Editor ChoiceSwat History

Swat State Employees And The Post 1969 Setup

After the takeover of Swat, and serving under the new setup, the lower staff missed the comradeship, the closeness and a family like environment, we had among the ranks and officers. Most of the State officers behaved like patrons or father figures with their subordinates, with exception of a few high nosed snobs. They were somewhat arrogant and kept a marked visible distance from their subordinates. Let me quote one or two examples to clarify the real state of affairs at that time.

My father and uncle were away from home, with the State forces marching towards Indus Kohistan in mid of 1930s. My father’s first wife and a son died in the Cholera outbreak in Swat, leaving a son and a two years old daughter with a blind ‘hafiz e quran’ aunt of my father. After return from Indus Kohistan venture, my father shifted to Saidu Sharif along with the little infant girl, a son of about eight years and the blind aunt. They settled in Afsar Abad, Saidu Sharif. Their immediate neighbor at that time was Kaman Afsar Janas Pacha of Gogdara, Swat. There were no cars with the general people except State owned trucks and automobiles for the Royal family. But the well-off people kept horse driven coaches or Tongas for their own use. So Janas Pacha also had a Tonga, driven by a coachman.

One day, when my father had gone to his office called ‘Fauji Daftar’, his son Sher Khan had gone to school, the two years old kid was crawling near the fire-hearth. Her cloths caught fire and she started crying. The blind grandma tried to put off the flames but she could not see anything to use. In short, the little baby burnt to death. The neighboring ladies came, but it was too late.

My father was called back to home. Now the problem at hand was how to take the dead child to our village Aboha, twenty four kilometers away from Saidu Sharif.

The Kaman Afsar, Janas Pacha asked my father not to worry. He asked his coachman to harness the Tonga, and carry my father, his son and aunt to Aboha. Thus they brought the little baby and buried her, in our own plot where now my house stands.

Such type of sympathies were not observed in the conduct of offices who came to rule the newly annexed territory of Swat after 1969. Almost all of them were arrogant, snobbish and bureaucratic giants. They thought themselves as conquerors and looked down upon the ex-State employees, staff of the P.W.D, though were integrated in provincial B/R department. They ridiculed them on any pretext. The head of the integration plan asked often humiliating and annoying questions. I had to bear all this as I was representing my office, i.e, the State P.W.D. One day he asked me to produce diplomas of the Overseers, as a basic requirement for the post. I showed him the order of the Ruler of Swat, promoting six of us to the post of Overseers. He refused to accept it. I got out of control and said whatever came to my mind. He tried to cool me down, but I stood up, collected my files and left him wide-mouth. But my sudden explosion worked out favorably as a few days later, the provincial government issued an order, granting relaxation of qualification to the Overseers of the State.

Let me share another example of the snobbish newly arrived officers. Mr. Afzal Khan Lala was provincial Agricultural Minister in the then Mufti Mehmood cabinet of N.W.F.P (Now Khyber Pukhtunkhwa). He came to Daggar on a visit. The District and Divisional Officers were called there to attend a meeting with the minister. Khan Lala personally knew me, so he asked me to sit close to him during the meeting. I requested that my District and Circle Officer will not like it because of the protocol. But Khan Lala dragged me by the hand and entered the meeting room. We both took our seats on the main sofa. The Superintending Engineer could not control his arrogance and asked me to leave the room. I sat up to leave but the great Khan Lala pulled me back and said angrily to the S.E, “Mr. Jan, he will sit with me throughout the meeting.” The Superintending Engineer remained silent after that. When Khan Lala left, my officers rushed at me how I dared to sit with the minister. I asked them I was advised by the minister to sit with him.

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