Retired banker trying to enter Soneri thru backdoor

CHITRAL, Sept 10: If appointments in private institutions like banks are made on criteria other than merit, it would certainly destroy the institutions. But if yardstick for such appointments has even a tinge of affiliations – political, ethnic, sectarianism etc., – it would be catastrophic for a society like ours where peace is closely  liked to harmony and cohesion. The  disturbing news is that one of the leading private banks in Chitral is hiring an individual not on merit but purely on the basis of his close affiliation with a strong group that has been calling the shots in the affairs of institutions owned and operated by a particular community. Well-placed sources told that the top administration of Soneri Bank, which is owned by some businessmen belonging to Karachi, is trying its level best to hire Sabz Ali, who had got retirement from The Bank of Khyber (BoK) Chitral branch after reaching the age of superannuation, as a branch manager in Chitral. They said if Sabz Ali was appointed because of backdoor connections with the owners of the bank in Karachi and Lahore, it would badly affect the working of the bank in the area and create resentment among the educated and well deserving youth. A senior religious leader in the valley on condition of anonymity told this correspondent that the move would strengthen allegations that a mafia in the Ismaili community in Chitral was running the affairs of the Ismaili institutions with nepotism and favoritism. He said this group was also responsible for denying jobs and other facilities to the deserving youths belonging to the Ismaili community. According to him, Mr Ali is the son-in-law of Fida Hussain, a man who has got good connections at the top level from Chitral to Karachi, and he is busy in using his cards to put his so-in-law at his desired position. “Do you think it is justified? No. It isn’t. The bank always operates with the cooperation of businessmen, including support of local people, irrespective of community affiliation,” he maintained. He further objected that Sabz Ali is a retired banker and must not be put at the top management of a bank which is in its infancy. “Our job is to point out to the top management before they pick up people like Sabz Ali, but even then if he is so dear to them we will see how Soneri Bank will flourish in Chitral,” he added. The sources said Sabz Ali had started using his connections with the top management of the bank in Karachi, which has directed the management sitting in Islamabad to accommodate him at any cost. The people of the area have called upon the top management of the bank to think twice before giving the sole opportunity to Sabz Ali, who has already crossed his 60s and what innovation they expect from him. They advised the administration to go for a young educated an energetic person. It may be noted that Saz Ali is a senior retired banker with a degree in International Relations. He had worked as personal secretary to late Hayat Mohammad Khan Sherpao, who was killed in a bomb blast at a rally  in Peshawar in 1975. Sabz Ali joined BoK after Mr Sherpao’s killing and retied some two years back from the BoK Chitral.]]>

20 Replies to “Retired banker trying to enter Soneri thru backdoor”

  1. Chitral Today is doing a wonderful job as far as corrupt and mighty people of Chitral are concerned. There was a time when people of Chitral used to afraid of these big fish but how things have changed altogether within a short span of time. It is amazing. The way Zulfiqar Ahmad has exposed a totally unjustified appointment by flouting the merit, for which the Ismaili community claims to be the champion, is commendable. These people should be exposed otherwise more septuagenarians will come forward by using their decades-old relationships in the down country. I would request Mr. Zulfiqar to dig into a similar case of nepotism regarding appointment of a coordinator in Abdul Wali Khan University’s Chitral sub-campus, where a retired “baba” has illegally occupied the top post. Thank you very much.

