Riaz Shah Night – a memorable tribute

 

Riaz Shah Sahib was a Pakistani born Australian, who was known as Muhammad Rafi of Sydney among the Sub-continent and Fiji communities in Australia. He was from Dera Ghazi Khan originally and spent a large part of his life in Sydney. Music was his passion and Rafi Sahib was his ideal. He always loved singing Rafi’s songs in private partied and music programs. Besides he had a very good sense of humour. He had a large fan base and many of his younger friends took him as their mentor. He was one of the pioneers who started Urdu radio programs in Sydney. Zahid Minhas was one of his most important friends. On the musical side Tariq Mahmood and Yahya Khan were very close to him and Yahya claims that he was his genuine student who learnt art of singing from him.

Riaz Shah Sahib had a cardiac arrest on the morning of 1st August 2018 (last year) and could not survive. His sudden death made his friends and acquaintances very sad. A large number of people from different backgrounds attended his funeral.

After few months of his death Mr. Arshad Butt organized a memorial musical program for giving him the tribute where many singers including me performed songs and shared our memories with the audience. However the function was not a very big one.

On 17th of August 20, 2019 Mr. Tariq Mahmood organized a proper program in the memory of his beloved friend. Riaz Shah Night proved a big success. A large number of people attended program and enjoyed listening to the talks and amazing musical performances by Tariq, Yahya, Wasim, Razia, Nitya, Priya Das, Yaseen Ali, Sonu, Sandhya, Vinod and myself. Song selection was too good and everyone delivered their best. I sang Zoheb Hasan’s Zara Chehra Tou Dikhao on my own recorded music. Others performed songs of Rafi, Kishore and Lata on karaoke tracks. But all sang very good. Yahya’s sound system was very good and delievered high quality sound.

Nadeem Nadvi, who especially flew from Melbourne and hosted the show, gave a superb performance. Zahid Minhas shared his beautiful memories with Shah Sahib. Riaz Shah Sahib’s daughters were also present at the event and they were called on stage and presented flowers by Mrs. Tariq.

This beautiful night continued till 11:00 pm and everyone congratulated the organizers for the success of event.

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A letter from the skies….. (Majid writes to the family)

Majid 10th anniversary

My dearest Sheddy Bhai Jaan,

I am writing you to share my feelings with you and the beloved family members. Allah ka laakh laakh shukar hay I am extremely happy and satisfied here in Jannah. Allah Ta’ala bohot hee meherbaan hay aur Uss nay mujh per apna bohot ehsaan kia hay. I however miss all of you. Aap sub logoun ki khariyat ka pata chalta rehta hay. Whenever someone joins me here after spending their life in the world, they tell me about you…..

Sultan bhai has just arrived. I was surprised to see him as I never expected he would pass away so early. Meri tarah who bhi uss dunya kay naheen thay. He was extra genius. Main yahaan un ki company bohot enjoy kerta hoon and many times we have our evening tea together in beautiful garden of Jannah, where we discuss about ongoing developments taking place in Pakistan and other areas of the world. He told me about PTI Government and the ongoing financial issues of country. So finally Imran Khan became the PM!!!

Aap logoun ke saath guzaara hua waqt bohot haseen tha. The way you taught me playing table tennis, squash and cricket, I can never forget. Rashid bhai jaan nay mujhay bike chalana sikhayee thee. Aap nay mujhay keyboard ke saath gaana sikhaya, and we used to sing beautiful songs together.

Abbu aur Ammi nay meri her khawahish poori ki. They got me admitted in English medium school. Mujhay FAST mein bhi unhaoun nay hee admission dilaya aur phir Melbourne bhi bhaija study kernay. How can I forget all those sweet memories!!!

The way we used to enjoy with cousins and close friends was amazing.  Uncles aur Aunties ki parody kernay ka bhi bohot mazaa aata tha qasam se 😀

Rania, Faraz, Sarah aur Aleeza say main nay bohot pyar kia and I miss them a lot. I wish them a great life. Mujhay Auntie Parveen se pata chala ke Rashid bhai jaan kee 2 aur baitiaan bhi meray baad dunya mein aayeen. I wish I could have seen them. Aap ka bhi Sultan bhai bataa rahay thay ke Australia mein set hou gaye hayn aur wahaan Pakistani community mein kaafi popular bhi hayn as a singer. Good to know about your achievements. Kaash mayn bhi aap ka music sun sakta…

Jannat bohot hee achhi jagah hay. Allah has blessed us with every neimat here. Anything I need or wish for, angels bring for me within a second. Lekin aap sub bohot yaad aatay hayn. Allah bless you all with prosperity and good health. Mujhay ab ijazat dayn. Shami is just coming to have chat with me in my mansion. Aur Yes Kabaddu Four (shughal) bhi lagay gaa…..

Love you all….

Aap ka MAJID

Who to follow for Eid/Ramadan; moon-sighting or science?

Once again I am confused about celebrating Eid this year. Muslims in Australia are divided on this issue. Some follow the moonsighting and some are the followers of Australian Imams Council, which generally follows the scientific calculation. Turkish community in Australia follows its on colander.

Rooty Hill Masjid, a Pakistani religious centre in Sydney, for last two years has been following a self-invented system. They follow moonsighting as per their claim but they announce Ramadan/Eid even if the moon is sighted in Indonesia and/or Malaysia, which itself is a very confusing thing.

