Zahid Malik, an iconic Pakistani

DEATH is an inescapable reality and as per our Holy Book every soul has to taste it. However, death of some figures leaves a big vacuum behind and this vacuum has deepened as the society stands deprived of the multi-dimensional personality of Zahid Malik. It is not just death of an Editor-in-Chief, owner of some popular publications and writer of some famous books that are considered a must for libraries and homes, but departure of an iconic Pakistani who, throughout his life, fought for and defended the cause of the country even at the cost of personal and business risks. He was sent behind bars for steadfastly adhering to his principle of ‘no compromise’ on national interests but this did not weaken his resolve to serve the country.
Mr Malik devoted his publications — Pakistan Observer, Hurmat and Al-Akhbar (the ownership of which changed after some time) to the cause of national defence and security, ideology of Pakistan, national identity, projection of true face of Islam, Pakistan’s nuclear programme, Kashmir issue and welfare, unity and solidarity of Muslim Ummah. Apart from his daily and weekly publications, Zahid Malik also undertook extensive research and investigative work to write books on the country’s nuclear programme and Islam, which acquired worldwide fame. His four books on nuclear programme of the country give authentic insight into genesis and development of the programme and continue to be quoted by the world media and writers for decades. Mr Zahid Malik was author of over a dozen books with over 2000 articles and comments on different topics and issues. One of his books on Public Relations brought the Writers Guild First Prize for him in 1970 and is being taught in the Mass Communications Departments of different universities of Pakistan.
He was also founder of ‘Nazriya Pakistan Council’ aimed at preserving and promoting the ideology of the country as he firmly believed that the real strength of the nation was its ideological identity. He was Chairman of three think tanks — International Seerat Centre; Foundation for Coexistence of Civilizations and 101 Friends of China. The last one is a support group dedicated to promote the cause of Pak-China relations especially China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, of which Zahid Malik was an ardent supporter. At a time, when some vested interests made it a fashion to criticize Armed forces and ISI, Zahid Malik always advocated their case as defender of the motherland and as institutions that have frustrated designs of our enemies. He also has to his credit two singular books ‘Subjects of Quran’ and ‘Subjects of Hadith’, the popularity of which can be gauged by the fact that these have been translated into several major languages of the globe. Nowadays, he was working on establishment of “Zahid Malik Institute of Quran (Trust)”.
If someone truly followed the famous advice of Father of the Nation ‘work, work and work’, this was Mr. Zahid Malik, who would never sit idle and this he did till the moment he fell unconscious and breathed his last. He was a man of ideas and remained instrumental in giving them practical shape for the benefit of the society and the country. When he joined civil service and worked in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Zahid Malik conceived the idea of creation of Pakistan National Centres that contributed a lot in promotion of literature and culture and strengthening national unity, cohesion and identity. He braved resistance from different quarters but succeeded in implementing his idea of having an ‘Aiwan-e-Quaid’ in the Federal Capital that he envisioned to be centre of literary and cultural activities and projection of leaders of Pakistan Movement and the freedom struggle itself. He also visualized setting up of a University of Mass Communication in Islamabad but life did not afford him an opportunity to translate his vision into reality. Mr Zahid Malik used to conceive ideas for betterment of the society and the country, have brain-storming sessions with his colleagues and inner-circles and then take them up in black and white and during discussions with relevant authorities. He persisted with this practice even during his cancer treatment in Beijing, convincing management of the hospital, to build a modern cancer hospital in Pakistan. The first thing he did after his return from Beijing was to initiate correspondence with relevant quarters on the subject. He is no more to pursue the matter but hopefully the plan would be taken to fruition by officials and leaders concerned as it would be in the best interest of the country.
Mr Zahid Malik was a soft-spoken, accommodative and patient employer – the traits which are rarely found among people of his status. His staff cannot forget that he never injured their self-respect in any circumstances and showed magnanimity in his dealings. He particularly encouraged young people and provided full support to them in exploiting their potential.
Mr Malik was conferred Sitara-i-Imtiaz by President of Pakistan in August 2011and also conferred PhD degree by Dadabhoy Institute of Higher Education but he deserves much more in view of vast contribution he made to the cause of the country, Islam, the profession of journalism and the rich legacy he has left behind for the benefit of future generations. As for this newspaper and other institutions established by Mr Zahid Malik are concerned, they are committed to pursue religiously his mission and ideals. May his soul rest in peace – Ameen.

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