Mr. Tasneem Ahmad Siddiqui born in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, India received his early education not from a school but from his mother. As for formal education, when Mr. Siddiqui begun his elementary school in India, the India was Partitioned into two independent states in 1947. Along with his family he settled in Sukkur city of newly born country Pakistan and attended Islamia Primary and then High School in Sukkur (1949-1958). He got his Graduation Degree from Islamia College Sukkur in 1962 and Master’s Degree in Political Science at Sindh University, Hyderabad. Mr. Siddiqui also got his LLB Degree from Sindh Muslim Law College, Karachi (1973).
Later, he joined the Civil Service in November 1965 as Assistant Commissioner at Nawabshah (UT) and then on Regular basis in Quetta-Balouchistan. He became Deputy Secretary of the Labor Department based in Karachi. In 1979, Mr. Siddiqui got his promotion and was assigned to the Karachi Development Authority (KDA) as Director of Land Management. In 1984, he was appointed secretary of industry. One year later he was appointed Director General of the Hyderabad Development Authority. In July 1993, Siddiqui rejoined Sindh Katchi Abadi Authority as Director General.
He is the founder of SAIBAN, working for the poor communities for establishing low cost housing. His housing projects for the urban poor in Hyderabad and Karachi are examples of this philosophy. They succeeded in cutting through red tape, making use of practical lowcost technologies for infrastructure projects, and cutting costs. Most importantly, they demonstrated the importance of including the community in the decision-making process.
As a development practitioner, Mr. Siddiqui evolved new concepts of pro-poor planning in other fields also, and working as chief of Sindh Katchi Abadis Authority he was able to successfully demonstrate that low-income people have the willingness and capacity to pay for the services, provided the credibility gap between them and the government is bridged, and simple mechanisms are evolved to reach them.
He is a prolific writer, and has written on subject like process of social change; imperatives for land reforms in Pakistan; reasons for hyper-urbanization in developing countries; dynamics of bureaucratic rule, and analyses of development strategies adopted by different countries. His three books namely ‘Towards Good Governance’, ‘Dynamics of Social Change’ and ‘Time for Change’ have been well received. He divides his time between Saiban – an NGO established in 1991, and Orangi Pilot Project.
He was awarded the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1995.
For excellence in public service, he won Ramon Magsaysay Award and Sitara-e-Imtiaz in 1999.