Mian Mohammad Javed
MR Zahid Malik, Editor-in-Chief Pakistan Observer passed away on September 1, 2016 leaving behind several institutions like the Nazriya Pakistan Council Taleem Network and ‘101 Friends of China’ and many other projects of national and religious importance that were in the offing.
Numerous ministers, state officials, ambassadors, judges, religious scholars, eminent media personalities, politicians, family and friends, and a large assembly of citizens from all segments of society attended the funeral. Some Muslim Ambassadors stayed late and joined in his burial. So did the head of Chancery in the Chinese Embassy. They all carried a genuine regard for him.
Mr Zahid Malik was a bright star on the ideological horizon of Pakistan. A distinguished person by any measure posterity will always remember his name. He was endowed with qualities of head and heart. He was a thinker, orator, writer, author and journalist. More important is the manner in which he made use of his faculties.
Beyond any doubt he was a visionary; a great patriot who made his mission to work for Pakistan’s cause, solidarity and ideology. He roped in well-known and illustrious personalities for his projects. When he conceived and established Nazriya Pakistan Council Trust (NPC) at Islamabad, Mr Mahmud Ali (late), a great Pakistani and former Federal Minister was installed as its first chairman. A very well-thought gesture Lt-Gen (R) Mujeeb-ur-Rahman Khan became second Chairman. Mr Zahid Malik succeeded him as Chairman and later as Patron-in-Chief. Another of his great contribution is the construction of Aiwan-i-Quaid in F-9 Park. A building dedicated to Father of the Nation and having galleries of pictures related to the Pakistan Movement and its leaders. The Aiwan has a public library, a conference hall and meeting rooms, all used for ideological activity. While Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta have historical buildings of Pakistan Movement era, Aiwan-i-Quaid has become a symbol in this regard in Islamabad. Thanks to Mr Zahid Malik who made this happen. He was pursuing the matter of Quaid’s Relics which were stored and could be displayed in Aiwan-i-Quaid for public view. He had already expanded the network of NPC opening its chapters in some other cities of Pakistan as well.
His speeches and editorials dwelt on contemporary issues and challenges facing Pakistan but far away from routine. He usually spoke extempore and one could feel the passion and emotions when the subject was Pakistan. A couple of years ago when there was a serious incident of sectarian violence in Rawalpindi, he organized a conference on religious harmony. While making his appeal to the Ulema of different schools of thought for tolerance and understanding he became emotional and begged them with both hands together and tears in his eyes beseeching them to spare Pakistan of this menace and help eliminate violence from Pakistan. President Mamnoon Hussain was in chair. He worked tirelessly for solidarity of Pakistan. On every Christmas Eve he along with his NPC colleagues would go to a Church, present a cake and address the community conveying sentiments of respect for their religion and message of love as fellow Pakistanis.
Every year the NPC under his guidance would honour Pakistani men, woman and children who had made extraordinary achievements in different field. Their services were recognized publically by awarding gold medals to them. Purpose was to motivate and instil hope and confidence in Pakistanis. Arfa Karim, Malala Yousafzai and many other children are among the recipients. Mr Zahid Malik’s respect for Dr AQ Khan is well-known as gave him the title of Mohsin-e-Pakistan (Benefactor of Pakistan).
Mr Zahid Malik visualized everything in Pakistan’s perspective. In this respect he was a great fan and admirer of China which he considered a true friend of Pakistan. To further strengthen ties between the people of two countries he established a mega think tank called ‘101 Friends of China’ which included 100 eminent personalities from all walks of life as members. It was very well received and reciprocated in China. For treatment of “Malady” he travelled to China. From the hospital room, he continued to work for greater Pakistan-China cooperation. He floated an idea and convinced the Chinese authorities to build a cancer hospital in Pakistan. In fact Mr Zahid Malik can be called a “Man of ideas”.
Mr Zahid Malik was an amicable personality because he won friends wherever he went whoever he interacted with. Sincerity of purpose was his strength. A polished, and graceful person, he dressed elegantly, perhaps emulating Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Deep inside under his western dress he was a staunch Muslim.
His spiritual side was unambiguously based on the belief in Allah (SWT) and love of the last Prophet Muhammad (SAW). He carried the conviction that creation of Pakistan had Divine sanction and that Quaid-i-Azam was ordained to return to India from England and work for the creation of an Islamic state. Therefore, he promoted Islamic ideology, propounded closer relationship with Muslim countries and as a journalist took up the cause of Muslims struggling for their rights everywhere e.g. Kashmir, Palestine and Myanmar (Burma) etc. Almost all ambassadors of Islamic countries in Islamabad were his close friends. He championed the idea of Islamic Finance and Banking and held a number of moots for its promotion.
Mr Zahid Malik authored a book titled Mazameen-e-Quran-e-Hakim’ (Urdu) which was translated into Arabic, English, French and German languages so that message of Allah can reach people of all lands who do not understand Arabic. Translation into Russian and Spanish languages is in process. The Ambassador of Palestine had informed Mr Malik that his book was going to be placed in Masjid-e-Aqsa. What could be a greater acknowledgement and recognition and above all a Saadat. The manifestation of his belief in destiny as ordained by the Almighty was seen when he was diagnosed with cancer; doctors told him that he had only a few more months to live. This man of God did not panic. He briefed the NPC about the state of his health concluding with the words that “Whatever Allah wills he is ready and contented”. This time there were no displays of emotion. He had reconciled with his fate by dint of his belief as a Muslim.
He was pursuing a project to establish a Seerat University for teaching and undertaking research. In Seerat-un-Nabi Muhammad (SAW) of which the President of Pakistan has already unveiled the foundation stone. It is now for the NPC to carry forward his mission and take steps to build the university.
What a coincident that Malik Sahib left for his eternal abode on first of September (same month as Quaid’s death). Every year on 11th September he would commemorate the death anniversary of founder of Pakistan when people recited the Quran and offered prayers for the Quaid. He would personally pay homage to the Quaid. The venue was always Faisal Masjid and Ambassadors from various Muslim countries would participate. Iqbal Day was observed with equal zeal and renowned scholars on Iqbaliat were invited to speak on the thoughts and philosophy of Iqbal.
14th August 2016 – Independence Day function at NPC became his last major event. He performed the flag hoisting and was chief guest in the public ceremony attended by hundreds of people including women and children in the grand auditorium of Aiwan-i-Quaid which he had built. He made an excellent speech, his best, greatly inspiring the audience to have unflinching faith in the destiny of Pakistan. That night colourful lights illuminated Aiwan-i-Quaid like never before, which can now be recalled as ‘what a befitting farewell to the great follower of the Quaid. May Allah bless his soul with His infinite mercy! Ameen.
Mian Mohammad Javed is former Chairman PTC, PTA, PEMRA and Vice Chairman NPC (Trust)