Success Story Interview by Umar Khan
Kamyab Engineer Program initiated for unemployed engineers by Engr. Waseem Nazir; He can enhance employment through $20 billion worth of investment coming in over the next years
Engr. Waseem Nazir is only non-political candidate for Chairman of Pakistan Engineering Council
Today we are focusing on a particular issue. The issue at hand is a national issue due to which Pakistan’s economic development has stopped. This issue is related to the engineering sector, because a country’s development is dependent on its engineering sector. If all sectors of engineering don’t undergo proper development, then the country cannot develop either. For the past many decades Pakistan has been facing many challenges. We have seen that Allah has given Pakistan many opportunities but unfortunately our politicians didn’t have the ability to lead Pakistan towards the road of development. Because of this, politicians get votes from the public and recruit their own representatives in non-political institutes, due to which the rate of corruption increases. This results in our engineers being disappointed. But a ray of hope shone through the clouds of disappointment, that maybe the problems that each engineer has to face might be solved one day. And they saw this hope in a person who does not need an introduction. This person has an international experience of about 40 years. He has more than 500 projects that have been helping the development of Pakistan. This great personality is none other than Chairman Professional Excellence Group Engineer Waseem Nazeer.
Q-1. What is your strategy? How will you resolve the issues of the engineers in the coming times?
Engr. WN: First of all, I will tell you a little history about engineering. The engineering profession is regulated through the Pakistan Engineering Council. PEC was established in 1976 and it is the only body of engineering through which the engineering profession is regulated according to acts and bylaws. So, what you talked about in your introduction that the development of Pakistan depends on engineering is true without a doubt. If Pakistan’s engineers are regulated properly, and if all their requirements are met according to the act and bylaws, then engineers can play their true role in the development of Pakistan.
Unfortunately, these issues have been going on in Pakistan for the past 40 years, but the degree at which these issues kept going on resulted in 110,000 engineers being unemployed. There is an issue on their quality, questions have arisen on their structure. It has been 6 weeks since I started campaigning and every day is new for me, because I meet with the stakeholders of the engineering profession, and after meeting them I think that a different approach is necessary to deal with basket of issues of engineering that is filled to the brim. If you really pay attention, what really is engineering? Every day of your life starts with an engineer’s contribution. Electricity is because of the engineers, roads are because of the engineers, buildings are because of the engineers, so an engineer contributes a lot in society, but engineers don’t get that amount of recognition, and hence don’t hold a great status. There are many reasons for this that I cannot explain or this interview would be very long, but one thing that I’m certain about is that a country cannot develop unless the engineering profession is promoted and regulated properly.
In the world, due to amazing regulation, this profession produces amazing opportunities, it produces amazing engineers and the society benefits from these engineers. It is now time that we consider why this profession was degraded so much in Pakistan, and how we can improve this situation. In my opinion Pakistan Engineering Council is the only institute that can contribute properly to the development of Pakistan as well as gain benefits. If we do this then we would be less dependent on foreign countries. We can produce good contractors, good consultants. The role of Pakistan engineering is very important to produce things, which we, as engineers, have failed to recognize. In this election, my prime objective is to make the engineering community realize the importance of PEC.
Q-2. How is your policy different from your opponents?
Engr. WN: The policy is a set policy and I will tell you the reason for that. This isn’t a welfare organization in which you make exaggerated claims, and then you gain votes as a result of those claims. My prime policy is to make PEC, PEC. How? In PEC, there are acts and bylaws, and my first priority is to regulate PEC according to its acts and bylaws. The second part of my policy is, you should be giving good quality of education, so that good engineers can be made. The third prime objective is to give the engineer good training, so that the engineer can have a good status in the society, and during their career, provide them with such opportunities that the engineers can grow professionally. I think that this should be the prime objective of every competitor, other aims are just mere garnishes. Now to act on this policy, what is our program? What is our agenda? And what are our needs? I will tell you that we have had these acts and bylaws for the past 40 years. Maybe it needs to be changed a bit to deal with the current situation.Bringing changes in order make it more dynamic is also part of my agenda.
Secondly i plan on fixing the issues that young engineers have to face. Those issues will be fixed through regulation, so that is an issue.
The third issue is, demand and supply. We are creating more engineers but we don’t have that much demand. It is necessary to manage the gap between demand and supply. So the policy should be made to lessen this gap, and there’s a method for that which is also very simple, which includes making a model ten years.
Q-3. Just now you counted so many issues that engineers have to face, but when the engineers have a choice to pick a solution, that is when they have the chance to vote in the elections, then why don’t they vote?
Engr. WN: If I look at it this way that, till now the engineer has kept his thoughts limited, that this is only for registration. And when he’ll realize that engineers can get a lot more opportunities of employment, development and training through the acts and bylaws then he might vote. But I think that engineers are not aware of that. Through our campaign we have spread a lot of awareness. This is only 10% to 15% turnout; then how do you expect it to be a representation?
I have a program to bring out the engineers. I have a light through which the engineer understands that PEC isn’t just limited to vacations and dinners, this is now a matter of regulation. So our agenda is different from the rest because we want proper regulation and the engineers and engineering community benefit from this regulation.
So through this program I expect that this time the turnout for Pakistan Engineering Council will be a lot more, and people will come out because they have gotten the message that they will get something from PEC’s regulation and not just slogans. Engineers will come out for a change.
Q-4. I want to ask you about CPEC. An opening for thousands of job offers in CPEC is also part of your policy, but how is that possible?
