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Wednesday June 19, 2024

Faruqui’s memoir offers insightful commentary on country’s political landscape

432-page memoir, “Dear Mr Jinnah - 70 years in the life of a Pakistani civil servant,” honours the country’s founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah

By Jamila Achakzai
June 11, 2024
The book cover of Dear Mr Jinnah by Salman Faruqi, this image taken on June 10, 2024. — Facebook/Alhamra Lahore Arts Council
The book cover of "Dear Mr Jinnah" by Salman Faruqi, this image taken on June 10, 2024. — Facebook/Alhamra Lahore Arts Council

ISLAMABAD: Former senior civil servant Salman Faruqui on Monday released his memoir, which chronicles Pakistan’s political history, exploring its challenges and unmet promises, and offers insightful commentary on the country’s political landscape.

The 432-page memoir, “Dear Mr Jinnah - 70 years in the life of a Pakistani civil servant,” honours the country’s founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and recounts the writer’s experiences as a bureaucrat.

It began with the 1947 partition story and ended with a letter to the Quaid-i-Azam summing up what happened to the governance in Pakistan after 1948 when he passed away.

The book combines the writer’s personal experiences with firsthand accounts of significant political events in Pakistan’s history, spanning from his family’s displacement during the 1947 partition to his tenure as federal ombudsman in 2017.

Throughout his illustrious career, Faruqui held key government positions, including the secretariats of prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Muhammad Khan Junejo, as well as ambassador-at-large, secretary general to the president, and deputy chairman of the Planning Commission.

During the book launch at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad, the speakers, including former Senator Mushahid Sayed, journalist Nasim Zahra, former lawmaker Farhatullah Babar, former bureaucrats Shakil Durrani and Ijaz Rahim and former ambassador and ISSI chief Sohail Mahmood, appreciated the book as a tribute to the country’s founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, as well as a personal reflection of the author’s experiences as a civil servant.

They insisted that the book weaved a vibrant narrative shedding light on the country’s complex and turbulent political history, and explored its struggles, unfulfilled promises, and self-imposed obstacles over the past seven decades.

The speakers praised Faruqui over his insightful and thought-provoking commentary on the intricacies of Pakistan’s political landscape, providing a deeper understanding of the country’s challenges and complexities.

Mushahid Hussain Sayed praised Faruqui as a distinguished and accomplished bureaucrat who dedicated many decades to public service.

He said Faruqui’s pragmatism and commitment to special education would be long remembered, as well as his significant contributions to the Gwadar Port project.

Farhatullah Babar hailed Faruqui as a patriotic Pakistani who enjoyed widespread respect across various eras.

He noted that Faruqui’s book covered Pakistan’s history from 1947 to the present and highlighted his notable service as a federal ombudsman, which led to significant legal reforms.

Ameena Saiyid of Lightstone Publishers highlighted that Faruqui’s book, which took five years to complete, chronicled his dedicated service to the nation, offering valuable insights into his experiences and challenges.

She advocated for reduced tariffs on paper imports and an expansion of the country’s library network, citing India’s impressive system of 30,000 libraries as a model.

Sohail Mehmood praised Faruqui as an extraordinary individual whose book, he said, will serve as a guiding light for the youth.

Shakil Durrani acclaimed Faruqui as a visionary thinker, who, he believed, implemented innovative policies. He encouraged Faruqui to share his insights on the decision to impose capacity charges.

Ejaz Rahim commended Faruqui for sharing his wealth of knowledge and experience in the book, providing a nuanced understanding of historical events and offering valuable lessons.

Naseem Zahra noted that the book’s publication couldn’t have come at a better time for Pakistan, highlighting Faruqui’s indispensable contributions to various governments as a competent bureaucrat.

She praised his commitment to reform and development across fields, including technology and special education, and his ability to remain apolitical throughout his career.

Faruqui was later presented with a commemorative shield by the institute.

The book launch will also take place in Lahore and Karachi on June 11 and 14, respectively.