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These ‘prestigious’ awards

December 17, 2012

AMONG the top stories on Dec 3, one was about PIA’s VIP flight, carrying the Chief Justice, legislators and other VIPs, catching fire. On Dec 1 or 2, there was news through PIA sources that some international aviation safety concern had awarded PIA the safety award.

In the mid-1970s, I was then working in Pakistan Machine Tool Factory Limited, a prestigious national mega project. We had just started production but were underutilised.

We were new entrant in the local market and had not entered into export so far. A letter was received from France that a panel of international judges had selected us for an international award being par excellence in high precision quality.

We were told the award was to be given at a ceremony scheduled in Paris to be attended by chambers of commerce and industries, trade bodies, chief executives of multinationals and ministers from all over the world.

At our end, we needed to appoint a representative to receive the said award and, according to the lucky letter, we were to remit $1,000 as registration fee for the process.We had then a deputy commercial manager, Aslam Niaz, an intelligent commercial-minded engineer.

While our managing director (in uniform) prayed that the time of ceremony may come near, this deputy manager suggested and stressed that initially the Pakistan embassy be approached to have the first liaison with the organisers of the event.

The Pakistan embassy informed us that the organisers were unknown in the high French government circles. It added that the organisers were not even listed in the local telephone directory and they were located in a single room, doors of which were found closed whenever the embassy visited.

Today, not merely in Pakistan but almost everywhere in the Middle East, Asia and in developing countries, one can find while entering every second bank, every second airline office, every second mobile service provider office, etc., an award from this or that organisation after being declared the ‘best’ in the field concerned.

One has awards of being best in customer ‘service’, the other being best in customer ‘care’, the third one best in ‘corporate culture’, the forth one best in ‘public order’, the fifth one best in ‘public perception’, etc.

M. J. Karachi