Zahid Malik: As I knew him!

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Dr Ikram Azam

ZAHID Malik was the Visionary Founder of the Hurmat Group of Publications, Rawalpindi – Islamabad. It all started in a top-storey rented building at the Bank Road, Rawalpindi (Cantonment) way back in 1989, for the Pakistan Observer (English Daily) newspaper, 27 years ago. As printed on its front page top print-line today, Friday, 16th. September, 2016, it is “Vol (ume) xxvii, No. 266, Regd. No. 111.” So far as I can recall, the PO was preceded by the Urdu “Hurmat” a top class socio-political-cum literary-cultural magazine. Both my late elder sister, Principal (R) Dr Miss Zohra Azam, Ph D (Education), and I wrote for it rarely on request, once in a blue moon. Both of us also contributed to the Pakistan Observer, she occasionally on socio-cultural and educational issues, I, quite regularly on almost every topic of my interest.
I have been writing for the PO now for decades. Zahid Malik patronized the PFI: Pakistan Futuristic Foundation and Institute, Islamabad, once its creation in July, 1986, and its literary peer predecessor wing, the Margalla Voices, from its creation 10 years earlier in 1976 at Rawalpindi. He did so by publishing our contributions in the PO, and thereby helping us to introduce Futuristic in Pakistan, in a literary manner to the academia, educated elite and young students, for whom we started free short crash courses and introductory seminars at Islamabad in the borrowed private educational premises of Mian Siddiq Akbar Saheb, and the late Brig (R) Saeed Khokar. Zahid Malik himself participated in several PFI, MVs programmes, delivering talks and lectures.
He helped me to enroll a batch of young journalists for a special introductory course on the theory of Futuristics as well as its real life applications to Journalism. The most memorable, leading journalist was Javed Siddiq, the present Chief Editor of the “Nawa-e-Waqt” (Urdu daily). During the 1990s, Zahid Malik came out with a novel innovative idea, persuading me to write daily a short socio-political poem on topical issues for the PO. Later they were published in one of my books. The Hurmat Publications also published my NDC, MS(DSS) thesis: Pakistan and the Asian Calenture Security System (1979 – 80) in 1982 and 1983. Zahid Malik was always personally both pleasantly persuasive and helpful. That is how me roped me in on the honorary board of his Nazriya-e-Pakistan Council (Regd), which I served sincerely for some years.
The Hurmat Group of Publications has been housed for long in the Ali Akbar House, Markaz G-8, Islamabad, in the sacred memory of his late gracious father. The PO is published simultaneously at six federal and provincial Capitals, i.e., Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta and Muzaffarabad, AJK. The PO, Islamabad, is printed at its own press, Al-Umar Printers. This Empire of Exemplary Journalism is a success story tribute to Zahid Malik: a very humble, unassuming, modest, almost shy and pleasant person –– personality.
During the late Z A Bhutto’s tragically aborted Pemiership, Zahid Malik was close to the later Maulana Kausar Niazi as a family friend from Sialkot. He got him inducted into the Information Service of Pakistan under the then Lateral Entry Scheme of the 1970s. Zahid Malik served some time as a Cultural Counsellor at the Pakistan Embassy, Sigapore. But bureaucracy was not his cup of tea. So before long he quit government service to return to his journalistic roots and professional career. As a Patriotic Pakistani, he was a dedicated devotee of Pakistan’s creative Islamic ideology. Therefore, he pursued the Quaid’s and Allama Iqbal’s Vision of Pakistan as a Role Model Modern Futuristic Muslim Islamic welfare state social system and collective leadership in an Islamic democracy. Zahid Malik encouraged me to write and appreciated greatly my nine PFI books.
Zahid Malik’s classical contribution to Pakistan and Islam can be summed up succinctly as under: (i) He was a Patron-Promoter of the Pak-China Friendship. (ii) He persistently promoted the Muslim Ummah’s Unity in Peace. (iii) Consistently championed Muslim causes like Kashmir, Filistine and the persecuted Muslim minority Diaspora all over the world, as in Myanamar (Burma) and under Islamophobia. (iv) Published English, Urdu and other languages translations of his Selections from the Holy Quran. (v) Persistently pursued to promote Global Peace through Peaceful Co-Existence and Interfaith Harmony. (vi) Created the Hurmat Publications National Network. (vii) Created the “Nazriya-e-Pakistan Council”, Islamabad, to serve Pakistan’s Islami Ideology and its Founders’ Vision of Islami Democracy in an Islami Welfare State Social System and Collective Conciliatory Consensual National – Nationalistic Leadership.
Rarely has a single apolitical and non-partisan individual achieved so much is seven-eight decades of one’s life-span. Most remarkably, Zahid Malik served every Govt. of Pakistan successfully, sincerely, because of his experience and expertise in public and human relations, and his diplomatic skills. May Zahid Malik’s noble soul rest in Perpetual Paradisal Peace! And may Allah Almighty grant his family: wife, three sons and a daughter, the wisdom, fortitude and strength not only to sustain his legendary legacy, but also to build up upon it, from mile-stone to mile-stone! Amin! Suma amin!
They are lucky in having Dr Naeem Ghani, President of the Sultana Foundation, Islamabad, as Zahid Malik’s deeply trusted successor Chairman/President of the ‘Nazriya-e-Pakistan Council’, Islamabad. They will need him as a sincere `friend, philosopher and guide’, in the months and years ahead. I wish both Zahid Malik’s family and Dr Naeem Ghani Saheb every good luck and God-speed for success in the forthcoming future!
— The writer is co-founder Pakistan Futuristic Institute, Islamabad.