  2. We should be thankful to Allah almighty for his blessings. These young blood are our assets. They are the custodians of this valley and they are our future. I was so glad when I saw the young generation comments in response to Mr Zulfikar’s story. The way they reacted to some greedy flatterers was excellent. These flatterers had nothing to say but even then they left no stone unturned to please their masters as they were born for such jobs. First they came up with the plea that they are political minded when they were forced to run away by my “Chitrali Shaheens”, they came up in another shape declaring themselves as very sincere Ismailis. These are not Ismailis. These are the opportunists, who always look for right time to get the blessings of some influential in the community as well as the area. They are frustrated and they have been trained like that and they will remain so throughout their lives. We should not expect anything from them that they will ever challenge to an influential or a corrupt person in society like Mr Zulfikar did. Who does not know Zulfikar. He is the man who exposed an influential Chitrali bureaucrat based in Islamabad after he sexually harassed a poor Chitrali girl, who was working at his home as a maid. Nobody dared to say anything against the bureaucrat and it was again Zulfikar who exposed him. I, including many other Chitarlis are witnessed to his bravery. The bureaucrat was not even ready to talk to any Chitrali but when Zulfikar exposed him, he realized that Chitralis are also human being and nobody can treat them like beasts. Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali who was the MNA at that time, raised the issue from the floor of National Assembly after Zulfikar, showing the press clippings of Zulfikar’s story. For further details you can ask Janat Hoor baji, as it was she who provided all the details to Zulfikar. After then he broke the story quoting his sources, they way he had written against Sabz Ali. The end result was that the bureaucrat had to compensate the poor Chitrali girl, who was from Lotkoh not from Mastuj, the hometown of Zulfikar. I would urge everybody to appreciate such people, who can challenge those who claim to be the influentials. Nobody is influential, nobody is above the law. We all are equal citizens and those who think they are the sacred cows, must be taken to task, which only courageous people like Zulfikar can do. Shabash my young generation, we are proud of you, keep it up and snatch your rights.

  3. well done Mr. Zulfiqar Ahmed by exposing the black wolves which are not only burden on the Ismaili community but also bring a bad name to AKDN. A few years back, I read in one of the local websites that a person was rejected for a job because he did not have a particular blood group though he met the merit.
    Zait, Chitral.

  4. @Jahanzaib Khan: Rotten Sunni…it is lovely, beautiful, isn’t it? Actually people like Janzaib are the true ambassadors and independent people of my beautiful Chitral. Rotten Ismaili here sir…I salute your dignity. This should be the spirit of every independent Chitrali particularly the young blood. The guys who play the role of Mulalh-do-Piyaza and Birbal should learn instead of trying to get the sympathies of these so-called opportunists, who are out to accomplish their nefarious goals.
    The journalist, who has exposed the internal politics at Soneri Bank Chitral, is 200 percent right. Let me confirm that there is not even a single Sunni at the Soneri Bank Chitral, out of its total eight employees. Now the entry of my uncle Sabz Ali, who is my far off relative, is not acceptable to even we the Ismailis, what to talk of Sunnis.
    I know Mr Zulfi as he is known among friends as a very stubborn man and I have no hesitation to say that he is the best friend and the worst enemy. But at the same time, he is a man of principles and a brave journalist, which needs no certification from anybody.
    Let his opponents say whatever they like and the right time come when you will have to face the wrath for whatever you have been propagating against him like blackmailer etc. He is a brave man and these propagandas by none other than his own relatives like Jalil will not dent his credibility. We the Chitralis know him very well and proud of him.
    He has a track record of reigning in the corrupt elements in the society and those who claim that they are the best and nobody dare say anything to them, which is evident from one of his stories against a superintend of Wapda Chitral, whom he had taken to task with the power of his pen.

  5. @Asghar Ali: Dear friend since you have claimed that no degree is needed to run a bank as what a bank wants is a man with a rich monetary background. If this is so then Mr Fida Hussain is most eligible candidate. He should step in and make efforts without wasting time for lucrative slot, laying vacnt at Soneri Bank Chitral as he is the most ideal choice and yes don’t forget to nominate Haji Musafir Khan as a covering candidate. Don’t know in which world we people are living, may God help us!

