‘Never Ever Dream Again (Autobiography of Fazal Raziq Shahab) Part 33

The period between 1961 and 1969 was a period of tremendous progress made by the State. It was all due to the great leadership and well-conceived planning of His Highness the Ruler of Swat. Bridges on River Swat were constructed at Gwaratai, Kanju and Khwaza Khela. Modern prestressed bridges were constructed at Bhai Kale, Anghapur, Gagra and Cheena Dherai and Ealai through Gammon Pakistan Ltd. Besides hundreds of Schools and Hospitals, two colleges at Matta and Daggar were in final touches. Wadudia Hall was built which added new glory to Jahanzeb College.

In mid of sixties, our head of State P.W.D. was invited by the United Kingdom Government to participate in a Common Wealth Engineering Exhibition held in London, so he went there for a fortnight. In short everything was running smoothly. There were no signs of any drastic change in the prevailing scenario. All of a sudden some fishy indications started blipping.

There were reports of some subversive incidents at the remote areas. The Pakistani press suddenly started spitting venom against the State. Some desolated elements within the State joined hands with anti-State organizations. Statements appeared in English and Urdu National Dailies under fake names.

I started writing letters to the Editors of Pakistan Times and Khyber Mail under the name of Qasim Shahab in reply to the onslaught of the opposition side. Even then, no one could imagine that the State would soon be dissolved.

We were doing our routine manuals as nothing was going to happen. We thought it a wave of wishful thinking and would soon subside as we had observed before from time to time. Previously the show ran for a few days and then all would become normal. But this time the movement gained momentum every day.

The most surprising matter was the smooth running of the State system. All offices were busy in their routine activities. Our developmental works were in running in full swing. No sign of change in the common man attitude. It seemed that the whole upheaval was limited to the print media. I was not so much “in”. Even then I felt uneasy and perturbed. We knew nothing about the system prevailing in Pakistan. We could not envisage our future in that large body. So we had much anxieties about life, our kids, their free education and most important, sense of peace and security. Even the Ruling family did not give the least signs of the impending change. May be the high echelon of officers knew something but they were lip tight. I used to have an hour of setting with the Naib Salar Umara Khan and Mahmood Khan Secretary to H.H. the Wali, every night after Esha, along with my father. We played Cards and had routine talks but this topic never came under discussion.

As a commoner we knew nothing that there were hot and serious discussions going on about the future of the State, its people, the Ruler, the State Employees, on the highest level.

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