Obituary of Mr. Ziaul Hassan Rizvi

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. Rizvi’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. Rizvi’ 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  “The Containership:  How Big is Big enough ( A port Authority Dilemma)” 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.


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