  6. Greetings dear Chitralis,
    I am not astonished to read Abdul Jalil and Nadir Khan – two good sympathizers, same thinking, same out-mooted ideas with childish arguments. Oh my dear God this frustration kills them, please help them out. But this is not their fault as they were born in an atmosphere prevailing in and around the valley.
    Don’t hesitate in speaking the truth as this will nurture creativity in you. Just come out of the shell as you are young and have a long way to go. Intimidation is ruthless so try to understand and don’t follow in the footsteps of those who have bulldozed the real values of the Chitrali society, in which you are also equally involved without knowing what you are doing.
    Just look at them how naive they are and they have tried to make a mountain out of a mole hill without even realizing that the job of a real journalist is to keep a vigilant eye on the happenings around him. If you do not know this is called investigative journalism. A journalists should have reliable sources who can give him the correct information whenever needed.
    Think positively and let merit prevail in the area as this is the need of the hour and we have been left far behind due to not having the courage to speak out against the mighty. It is not sectarian at all but the man in question had wanted to exploit his sect, ignoring both Ismailis and Sunnis for his own personal benefit.
    My friend Asghar Ali has also declared Mr Sabz Ali as a man of connections, and expressed optimism that he would bring deposits in a great number, which is also not a very healthy argument. Sabz Ali might be having about Rs6-7 million, which is a peanut and a large number of people will disassociate themselves from the business with Soneri Bank if he was given a chance to run the affairs of the bank as rightly pointed out by the author.
    I don’t think the journalist has any clash with anybody, including Sabz Ali, as his job is to break a story, and which he had done professionally. I am a rotten Sunni and working with a top financial institution. This has nothing to do with sectarianism and I’m sure that in future other people with conscience must expose all those who want to enter lucrative jobs through backdoor channels and giving a bad name to institutions as well the community.
    Such efforts on parts of people like Mr Zulfikar will help in bridging the gap between Sunnis and Ismailis. This is not the Chitral of 1980s, where both the sects attacked each other due to some misunderstanding, which claimed innocent lives from both sides. I would request people like Jalil not to try to give a sectarian colour to it.
    We appreciate and request Mr Zulfikar Ahmad to nab all those dishonest Chitralis whether Sunni or Ismaili, who are trying to hoodwink innocent people in the name of sects. This must be stopped and let the merit prevail as this is what both Sunnis and Ismailis want. Go ahead man we are with you and nab whoever is involved they should be exposed straightaway. Hats off to you sir!

    1. Dear Jahanzaib Khan,
      I simply wanna say hats off to you and to your thoughts. Wasim is very true while saying; people like Jahanzaib are the true ambassador of Chitral.
      Sir, meritocracy is a beautiful terminology by itself, and there is no second thought about merit being an important element of just and civilized societies.
      “This is not the Chitral of 1980s”. 100% agreed. Gone are the days when people were usually sensationalized through rhetoric mumbo jumbo, today intellectual discourse based on knowledge, wisdom and reasoning is a thing which matters.
      Best wishes!

  7. I am sure that Abdul Jalil is working on the payrole of Fida Hussain, otherwise a sensible man with an awakened-conscience will not blindly defend a man like him. I am shocked to know that some people, who claim to be the champion of Chitrali values, do not even slightly know about Chitrali values and could go to the lowest ebb in a bid to survive. By the way they have hired the services of a right man, who despite knowing nothing about the subject is trying his level best to protect his bosses. Since he has complained that Ismailis are not being given opportunity to work in Sunni-controlled NGOs, the sunnis have not got big NGOs and do not compare Al-Khidmat Foundation with NGOs like AKRSP and if you need a job just go and see anybody at Al-Khidmat foundation on my reference and I am sure they will accommodate you. Khudi ko kar baland intna keh her taqder a pahle, Khuda bandei sa khud puche ga bata tari raza kya ha! Do not be impressed of anybody, try to be amn of yourself as you are not less talented and intelligent than others, and what you need is to work hard, take care.

