A veteran banker turned
merit professor, Sabir Jaffery is the Director and Dean of the Institute
of Management and Computer Sciences, a project of PECHS Education
Foundation, affiliated to the University of Karachi. Earlier he worked
for HBL, UBL, and NBP where he had successively occupied the positions
of Regional Head Sindh, Country General Manager, UK, Divisional Head,
among others, of Overseas Operations, Inspection and Audit, and Finance
and Treasury Divisions. On retirement from NBP in 1994, he joined ABL in
1995 as Director General which office he held till 1997. Later, he
joined on contract basis University of Karachi as Professor in the
Commerce Faculty, and Hamdard University as Adjunct Professor in the
Faculty of Banking and Finance. He had also been teaching for several
years at IBA and the Institute of Bankers, Pakistan. Continuously for
over a decade he has been Head Examiner for Institute's Banking Diploma
Examinations, and a regular contributor to the Institute's quarterly
journal. He also regularly writes, both in English and Urdu, for the
leading newspapers and journals of the country. Thus, in him we find a
rare combination of a practicing banker, a banking academician, and a
professor par excellent. He is also an eminent poet and a critic of Urdu
How do you manage to combine so many activities of diversified nature?
Immediately after I joined banking as a career more than half a century
ago, I realized that most of my colleagues, and even my seniors, by and
large, were routinist. They were highly proficient in what they were
doing but they had little or no knowledge as to why were they doing that
way, and why not otherwise. What I mean to say is that they were mere
practitioners, not professionals. They could tell me that a post-dated
cheque is not paid, but they were unable to answer why it is not paid,
or what are the hazards in paying it. I then decided to get deep into
the academics of the profession and, by virtue of the job,
simultaneously retained the status of the practitioner. While posted at
Head Office, I had the opportunities to write systems and procedures,
and when in the field, I was exposed to real life problems. I also had
the inborn flair for literature, and writing and teaching. This made me
what I am today.
Is it not impracticable to combine so many diversified activities? Can
one really achieve proficiency in several disciplines at a time?
It is a matter of interest and commitment. At least I don't feel any
difficulty. However, full justice can not be done to all at a time. This
is why I could not fully meet the demands of my literary aptitude. Some
times I don't compose a single verse for years together. As regards
proficiency, I don't think I have achieved any. I don't claim that
Financial indiscipline is the hallmark of Pakistan economy. How can this
An answer to this question entails a three-fold exercise: (i) To
determine the size and nature of the problem; (ii) To identify the root
cause of overall derangement, and (iii) To prescribe the remedies.
In size and nature, it is massive and
multidimensional. The master flaw that is the root cause of all the
failings, and which counters the entire corrective measures, is corruption.
And, the mother of all sorts of corruption is the Financial Corruption.
To check this menace, we have so far resorted to accountability and
punishment, ignoring the fact that punishment targets only the wrong
doer. It does nothing to counter the process that permits or encourages
Corruption is an attitude of life. It is behaviour of
living beings. It has, therefore, to be dealt with in consonance with
the human nature that prefers material possessions and physical comfort
to moral values. Strengthening accountability alone, therefore, is not
an effective way to eradicate corruption. The issue calls for a detailed
Business schools have spread like mushroom. How do you feel about this?
Education has become an industry. Its natural outcome is what you see
around. However, genuineness has its place secured that gets
recognition, sooner or later.
Lately, a trend has developed to buy higher qualifications foreign
degrees. Being a professor yourself, how do you look at this?
It is indeed shameful. Quite a few senior people have resorted to this
practice. This does not remain secret. Every concerned person comes to
know about it. People hatefully criticize them. It has badly damaged
whatever little respect they had.