“The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living,” roman philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero had once famously quoted.
These legends have left us but they still live in every Pakistani’s heart, and we will continue to appreciate their work, effort and all that they gave to this country in form of poetry, dramas, music or humanity. Here’s to the Pakistanis we lost.
SABEEN MAHMUD (1975-2015)
This strong-willed, independent human activist was taken away from Pakistanis on April 24, 2015. She was shot dead on her way home as she was returning from a panel discussion on Balochistan controversies which she hosted in her café The Second Floor. She also staged a protest on a campaign against Valentines Day being carried out by religious political parties earlier this year.
She had received death threats before. Her café The Second Floor was an open place for all with an open mind. She hosted all intellectual events, from poetry sessions to theatre performances to forums on critical issues. There are very few like Sabeen Mahmud. We will always remember her words, “Fear is a state of mind,” she said. “You can make it much bigger than it actually is.”
TAHIRA MAZHAR ALI (1925-2015)
Activist Tahira Mazhar lost her life to severe illness on March 23, 2015. She has been known to work with the masses for women’s rights. After partition, she formed the Democratic Women’s Association, first women’s rights association that ran with the support of the Communist Party.
Tahira led strong resistance against dictatorship, especially under General Ayub and Zia’s regimes in Pakistan. She spent a great portion of her life mentoring Benazir Bhutto. She, along with other activists, formed Women’s Action forum. She always worked on peace, remained an active political person even in old age as she participated in protests and rallies.
SADIK FAKIR (1967-2015)
Renowned singer of Sindhi music Sadik Fakir lost his life in a road traffic accident on his way to Umrah. Gaining his early education from Mithi University, Sadik started his singing career from Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation.
He was known for his originality and creativity in music. He gave life to poetry of great poets like Shah Bhitai and Sachal Sarmast. He will always remain alive in the hearts of people of Sindh.
MARIAM MUKHTAR (1992-2015)
A flying officer of Pakistan Airforce and civil engineer from NED embraced martyrdom as her plane crashed in Mianwali. She was on a routine operation training mission as a co-pilot with Saqib Abbasi. Unfortunately, the plane suffered critical malfunction.
The pilots considered the life of locals over their own and did not eject until they reached a safe area. Unfortunately, Mariam lost her life during the ejection process and the plane crashed. Mariam Mukhtar will always be remembered as the first of PAF to embrace martyrdom while in-line of duty.
YOLANDE HENDERSON (1934-2015)
Miss Henderson departed from the world on December 5, 2015. Veteran teacher and school headmistress at St. Patrick’s High School, she devoted her life to teaching. She moved to Pakistan in 1950, although unhappy initially, later she came to belive the Pakistani dream and began working for it.
She started her career as an English teacher in 1954 and never looked back. She taught for over 60 years. She is remembered at St. Patrick’s as one of those teachers who focused more on character building and lessons of life than the curriculum.
ASLAM AZHAR (1932-2015)
Pakistan bore the loss of a legendary broadcaster, intellectual and founder of Pakistan Television on December 29, 2015. He first joined the department of films and publication as a freelancer, which later opened gates to establishment of stations at Karachi, Lahore and Quetta with what started as a pilot project on the lawns of Radio Pakistan, Lahore.
Credits for initiating PTV award ceremony of 1982-83, Music 89, marathon transmissions on 1970 elections and the Islamic Summit held in Lahore go to him. He produced several dramas and plays which became quite popular under his leader ship. These plays include Rubroo and Khuda ki Basti. Pakistan drama and film industry owes it to him for whatever it is today.
Yet, another poet from the subcontinent era departed from us on November 23, 2015. He was not only a poet but a critique, playwright, columnist, scholar and politician. He took and cleared CSS exams after partition in Karachi. Initially joined Taxation Service Pakistan, also worked as special officer at president house and later became vice president at National Bank of Pakistan.
He was also a member of Senate for a six-year term with support of MQM. Jamaluddin Aali is better known for his books and milli naghma. He wrote the song ‘Jeevay jeevay, pakistan’ which was sung by Shahnaz begum during indo-pak war 1965 and is still enjoyed by all Pakistanis. He wrote ‘Jo naam wohi pehchan, Pakistan’ on request of Ghulam Ishaq Khan. ‘Mera inam pakistan’ sung by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is also his writing and many more including Aye Watan Ke Sajelay Jawanoo, Hum Maain, Hum Behnain, Hum Baitiyan and Hum Mustafavi Mustafavi Hain.
May all these luminous personalities rest in peace, amen!
Happy New Year Everyone.