ISLAMABAD: The Awami Workers Party (AWP) expresses deep sorrow and grief over the demise of I.A. Rehman, a renowned journalist, a Marxist and an iconic human rights defender.
The party leadership pays tribute to his life long struggle for democracy, rights of the oppressed nations, people and working class, women, peasants, teachers, ethnic and religious minorities.
The void created by his departure will hardly be filled.
In a joint statement, AWP founding President Abid Hassan Minto, President Yousuf Mustikhan, Secretary-General Akhtar Hussain, Deputy Secretary Ismat Shahjehan, FC member Dr Farzana Bari, AWPGB leader Baba Jan, presidents of all national units have expressed in a statement said: “the demise of I. A. Rehman is painful as he was a committed thorough professional journalist, Marxist and pioneer of the human rights movement in Pakistan.
He was a powerful voice and a towering personality in the struggle for social justice and equal rights for all citizens of Pakistan and peace in South Asia.
“He not only fought with his pen but also participated in practical struggle against tyrants, civilian and military dictators, as well as obscurantist extremist forces and stood by the working class, oppressed nations, marginalised people and ethnic and religious minorities in their struggle for equal rights, democracy and freedom of expression.”
Rehman sahib was an inspiration and source of strength for the progressive forces in Pakistan against the dictatorial rulers and imperialist forces.
Yousuf Mustikhan said the death of fearless, upright and committed persons like Asma Jehangir and I.A. Rehman has dealt a severe blow to the oppressed nations, marginalised people and the progressive movement.
“He was also perpetually at the forefront of the cause of peace in the subcontinent, bravely speaking up against the entrenched interests of security establishments in all states of the South Asian region,” said Akhtar Hussain.
AWP former Punjab president Asim Sajjad said: “The current generation is unlikely to know that Rehman Sahib had a long affiliation with Left politics since his student days at Aligarh. He joined the Communist Party immediately after the Partition and continued to struggle for social justice and democracy.
He was a close associate of revolutionary icon Faiz Ahmed Faiz, who he succeeded as editor the English daily The Pakistan Times.’ Rehman sahib was a prolific writer and continued to write a column for Dawn till his death. He also remained associated with the PFUJ and trade union movement.
Dr Farzana Bari said today the human rights situation and freedom of expression in the country are deteriorating and the socio-economic condition of the working class is worsening day by day. The dictatorial forces are once again lurking to muffle freedom of expression, usurp rights of the people and control democratic institutions.
Ismat Shahjehan said, “Rehman Sahib was a true beacon of the people who always stood on the right side of history and with the oppressed and disenfranchised peoples of the South Asian region and the world.”
A vanguard of human, civil, social, economic, gender and minorities’ rights, Rehman sahib was everywhere and always stood fast with the people’s struggles for their rights.
Red salute and adieu Rehman sahib.