  8. My dear Abdul Jalil, the spokesman for Fida Hussain, listen to me carefully because you simply do not understand what the real issue is? The issue is that Sabz Ali is not qualified at all for the job as he is quite old and if you want to know more about him just visit BoK Chitral for details.
    As long as my understanding is concerned, nobody has given sectarian colour to his appointment rather it has been pointed out that a mafia is trying to turn Soneri Bank into a controversy.
    Pls stop crying that Ismailis are being targeted because they are not sparrows that they will be targeted. I am also an Ismaili and do not see any smell of sectarianism in the story. There are so many other Ismailis and they are more strong and defend their community.
    If you are a humble disciple of Fida Hussain, majority of Ismailis do not like him and people like him including you must be made accountable. Don’t try to get sympathies of Ismailis on the pretext that Ismailis are being targeted.
    All the Ismalis including Sunnis have equal rights on the Imamat institutions because we all Sunnis and Ismailis are brothers. It is just because of people like you that a large number of Ismailis were martyred in 1982 due to wrong policies of your leadership.
    We the young generation want to live with peace and harmony. We do not accept your leadership. Nobody can target the Ismailis because they play a major role in the development of Chitral but you people simply defame Ismailis to protect your own vested interest.
    You have no right to call the young generation so-called educated. If somebody speaks good English, it is not his fault. The Ismailis know it very well how to protect their rights and nobody can dare say anything to them.
    There are so many other Sunnis who are equally alert that nobody will be allowed to disrupt peace. What we want merit not safarish as this is what the His Highness says that meritocracy should prevail. And together we Ismalis and Sunnis will fight for merit.

  9. I totally disagree with the allegation of the writer and subsequent comments by educated youth of Chitral regarding appointment of a retired banker in a private commercial bank. Every commercial bank in its initial stage of operation needs sound deposit base, therefore, Soneri Bank Ltd. hired two retired bankers as a branch manager for Chitral and Booni belonging to financially sound families, having large personal deposit and good PR in market some three years back. For the last many years, due to the good number of private commercial banks, job requirement in banking industry has totally changed from the past. Currently, the banks have no concern with the degree and academic background of the candidate but the matter of concern for the bank is how much deposit you can pile up within a month or year. A very first question in interview for every bank job is how much deposit you can pile up within three or six months. A bank, like SBL in its infancy needs a senior banker of good repute for the post of branch manager in Chitral, therefore, Mr Sabz Ali is one of the deserving candidates for the said position because he has personal deposit, belong to sound financial family and has vast marketing experience in Chitral. There is no role of Ismaili council and any other jamati leadership in his appointment. To write about corruption is the responsibility of the journalists but giving it a religious touch is ridiculous. The article shows that Mr.Zulfiqar has some personal rancor with Mr. Sabz Ali or he has a personal interest in the appointment that is why he has tried to create a state of hatred among the two communities in Chitral. Being a Chitrali it is our responsibility to create religious harmony for peaceful and prosperous Chitral.

  10. Shocked to read the comments of so-called educated youth, they are crossing all limits and have forgotten Chitrali values for sure. The man is an experienced person and private organizations often hire experienced retired people as consultants or full time employees. Secondly, it’s the choice and decision of the management of the bank, its upto them, they are the ones who make decisions which best fit their organization. If there had been any competitive exam and if anyone was discriminated there, we would have also protested.
    Who told the writer that Mr.XYZ is being hired? and that the management is favoring him? Prior to his appointment and bank’s decision, a writer comes to know through his sources that this person is being appointed, it surely shows that the writer had some interest in the said job, and that he had also approached the management where his sources might have told him about the bank’s decision to include a retired experienced person. The writer after not being able to get favor, took another path and attacked the bank and the man interested in the job in order to blackmail them. In doing so he crossed all limits and tried to give it sectarian color as well.
    He also questions the credibility of the most noble institutes of Ismaili Imamat , and interferes in matters of its paid employees. And the so-called educated youth, who after studying few texts of English and staying in hostels in cities have forgotten all values which their ancestors preserved for centuries; join him in the black mailing mission and started supporting him. What picture of Chitral are you presenting? Chitralis were never like this, Chitralis who were famous for their humbleness, honesty and peaceful mind are now being stereotyped negatively just because the youth has forgotten Chitrali values, cultural system and your comments are shocking for those who are living in Chitral and reading them, as honest and humble Chitralis are turning into professional blackmailers instead of improving themselves.

