I A Rehman is no more, so sad, tremendous loss for the nation

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Salahuddin Haider

NOT only Pakistan’s journalism suffered a great loss but also the entire Pakistani nation on the sad demise of Ibn Abdur Rehman, popularly known as I A Rehman for he was an iconic journalist who was not just a beacon light for young and growing professional journalists of the country, but a freedom light for entire country, for as Human Rights Champion, he was held in high esteem for almost every living in Pakistan.

Born in the northern Indian State of Haryana in 1930, he led a fuller life, moving to permanent abode at the age of 90.

After partition his family moved to Pakistan to settle in Lahore, where as Intermediate student in in Aligarh, He joined the Islamia College in his new residential place, after graduating the Civil Lines institution, which in later years fame like Government College of Lahore.

The government college was famous for its quality education, and highly qualified professors, Islamia College became famous because of cricketers like former Pakistan captain Saeed Ahmad who was a tremendous batsmen at Number 3 position. He later moved to Punjab University and secured Master’s degree in Physics.

But instead of becoming a scientist, he preferred to be a journalist since that was his passion, for he had began writing in his college days.

And continued it consistently, kept writing coloumns for various Pakistani newspapers.

Family sources –he had three sons and two daughter whom he left behind to mourn his death—said on being contacted that their father suffered from Diabetes and high blood pressure, and died of cardiac arrest on Monday morning and was buried hours after his death.

After a small period of association with National Film Development Corporation, he quit to join the Newsaper to fulfill his desire of becoming a journalist, serving for next seven decades.

HE was a great tutor for young journalists also. I can narrate my own experiences with him, During my posting to PPI Lahore, I had developed relationship with NIsar Osmani, Dawn representative, his office being at the Mall Road Branch of Ali Autos of Haroons, for Dawn too is owned by Haroons since days gone by.

Mahmood Haroon was its chief executive, followed by his nephew Hameed Haroon, and now Mahmood Haroon’s daughter Amber Saigol, wedded to the well known business tycoon family of Sehgals from Punjab.

Our friendship with Nisar Osmani grew to rise to the level of being intimate friends. Nisar Osmani, another Human Rights Champion, used to have sitting with me, I.A Rehman and couple of intellectuals.

There I learnt a lot from I A Rehman in journalists. He had a tremendous fellow feeling, and always greeted friends, particularly young journalist like me those in Pakistan Times whose editor he became in Benazir Bhutto’s days as Prime Minister of Pakistan, the first lady to hold that coveted office in the Muslim World, and of other newspapers.

His passion for journalism was massive that even in old age, he kept writing coloumns for national papers.

Pakistan Times had closed long before his death. A minister in Punjab cabinet of Bhutto’s Peoples Party, he went to pacify journalists and press workers, on strike for better wages.

He backed their demand, but Bhutto, despite being a Constitutionally elected prime minister (although there are several questions arose as to whether his holding that coveted position was right and Constitutional?), ordered the strikers’ camp to be packed up.

Bhutto called himself a freedom fighter, speaking during studentship in Berkeley University in California, UA, the innate feudal in him, always impaired his image.

Mr Rehman wrote on almost on every subject of national import, human rights, sports, arts, and culture.

He wrote on all these topics with equal proficiency, showing great intellectual clarity.

He held communist views from the beginning, and even in last stages of his life he went to speak on subjects relating to Communism.

In true words, he was an iconic figure, as tributes flowed from all over country, from high and low, including Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Bilawal Bhtto, Najam Sethi, and all those who mattered, howsoever insignificanatly.

His death indeed was a great loss for the country and will take long, long time to fill the vacuum in the field which I A Rehman created by his death.

AONS condoled his death, including Faisal Zahid Malik, currently editor in chief of Pakistan Observer Jaane waala tujhe royega zamana barson