the USA.
Sir Syed Ahmed Khan felt the need to produce leaders for the Muslims of the Indian Sub- Continent. His Aligarh University played a pivoted role in the creation of Pakistan. The need to reduce leaders was pursued after the creation of the new country but then the establishment (Khakis, Baboos, Qazis) came in the way. Now there is no one left to lead. Where are our Hussains? Iqbal raised this question about a century ago but was able to locate and convince Jinnah to come and lead the movement which led to the creation of the first Islamic democracy of the world. Jinnah's team was disbanded and replaced by third rate political leadership with the blessings of the Khakis. This manipulated process must come to an end.