Engr. WN: PEC creates jobs. 2-3 years ago, we didn’t make such great agreements in CPEC, instead we struck down the transfer of technology, relationship between contractors and the bylaw between international contractors and local contractors. We went against that and made a decision as a result of which all jobs that we expected from CPEC for Pakistani engineers (according to that clause) were not gained. Now if we restore the strike down, which we can because we have the authority, we make bylaws. If we strike down bylaws, we can also restore them. So I personally believe that the new governing body that will come with us, under our leadership, will have the prime objective that those things that are not in favor of our engineers, we will review those again and according to our act, we will add them again.
Q-5. We also heard that (housing) plots will be given to the engineers as well. To what extent is this statement true? Or is it just a rumor that are usually part of such campaigns.
Engr. WN: If the engineers are still not aware then it is very disappointing. These types of ‘promises’ are not related to the engineer in any way. Giving an engineer a plot does not mean that the engineer should waste the next 3 years so he can get a plot. That isn’t his mandate. This a separate work that will benefit the engineer by giving his status respect.
Q-6. I apologize for cutting you off but just respect is not enough to sustain life.
Engr. WN: Even now engineers haven’t gotten only plots. There haven’t been any dams. These were also promises. This is also a promise that shows engineers dreams, as they have been doing for the past 6 years, and I don’t think these promises hold any value anymore because at this time the engineers are concerned with their jobs, their requirement and they are not waiting for their plots, neither can plots be given to them.
Q-7. You talked about employment. Supplying jobs is also part of your agenda, so what is your strategy for this?
Engr. WN: As I previously said that our regulation will produce opportunities. Like I gave you the example of CPEC. Now in CPEC there will be a ML1 of $10 billion. If the regulation will be similar to how it is now then we will lose opportunities again, and if we don’t prepare for the industrial zone in CPEC, then how will things work? We want to export the engineers, and talk to commercial attaché to export the engineers, and talk to the government to send our engineers outside, so we have a really big and ambitious plan because that plan can only be made according to regulations, not mere words and plots or buildings. Right now PEC needs that one person that supports thinking out of the box, is futuristic and can make PEC dynamic and bring in the best and new practices, and can prepare himself in competition with international institutions and has the ability to create opportunities for engineers. And I think that my panel and I are at this moment in the position to go against the tradition and place a foundation that would make the engineer proud.
Q-8. What will be PEC’s contribution (by the engineers) in the different fields of Pakistan like civil, defense etc. What is the strategy for that?
Engr. WN: PEC is very innovative, and I can give you one example because there can be many options. I cannot answer this question properly as I am not part of PEC at the moment. I can do much better when I am part of PEC, but I am only telling you my mindset. When I was studying in Europe, and when I did my thesis, and talked to them they said ‘there is a reason behind this topic’. So, we should also give our universities guidelines to give our young engineers such topics, that we can get an input from them, be it defense, agriculture or water, in that way think tanks can be involved. We will make a special model think tanks select topics for universities so we can get data from young engineers can fit into the planning exercise of Pakistan, and Pakistan’s planning commission can use that data to find a direction.
Our program is completely different from our competitors. They are sleeping horses, I am not. I will not let my governing body sleep because I have ideas and I have a vision. I have been doing the exact work for 40 years that I’m telling you about.
Chairman PEC should be that man who is forward thinking, that’s uses the engineering profession in a way that helps Pakistan’s development, engineering profession’s up gradation, and contributes to the economy. So, the approach with which we are coming, our competitors cannot beat us. If the engineers will give us a chance, then 3 years later he will be proud of the engineering profession.
Q-9. Your opponents have some sort of advantage due to the politicians, you can say, and they have an amazing method of ‘engineering’ the election. What do you have that makes you believe that you can beat them in this election?
Engr. WN: First of all, we need Allah’s support. And I believe that I have good intentions, and I know how to work hard and this is something that Allah has given humans, and success is granted by Allah. So I know what are my competitor’s strengths, but I have the strength that cannot be achieved by them. That strength is, engineers see one hope for their status and this hope can be seen from my group. Families of young engineers believe that I can do something that will make their dreams and hopes come true.
I have with me all the young engineers that see their future, and they see that this man will create such opportunities for us, through which we can start our life.
So I don’t have a problem with competing, because when the agenda is good, the intentions are good and hard work isn’t lacking, then these tactics that my competitors are using or will use, I believe they will be useless and the support I am getting this time won’t be given to them and we will defeat them.
Q-10. You say that you should be non-political, you have great ambitions and intentions, but don’t you think that a person alone can’t do anything? Because you also have to work with the same ministers that are politicians. So how will you manage this in a way non-political way? Won’t you have any pressure on yourself?
Engr. WN: When I say non-political, I don’t mean I will not work with a politician. Engineers need a good spokesperson, a good lawyer to present their case. The government is our stakeholder as well; our contractor is a stakeholder as well. Every person that is concerned with engineering, is our stakeholder. To represent the engineers means someone who is capable of fighting their at some point and has the capability to present his work for the rights of engineering.
I don’t want to see politics in PEC. I don’t want to make political decisions in PEC. I want to run PEC professionally to promote the engineering profession. I want to make PEC dynamic organization. I want to see it as a robust organization. I want to see customer focus. I want to regain everyone’s confidence in PEC. And I want to make sure that it doesn’t become irrelevant in the coming days. I want to make it relevant and it will be relevant when it matches the pace of the rest of the world, and makes its regulations robust.
Our approach is very different from our competitors, and you can see that during our campaign. Our competitors want to work according to promises; I want to work according to acts and bylaws, so there is a lot of difference.
So hopefully this time people won’t believe mere promises but believe that person who is truthful and talks about the future and the people. My panel and I at this time are the voice of the engineers, and hopefully engineers will win this time.