Haji Zareef Khan

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Haji Zareef Khan, Zafar Ali Yusufzai
Published in Khyber.ORG on Friday, July 20 2007 (http://www.khyber.org)


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Haji Zareef Khan

Zafar Ali Yusufzai

Late Scion of Haji Family of Shamozai, District Mardan

Publishing Date: Friday, July 20 2007

The setting sun of July 5th, 2007 not only deprived the Shamozai area of District Mardan from one of its scion who devoted all his life for the welfare and the development of this area but also brought an end to an era which spread over about 105 years. This scion was Haji Zarif Khan, from the HAJI Family of the area, which had rendered relentless efforts in the freedom movement that culminated in the creation of Pakistan in 1947.

Born in 1902, Zarif Khan was a personality with multi-dimensions, ranging from a social worker and philanthropist to politician who devoted all of his life to the welfare of the people of East Baizai in general and for the people of Shamozai in particular. He remained Chairman of the Union Council, Shamozai. As mentioned earlier the HAJI Family was greatly associated with the Pakistan Movement, therefore Haji Zarif Khan also took an active part in the independence movement. As his forefathers joined All India Muslim League since its inception, he also remained loyal to it till his death. His elder brother Haji Sharif Khan not only attended the historical session of Muslim League at Lahore on March 23, 1940, but also attended the "Simla Conference" in 1945. During the Independence Movement, when communal riots between Hindus and Muslims erupted and a massacre of Muslims men, women and children was carried out in Bihar Province of the Sub-Continent, a large number of volunteers from Mardan district visited Bihar to extend a helping hand to their Muslim brothers and sisters in those hard times. Haji Zarif Khan asked his brother Sharif Khan to organize a group of volunteers in this regard. It was in December 1946 when Sharif Khan led a group of 45 people from East Baizai and helped in bringing out Muslims from the troubled areas of the Bihar province. Both the brothers also attended a huge gathering at Hoti House (Mardan) on November 24, 1945 when Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Khan Jinnah paid a visit to Mardan on the request of Nawab Akbar Khan Hoti.

After the creation of Pakistan, Zarif Khan devoted his energies to the development of his area. To him, education got the utmost priority. He was greatly interested in the uplift of education in the Shamozai area that is why the greater portion of his tendered services belonged to the education sector. He often used to mention that without education, man is like as though in a closed room and with education he finds himself in a room with all its windows open towards outside world. During his tenure as the Chairman of the Union Council from 1962-1968, he arranged a piece of land for the establishment of a primary school at Village Shamozai. Similarly arrangements were also made for the establishment of primary schools at Baddar Banda and Shewa Banda (Matta). It is heartening to note that the former two primary schools have now been upgraded to higher secondary schools while the later one has been upgraded to secondary school.

He also observed that along with the modern day education, the young ones should also keep themselves abreast with the religious education and in this regard took a lead by establishing a seminary (Madrassah) for boys in the name of Darul-Ullom-e-Siddiqiya at the heart of the Union Council i.e. Ghundo in 1985. He remained the prime part and patron of the said institute till his death. He also established similar Madrassah for girls few years back.

Apart from education, for the development of communications in the form of roads, Zarif Khan also concentrated on transforming the small pathways in to roads which have now taken the form of metalled roads. Along with roads, he also arranged for the expansion of electricity to the far-flung areas of the Union Council through his good offices.

He also loved doing social work as he thought of minimizing someone's sufferings to be satisfying. It is pertinent to note that in all his humanitarian/social work, he shunned publicity. As a social worker, he played an active role in settling disputes between the rival groups in the area thus helping in the maintenance of peace in the East Baizai Area. Hailing an agricultural background, he also made tremendous contribution towards the uplift of agriculture in the area by introducing modern agricultural technologies and high yielding varieties, which helped greatly in promoting financial and economic conditions of the people of the Union Council.

Haji Zarif Khan lived a joyous life and hated the secluded one. He enjoyed his life with his friends and comrades, cracking jokes and sharing his eventful life with them, at the sprawling Hujra at Ghundo village in Shamozai. He had learned a major portion of the poetry of Rehman Baba and it was manifested in his conversation whereby he used to quote the proverbial verses of this great mystic poet of Pashto language. Zarif Khan had got a down-to-earth personality and it was this attitude that he always kept his doors open so that anyone could access him anytime. He had got a caring heart full of love for the people of his Union Council. This is manifested by his endeavors for the social uplift of the area.

Although Zarif Khan passed his life by breathing his last on 5th July 2007 but it does not mean an end to the great era of the HAJI Family of Shamozai, District Mardan. He had left behind two sons namely Khan Faraz Khan and Khan Daraz Khan. Among them, the former got retired from the Government service as Secretary of the Pakistan Tobacco Board and had rendered his services there for about 35 years. The later, Khan Daraz Khan is actively taking part in the social uplift of the area in the footprints of his father. He had not only rendered services as the Nazim of the Union Council but also served as the first Naib Nazim of Tehsil Mardan after the Devolution Plan in 2001. Both of the sons of the deceased are expected to effectively handle the exorbitant saga of the late Haji Zarif Khan in future by continuing their support and efforts for the uplift of the area.

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Haji Zareef Khan, Zafar Ali Yusufzai
Published in Khyber.ORG on Friday, July 20 2007 (http://www.khyber.org)