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August 25, 2019

Waris Mir Underpass renamed


August 25, 2019

LAHORE: The Waris Mir Foundation has condemned a sudden and mysterious move by the Punjab government to change the name of the Waris Mir Underpass, near Punjab University Lahore, where the late writer and intellectual used to teach journalism for about 25 years.

The name of Waris Mir, a Hilal-e-Imtiaz recipient, was removed suddenly from the underpass at the Lahore Canal yesterday and renamed the Kashmir Underpass. Mir taught for 30 years at the Mass Communication Department of Punjab University. He was not the only one to be honoured by the state in March 2013, since all newly-constructed underpasses, which tallied up to more than a dozen across the city, were named after outstanding intellectuals and prominent personalities, like Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Ashfaq Ahmed, Habib Jalib, Justice A. R. Cornelius, Ustad Daman, Chaudhry Rehmat Ali, Khushaal Khan Khatak, