KARACHI: This is with reference to your story “Transitions: Bhutto’s confidant passes away at 82” (June 9). You have done well to recall quite accurately, the career of Mohammad Khan Junejo who was Sindh’s home secretary 40 years ago.
In the years spanning the demise of the one-unit scheme, the war with India and the emergence of Bangladesh, the late Junejo was a sub-divisional magistrate in the harbour area, while I was the district magistrate of Karachi. I was still the district magistrate when he became home secretary of the province.
As Zulfikar Ali Bhutto took power in a diminished Pakistan, he looked for civil servants who, in those troubled times, would carry out his orders without demur. Junejo fit that description and was competent to boot. However, to his credit, it must be said that he fully owned his actions and continued to treat me as his boss without, in any way, making me a party to his freewheeling actions. He was an efficient and helpful field officer.
Junejo’s sudden and out-of-turn elevation to a policy job with a political mandate later exacted a heavy price — long years in jail in failing health — but got very little reward. He was appointed ambassador to Bahrain for a few years when Benazir Bhutto came to power.
It proved a bad bargain for him. The last 25 years of his life were spent in seclusion and, I hear, in poor health. As a career civil servant, he should have earned greater appreciation and higher rewards for his qualities. That holds true for the civil servants of today — but who cares when the going is good.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 13th, 2012.
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