Academia and intelligentsia of Karachi paid rich tribute to veteran journalist Ahfaz-ur-Rahman at a memorial reference held at the Arts Council.
The Memorial reference was organized by the Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi, in collaboration with the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), the Council of Newspaper Editors, the All Pakistan Newspaper Employees Confederation and the Sahafi Mazdoor Action Committee on Tuesday.
Reference was addressed by I. A. Rehman, senior columnist and ex-secretary general of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP); Hussain Naqi, a senior journalist; Dr. Syed Jafar Ahmed, a renowned academic; Khawar Naeem Hashmi, a journalist; Nasir Zaidi, a PFUJ leader; and colleagues and family members of late Ahfaz-ur-Rahman.
I. A. Rahman said the country was passing through a difficult time. The journalists’ community was divided and the government happy. He paid tribute to Ahfaz-ur-Rahman and said he was a bold person who always endeavor for truth.
Senior journalist Hussain Naqi said Rahman was one of the most educated journalist who always raised his voice for the rights of journalists’ community.
In his detailed paper on the life and works of Ahfaz, Dr. Jaffar Ahmed, ex-director of the Pakistan Study Centre, University of Karachi, recalled that Ahfaz was a poet and a great writer who had over two dozen books to his credit.
Ahfaz started writing when he was a student. He had won the first prize for his letter to famous Indian writer Krishan Chandar.
“Ahfaz was well versed in the Chinese language and its literature.”
Dr. Jaffar Ahmed said Ahfaz lived in China for a very long time where he learned the Chinese language and translated many Chinese books on history as well as literary pieces into the Urdu language.
“He had had an incredible love for the Chinese people and their freedom movement.”
His book, “Sub Se Bari Jang”, which chronicles the journalists’ movement for freedom of the press during the military rule of General Zia-ul-Haq, was a piece of literature. Ahfaz also wrote poetry for children.
He fought a long battle for life with admirable courage and he showed the way to the next generation of journalists.
Ahmed Shah, president of the Arts Council of Pakistan, said late Ahfaz led all the major movements, including the lawyers’ movement, in 2007. Khurshid Tanvir, a leader of the PFUJ, said Ahfaz worked for the downtrodden people.
He said the PFUJ has had a great history, but some political parties divided it into various factions. Ahfaz wanted unification of the PFUJ.
Journalist Iqbal Khursheed paid tribute to Ahfaz and said he had written poetry for freedom of expression during his last days.
Tahir Najmi, editor of daily Express, said Ahfaz was a preacher of peace and equality in society.
Dr. Jabbar Khattak of the CPNE said the Internet and broadband should be declared a fundamental right of citizens.