Ex-diplomat Qutubuddin Aziz laid to rest
Qutubuddin Aziz, former diplomat, journalist, chairman of the National Press Trust and an author of 20 books, was laid to rest at the Abdullah Shah Ghazi graveyard, amid tears and sorrow. His funeral prayer was held at Masjid-i-Usman, DHA at Zuhar prayer.
Attended by people from various walks of life, his funeral was an event as peaceful as his life and as great as his personality. Senator Raja Zafarul Haq had especially flown in to Karachi to attend his funeral.
Moreover, Sohail Anwar Sial, Sindh home Minister, representatives of Sir Anwar Pervaiz, chairman Bestway Foundation international, ex-federal law minister Mir Nawaz Khan Marwat, former high commissioner to the UK Kader Jaffer, renowned sportsmen Wasim Bari, Islahuddin, Saeed Azad, Mohammad Javed, Arif Bhopali, Khalid Paracha, Pervaiz Iqbal, sports-promoting personalities like Awais Asad Khan, Chief National Bank CSR Division Ghulam Muhammad Khan, Sports Consultant National Bank Habib Bank Sports Chief Abdul Raqeeb, APP sports chief Ihasaan Qureshi, and Chief Mutawallia/Chairperson Hamdard Laboratories (Waqf) Sadia Rashid joined other scholars, educationists, journalists and his immediate and extended family members, who bade farewell to a great patriot and a fine human being.
“Is it all finished? That is Okay with me, get it reprinted. These were his last words,” said his daughter Fariha Khan, who was reading out to him on the phone the foreword of his book, “Prophet of Peace, A blessing to mankind”, for finalising its reprint. And suddenly, the final call from his Creator disconnected Aziz from this mortal world. Qutubuddin Aziz was gone peacefully.
Believing strongly in the adage, “Pen is mightier than sword”, Aziz unarguably could be credited as one of the pioneers of journalism in Pakistan. He authored several books that are highly rated. Some of his books include: 1. Blood and Tears; 2.The Murder of A State; 3. Jinnah and Pakistan; 4. Jinnah and the Battle for Pakistan; 5.Mission to Washington; 6. Prophet of Peace, A blessing to mankind; 7. Pakistan and the British Media; 8. and Sifaarti ma'arkay. (urdu). He also wrote hundreds of articles in various national and international dailies.
His famous book “The Murder of a State” is a graphic account of India’s military invasion of the Muslim-ruled State of Hyderabad in September 1948.
Another book written by him is “Blood and Tear” which is based on 170 eyewitness’ accounts of the atrocities committed on West Pakistanis, Biharis and other non-Bengalis and pro-Pakistan Bengalis in 55 towns of East Pakistan by Awami League militants and other rebels in March-April 1971. He was also the vice chairman of Hamdard Majlis-e-Shoora and member of Moatamar Alam-e-Islami and Dadabhoy Institute of Higher Education Governing Board.
Aziz had many feathers in his caps. He was among the generation of Pakistan who participated in the Pakistan Movement along with the Quaid-i-Azam.
Born in pre-partition India in 1929, he studied at the University of Madras. Later, he went to London where he studied politics and government at the London School of Economics. As a young student, he participated enthusiastically in the movement for the creation of Pakistan. He migrated to Pakistan with his parents in 1947 and helped his father Syed Abdul Hafeez to start a press agency in Karachi, The United Press of Pakistan. He was the Pakistan resident editor of the renowned American newspaper, Christian Science Monitor, for several years.
He served as minister information at the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington in the 70s and later as minister information and public relations at the Pakistan Embassy in London from 1978 to 1986. He served as the chairman, National Press Trust, in Islamabad from 1986 to early 1988.
“My first meeting with him was when I had just started out in journalism at SOUTH magazine in London around 1984. Since I was a part of the research and editorial team under Clarence Da Gama Pinto and then Editor Denzil Pereis, I was regularly asked to put together material (photocopied articles, summaries, newspaper clippings) and whatever was latest in-house for Mr Qutubuddin who was then press minister (I think) at the Pakistan High Commission London as he would also be regularly visiting Altaf Gauhar at our offices -- for his latest writings and discussions with the editor from Chatham House. He was a quiet and industrious man and I remember being slightly in awe of this tall silent man, writing away as I would pile up literature on the desk across from him, who seemed so busy yet very dignified of movement and manner,” a letter from Hummaa Ahmad, former executive editor of The News, stated.
Aziz was the eldest son of the family and was revered by his siblings for his care and love for them.
“Every Sunday, we used to visit him. After him, I feel as if I have lost my father once again. I vividly remember that once Pakistan Society in Manchester arranged a function in his honour where he was the keynote speaker. British Parliament Speaker Sir Bernard Weatherill, who chaired the meeting, was so carried away by his inspirational speech that he stood up and placed his own cap on Aziz Bhai’s head and wore his Jinnah cap, which he very dearly used to wear, along with Sherwani. The people gave a standing ovation to Aziz Bhai for his heart-touching words,” recollected Syed Khalidul Aziz, younger brother of Qutubuddin Azi and Chief Executive United Global Business Corporation and Vice President Defence Residents Society.
“Bhai Jan was a trendsetter and a patriotic Pakistani. When he was made chairman of the National Press Trust, he was given a big car but he refused to take it. Instead, he asked for a small car, Suzuki FX, saying that he will not put burden on the national exchequer. After his gesture, the then Prime Minster of Pakistan Mohammad Khan Junejo instructed all the heads of the ministries to use small cars,” narrated Zulikha Zar, ex-director general of the National Institute of Labour Administration and Training (NILAT) and sister of Qutubuddin Aziz.
Aziz was a true Pakistani and a man of integrity and great vision. The void created by his death will never be filled.