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Ziaul Hassan Rizvi: a tribute

November 28, 2012

THE death in Canada of Ziaul Hassan Rizvi, one of Pakistan's top hydraulic engineers and the one who made a major contribution to the country’s coastal development, went virtually unnoticed in his country. He died of pancreatic cancer in Toronto, Canada, on the 28th of last month. He was 82.

Mr Rizvi graduated in 1952 from the NED Engineering College (now University), Karachi, and later earned a postgraduate degree in hydraulic engineering from the famous Delft Institute of the Netherlands (1958).

He received several fellowship awards during the early period of his professional career, including the FOA fellowship in the US, the UN fellowship in the Netherlands, the Colombo plan scholarship in the UK, and the JICA fellowship in Japan for further specialisation in computerised data-based programme and other related technique on port development and management.

He thus made impressive contributions in the field of coastal engineering, ports and harbour development, receiving international recognition.

The first 24 years of his professional career were devoted largely to activities at the national level and played a key role in spearheading the coastal development programme and inland waterways in East Pakistan. Based on extensive research and survey of coastal creeks, his recommendation was accepted by the government to build a port on the Phitti Creek. This eventually led to the development of the Port Qasim Authority of which he was the project director and later a member (technical) of the board of the authority.

In the last 29 years, Mr Rizvi's services were used by the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the African Development Bank and the Canadian International Development Agency in support of port and related development programmes requested by many countries, including Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and 10 others in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

After retirement he continued voluntary services for agencies responsible for development of Pakistan, including Gwadar.

Mr Rizvi had to his credit a number of research publications and lectures. His last contribution is the book The Containership: How Big is Big Enough (A Port Authority's Dilemma) published by a London science and technology publishing company. It was written to cater to the emerging needs of developing countries. Mr Rizvi is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter, who currently live in Canada and Malaysia, respectively.

S. M. HAQ, Former Director of the Institute of Marine Biology, Karachi University, and Head of Capacity Building Programme for IOC and Unesco Cincinnati, US