  11. Totally irrelevant and blackmailing, not journalism. For God’s sake try to be mature and do not become a laughing stock even in the 21st century. Debate is good but blackmailing tactic is a curse. If a guy is being given job in a private organization, where does religion come to play a role. I am surprised the so-called educated youth has not come out of the stereotype. Look, community development is taking roots all over the world and it is good. In Chitral, there have been complaints from educated youths belonging to even Ismaili community that they are being discriminated against in job allocations. Secondly, a vested interest group has always spread propaganda and terrorized the Ismaili community in the name of religion to get benefits. Can anyone of you answer my one question. There are plenty of organizations being run by a politico-religious party of Chitral and how many jobs it has given to people from other communities like the Ismailis? And how many times the Ismailis have accused this particular party of promoting sectarian tension by discriminating them in jobs? It is very unfortunate and it saddens me when even the people claiming to be educated see to everything through the prism of religion to blackmail others. If you are sincere with Chitral and want its people live in peace and see progress and come out of poverty, work for the promotion of humanity and do not look at everything with prejudiced eyes. Of course, there are problems and issues because we are part of a society where corruption has become part of life.
    Karachi West

  12. First of all, I, and all like-minded Chitralis, would like to give a standing ovation to Chitral Today for doing a great service to Chitrali nation, which had been hijacked. You deserve congratulations and we the youth of Chitral are proud of you!
    At time, we were disappointed thinking how to reign in such mafias who first ousted late Salahuddin from Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP) and then Prince Masood Ul Mulk fell prey to these crocodiles.
    This is called true journalism, which only fearless and brave people like Mr. Zulfikar Ahmad can do. We the younger generation should stand up and discourage people who are trying their level best to occupy every good position they come across despite crossing 60s.
    My humble advice to some people is that they should first learn to differentiate between a story and a letter. Mr. Zulfikar Ahmad has not written a letter as he is a journalist and his job is to break a story, which he did in a wonderful way. As long as their demand to kill an exclusive story is concerned, you are nobody to dictate a professional journalist, which story he should run and which he shouldn’t. Cheers!

  13. I agree with the comment of Sarirudin! The writer of this article has done great job by highlighting corruption, sectarianism and favouritism in Soneri Bank. The bank in question should also hire deserving people belonging to all communities. The Soneri Bank, and all other institutions as well, should hire people on merit.

  14. We, the young generation of this beautiful backward valley are proud of you and salute your courage and bravery…bravo Mr Zulfikar Ahmad! Expose these black sheep one by one as these people are neither Ismailis nor Sunnis. Utho meri dunya k garibon ko jaga do, Khak-e-umra k dar-o-diwar hila do! They have no religion and the thing which matters to them is money for which they can do anything.
    My message to Mr Jalil is that take care of yourself and do not be impressed of Fida Hussain that much as the poor man is struggling for his own survival and you could not get his attention how hard you try.

  15. Though the writer has done a good job by highlighting the attempts of backdoor appointments, at the same time he has given the issue a sectarian touch which is illogical and seems biased. This blackmailing leads to the conclusion that some relatives of the author have been denied the job. I think we need to keep in mind that: firstly, the owners of the bank being Isma’ili does not make this bank an Isma’ili bank; secondly, as evident from the piece of writing itself that the retired manger is being given the job because of his affiliation with an influential, not because of his belonging to Isma’ili community. Thirdly, favouritism has become a normal practice in our country; therefore, no institution is spared from it that is why this incident is not a unique one. To highlight the corruption and lack of merit in our society is the responsibility of journalists but giving these incidents religious and sectarian colour shows our traditional habit of blackmailing.

