July 2020

Remembering Iqbal Akhund

It came as a real shock to me when I learned of Iqbal Akhund’s death. I had the good fortune to know him as a very senior diplomat and as an expert in foreign affairs. He was also a great friend and advisor. In the days when this magazine was known as Thirdworld, especially during the martial law days of Gen. Zia, whenever Iqbal Akhund was in town and I sought his advice on any matter concerning foreign affairs, he would be more than forthcoming.

Once he had invited me to lunch at the Sind Club. Suddenly, he remarked to me with brightness in his eyes, “You know, Jawaid, we have something in common!”

“What is that?” I responded.

“We both have ‘Iqbal’ in our names”.

Iqbal Akhund’s services to Pakistan are invaluable. He was Pakistan’s ambassador to Canada, Spain, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia and was also U.N. Assistant Secretary-General from 1979 to 1987. He was even considered for Secretary General. He served as head of the Centre Against Apartheid, Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Resident Coordinator in Lebanon and Chairman of the Security Council Committee on Sanctions against Rhodesia. He became Foreign Affairs Adviser to Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 1988-1990.

Iqbal Akhund believed in sheer hard work and was always kind to others. May his soul rest in peace. Ameen!
– Syed Jawaid Iqbal


Syed Munawar Hassan – End of an Era

Syed Munawar Hassan, the former Amir of Jamaat-e-Islami, passed away in Karachi recently. He was a high-calibre politician with a progressive outlook. When he spoke, it would seem he was talking poetry but in the form of prose. When he wrote anything, his words effortlessly stood for the case he was presenting. The arguments he offered would be later proven by events.

The news of Munawar Hassan’s death has come as a great shock to me because he was a very close friend and had been my contemporary in so many ways. We had a relationship of affection. At the Government College in Nazimabad, we spent four years and later were together at university. There were many things in common between us. We were deeply engrossed in politics and wanted to play a part in eliminating injustice and oppression from society. Entrapped in a kind of political romanticism, we could never think of making careers in any other field.

I have not only lost a dear friend but his death has, to a great extent, killed a part of me. His was a great era of accommodation, respect in political relations and a distinct level of decency in everything he did. Munawar Hasan’s era will serve as a point of reference for future historians and political analysts.
– Nafees Siddiqui


End of Dekhti Aankhon, Suntay Kanon

Renowned TV personality, Tariq Aziz passed away in Lahore at the age of 84. He was not just a guy known for his long-running Neelam Ghar which later became Tariq Aziz Show but was also a TV announcer, news readers, film actor, poet, writer and much more. His was the first male face that appeared on TV screens when PTV started its initial broadcasts from Lahore in 1964.

Tariq Aziz was born in 1936 in Jalandhar and received his early education there.

On behalf of the PML-N, he served as a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan between 1997 and 1999. It was during that period that he became one of those who attacked the Supreme Court when Sajjad Ali Shah was the Chief Justice of Pakistan. This was seen in a video of the incident. Tariq Aziz was not looked upon with much favour by the public for being a part of the attack.

His films were “Insaniyat”, “Haar Gaya Insaan” and “Salgirah”. He also won two Nigar awards. His knowledge of Urdu literature was phenomenal and though he never laid claims to being a major poet, he was quite adept in the craft both in Urdu and Punjabi. One of his well-known Urdu couplets is:

– Syeda Areeba Rasheed