By Professor S.M. Haq
Mr. Zia-ul Hassan Rizvi, P.Eng., a world renowned hydraulic Engineer of Pakistani origin passed away on 28 October 2012 in Toronto, Canada. He died at 82 after a short illness, suffering from Pancreatic cancer.
Mr. Rizvi graduated from the NED Engineering College (now University), Karachi ( 951) and later earned a post-graduate degree in Hydraulic Engineering from the famous Delft Institute of the Netherlands (1958). He received several fellowship awards during the early period of his professional career, including the FOA fellowship in the USA, UN fellowship in the Netherlands, Colombo Plan Scholarship in the UK, and JICA Fellowship in Japan for further specialization in computerized data based program and other related technique on port development and management.
Known for his high self-efficacy, hard work and professionalism, Mr Rizvi over the years made an impressive contributions in the field of coastal engineering, ports and harbor development, covering including many developing countries of the world, which received international recognition.
The first 24 years of his professional career was devoted largely to activities at the national level: in Bangladesh (East Pakistan), he was responsible for development of harbor and inland waterways.
In the early sixties, at a time when in (west) Pakistan industrial development and expansion was the focus of the Government in coastal vicinities, the need for a commercial or industrial port, on the coast of Karachi was urgently felt. At that crucial time Mr. Rizvi played a key role in spearheading the coastal development program of the country as an official of KPT, and, later, in close cooperation with Hydrographic Directorate of Pakistan Navy and other national and international aid giving agencies.
Based on extensive research and survey of coastal creeks, the Government of Pakistan accepted Mr. Rizviâ€™s recommendation to build the port on the Phitti Creek site, which eventually led to the development of Port Qasim Authoriry, the second deep water industrial/business port of the country of which he was the Project Director and later a Member (Technical) of the Board of Authority. From a national point of view his contribution to the country turned out to be a Magnum Opus of his career.
As later years indicated , these developments eventually paved the way for a multipurpose shore based facilities and services to international shipping line, now reported to be catering more than 40 % of seaborne trade requirement of the country.
In the last 29 years of his career, Mr. Rizviâ€™ s services were used as an international expert by the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the African Development Bank and the Canadian International Development Agency, in support of national port and related development programs requested by many countries including Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and ten other in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
From 1977- 1991 he joined the multinational engineering consulting company, SNC-LAVALIN OF Canada . After retirement he continued his independent and voluntary services, to agencies in Pakistan responsible for development of ports, which include the establishment of new deep water port at Gwadar.
As part of his research activities Mr. Rizvi had to his credit a number of research publications in international journals and delivered lectures on voluntary basis on the subject of his expertise in many countries including Pakistan.
His last contribution is the book entitled â€œThe Containership: How Big is Big enough ( A port Authority Dilemma)â€ published by the London Science and Technology Publishing company, only a few days before his death, which is now launched: it is written to cater to the emerging needs of the vast majority of the developing countries in the field of coastal engineering and development.
Mr. Rizvi survived by his wife, a son and a daughter, who currently live in Canada and Malaysia respectively.