PESHAWAR: Speakers at a ceremony here on Wednesday termed a newly published book as basic guidelines for the upcoming public servants and administrators.

They said that the author chronicled fascinating account of his over 40-year service in different parts of the country including tribal districts, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The event was arranged at Area Study Centre, University of Peshawar, to launch the book ‘Frontier Stations’ authored by former bureaucrat Shakil Durrani.

Former bureaucrats, senior faculty members and students of the university attended the event.

The speakers said that author had revived traditions of writing memoirs in a lucent manner to attract readers and present visible picture of his experiences and observations on a number of issues.

They pointed out that the book was not a dry recall but a fluent commentary remixed with anecdotes, satire and humour to spur instant thought on deteriorating moral standards and societal bankruptcy. “Besides a fascinating account, the book offers an insight into how system of public service survives in the wake of castigated so-called power welders,” they added.

Prof Shabir Ahmad Khan, the director of Area Study Centre, said that book contained lessons for all segments of the society and the intuitions working in the public domain as the author had based his observations on empirical data.

He said that it was just a dirge on the rotten system but also offered some practical steps to improve and reform the mindset governing the entire societal engine amidst political manoeuvring.

Prof Azamat Hayat Khan, former vice-chancellor of UoP, said that the book should be read as a text narrating tale of bad governance in the light of experiences of a civil servant, who preserved a glimpse of reasons behind crumbling edifice of public life.

Sahibzada Riaz Noor, former bureaucrat, remarked that such accounts of civil servants provided guidelines for upcoming officers. He said that the book was written in a frank narrative suggesting a dire need for gradual transformation of society through fair justice and accountability. “All the ills rampant in our society should be seen in a historical perspective,” he added.

Rustam Shah Mohmand, another former bureaucrat, commented that the book highlighted all the gray areas that forced every thinking mind to be worried about including agriculture, health, education and several other fields.

The author, Shakil Durrani, said that the book was both commentary on system of administration in the country and also a revisit of his memories drenched in scathing satirical undertones, which would benefit readers and research scholars alike at many levels.

Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2021

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