  16. Totally agreed with the writer as it is the time for the specific person (already retired) to go home and provide the fresh and energetic young people of the area with an opportunity to play their role by introducing the new concepts of business. Secondly, I do not agree with the comments at first and third number as this piece of article does not show that it is a result of any personal grudge or stuff. We must actually appreciate such writers who are pointing out things in the initial stage before they give birth to serious issues. I do not know why people are relating this simple piece of article to personal tussles as it simply revolves around the general issue. I must let Mr. Abdul Jalil know that we are living in a democratic state, in which “all eligible citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives.” Being a writer and a courageous young representative of the area, Mr. Zulfikar Ahmad has done a great job. He is known among the best journalists of Islamabad so he can’t be wrong at highlighting issues. He knows journalism well; so, let him perform his duty towards his area. Journalism does not mean buttering or talking about the luxuries and stuff. Its another main aim is to draw attention towards the social issues and to write against something unlawful as well. So take it smoothly, there is no need to take it into your nerves. Seriously, do not know why we people do not have the guts to face the realities, though they are hard to digest.
    Moreover, the aim of this article seems to highlight the idea of providing opportunities on the basis of merit and to right person with right capabilities rather than hiring at the back of some personal contacts. May be you are not the one, who is going to suffer because of such hiring within our area but we, the new generation of Chitral want a fair and merit-based appointments. In short, I would like to appreciate the honest and sincere effort of Mr. Zulfikar Ahmad for highlighting such issues of Chitral in so fabulous way. Writers like him are the ones who fight for the rights of the new generation. God bless him. Thank you.

  17. Irrelevant. It seems like traditional blackmailing techniques are being used to pressurize Soneri Bank. In Chitral such tactics are used by some professional black mailers to serve their vested interests. Sorry to say but I didnt expected it from Mr. Zulfiqar Ahmad who is a senior journalist. He is getting more than bias. Seems like someone from the writer’s side was trying to get the job, and they had also approached top management that’s why he is saying that the top management is on Mr. Sabz Ali’s side. The writer in order to stop Soneri Bank from hiring Mr.Sabz Ali, and for his own interests, is using such language which might cause sectarian rift among Chitralis. I guess he is unaware of the harm he is causing to the Jamat.
    Private banks have their own hiring systems, they appoint people straight away at times. Mr.Sabz Ali is an experienced banker, therefore, the bank wants to hire him, but there is no harm in it, and the people of Chitral have nothing to do with whoever Soneri Bank hires. Only those who are interested in the job might be interested.
    The criticism on Fida Hussain sahib is baseless, he has been serving the community since past many decades. He was the only one to speak throught out hard times. His properties were once distroyed if you remember, that’s why he is respected in the Imamat institutions and has a good reputation.
    At last I would request to the editor of Chitral Today, that why are you publishing such letters which have nothing to do with the public of Chitral and are aimed-planted at disgracing and black mailing people. The forum of Chitral Today is being used to black mail people. Using names of people who are respected in Chitral, accusing them of corruption, black mailing a known bank management, making an appointment significant issue and giving it sectarian color. The writer has abused journalism I must say, and Chitral Today should delete this letter instead of publishing it, as the newspaper’s neutrality is being questioned because of such planted letters which are being further used to pressure organizations and people.

  18. The writer has rightly pointed out that this is a mafia, which, if not reigned in, will occupy all Imamat institutions just like Fida Hussain. Fida Hussain has been ruling over the State office for the last four decades and is seriously considering how he would manage to appoint one of his sons as his successor to run the State Office. These are the mafias, which must abandon the Imamat Institutions or it will harm the Ismaili community. The State Office is not the sole property of Fida Hussain. There are so many other qualified Ismailis, who can run the affairs of the State Office without any corruption. Let us imagine for a second that the writer has personal grudges (though he is not)! How Fida Hussain became richest overnight? Same is the case with his son in law Sabez Ali, his entry into Soneri bank will dent the institution to the point of no return. Let me share an interesting thing with you that Saze Ali opened a Bata shoes shop in Krup Risht bazar adjacent to Masyar Khan shop but could not run it. So how he will be able to run a bank like Soneri.
    Ejaz Munawar
    Chitral (Jhagoor)

  19. Whatever this scribe has written about the peace and harmony with reference to the appointment in Soneri Bank is illogical and irrelevant. The better way to think in the best interest of the institution is to go and contact with the people on the echelon of the Bank and share the realities behind it. There may have been other reasons for the scribe writing such kind of thing about the persons in question. There may have been personal grudges, likes and dislikes and promotional and appointment opportunities of writer and his relatives or friends etc., Therefore, he aims on these people.

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