Dr. Shabbir Ahmed,a renowned Pakistani cleric strictly follows the moonsighting and has developed a website which shows graphical presentation of moon visibility chances. As per his website Eid will commence on the 5th of June 2019.

MOON Eid

Australian Imams Council which follows the scientific calculation has announced that Eid will commence on 5th of June. Surprisingly TimeAndDate website shows birth of new moon on the eve of 3rd June and therefore 1st of Shawal will be on the 4th of June (next day). It is still out my understanding why the Imams Council announced Eid a day after the calculated date. Turkish community however is following their scientific calendar and will celebrate Eid tomorrow (4th of June).

Moon dates

I believe that this disagreement is expanding with the time which is not good for the Muslim Ummah. Senior Muslims scholars must sit together and agree to one system; whether scientific or the moonsighting. This will present a better image of Muslims to the non-Muslims.

Australia needs to learn from US’s experience

USA Success

I got a chance of visiting the United States in 2015. Purpose was to spend holidays with some friends. At the same time I wanted to explore the secret of America’s amazing development in the areas of engineering, IT and entertainment (films and music). I came to know through my friend who was working in Google there that in the US you can achieve any top notch position if you have got talent and the right skills.

I met my school time tutor who was running his engineering consultancy successfully in Sacramento, California. I was amazed to know that he was working on US Defence projects being a Pakistani born Muslim. US has given opportunity to every single immigrant regardless of their creed and culture. CEOs of Google and Microsoft were born in India. Former US President Mr. Barrack Obama’s father had migrated to the US from Kenya. He was the first non-white US president.

UK also has set some good examples in encouraging people to lead who were born overseas and then migrated there. London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s family migrated to the UK many years ago from Pakistan.

In Australia I always have experienced that there is a fear or uncertainty. Both leading political parties Labor and Liberal give more than 90% of tickets to the white Australians. They however offer tickets to the migrant Australians mainly from those areas where they don’t have good chances to win. Similarly in the job market you hardly find any immigrant working at top level.

Australia migrants

Australia has got lot of talented people who need equal opportunities because they are Australians no matter where they were born. We are Australians and we expect that the society embraces us just like any other Australian. I am 100% sure that together we can make Australia a real great country like USA and UK.

NESPAK – What’s happening inside the prestigious engineering organisation?

I graduated in Civil Engineering from UET Lahore in 1998. I was a good student but never was in top 10% to be honest. Reason for this was my passion for music and interest in managing co-curricular activities during the university days.

NESPAK

Toppers of my class joined NESPAK which was the best engineering consultancy firm of Pakistan at that time. I could only dream to join such a great organisation. I joined a private environmental consultancy and started my career from there. In 2005 after having done my masters in Environmental Engineering and with more than 6 years of experience in Pakistan and Dubai (UAE) and got opportunity to work with EPHE (Environmental & Public Health Engineering) Division of NESPAK. I joined them as Senior Engineer (Grade 9) and soon was shifted to the environmental assessment group. Due to my better report writing skills in a very short period by the grace of Allah I made good name. I was appreciated by World Bank and Asian Development Bank monitoring missions for my EIA reports.

NESPAK was a big step indeed in my professional career, however when I joined the organisation I unfortunately realised that it was not that level of an organisation what I had in my mind. There was favouritism and injustice there that hurt me the most. Incapable and dishonest persons were given promotions, and hardworking and honest professionals were not treated in the way they deserved. Jamil Bajwa was the head of our division when I left NESPAK for joining a contracting firm in Dubai. He was made head of the division without any merit and due to this reason I decided to leave the firm as some other non-deserving persons were also promoted. Later after my leaving the firm, Bajwa got retired and M. Sajid was the next head of division. In spite of their involvement in dirty politics, both of them were not seen directly involved in any monetary or moral corruption.

There was a bad time coming ahead for NESPAK that no one could have thought of. Muhammad Zubair was made head of the division after Sajid’s retirement. He is a person with very bad reputation due to his involvement in scandals with the female employees of the division. He tried harassing two junior females of the division and is facing cases/judicial inquiries now. One of very senior engineers, Mr. Kashif Bashir, who was  accused for having an affair with his subordinate female engineer, had a serious issue with Zubair when latter transferred his subordinate (who was accused of having afair with Mr. Bashir) to the other division. Kashif Bashir took it as an insult and abused Zubair verbally in front of the whole division. Zubair’s favourite Aamir Munir printed a letter against Kashif Bashir and got signatures from the colleagues to make Zubair happy. What’s going on????

In Geotechnical & Geoenvronmental Engineering division of NESPAK, sexual harassment complaints came out against a senior level engineer who has a bad reputation from his university days. He also was found involved in monetary corruption and was warned by his head of the division that any further mistake would kick him out of the job. His resignation was typed and kept by the head of division with no date on that.

Today I feel very sad that such culprits brought down image of most reputable engineering organisation of Pakistan and they had to develop ‘sexual harassment policy’ in order to control their employees. Shameful indeed! I wish that some well reputed engineering professional is appointed as Managing Director of NESPAK who could take courage and punish all such culprits who are damaging the repute of this great organisation.