MR G.D. Memon, who died in Karachi the other day, belonged to that, now all but extinct, tribe of finance officials who relished saying ‘no’ to every expen-diture out of the public treasury. He was penny-pinching even in times when the governments as a rule were frugal.

In 1960 when this writer, after completing the civil service training, was posted in the finance department of the West Pakistan secretariat as budget officer, deputy secretary G.D. Memon’s economical skills were in full display in integrating the diverse pay-scales (running into hundreds) and expenses of the four provinces and the princely states merging into One Unit.

A.G.N. Kazi, finance secretary and M.M. Ahmad, additional chief secretary, assisted by men like Memon, then put up a government for West Pakistan (now Pakistan) which was smaller and more economical than the government of the smallest province of today.

The secretariat had just five cars in the pool. It was hard to get sanction for a sixth one. Both Kazi and Ahmad came in driving their own cars while their orderlies waited to empty their dickies of the files they had carried home.

I do not know how G.D. Memon came in or went out for he was at work when I came in and was still at work when I left.

Hard work doesn’t kill. G.D. Memon died well into his nineties. M.M. Ahmad, perhaps, fell short of 90 by a few weeks while A.G.N. Kazi still leads a quiet life in Islamabad beating both of them.

In their lives lies a lesson for the present harassed and insecure generation of civil servants: hard work prolongs both career and life.

kunwaridris@hotmail.com

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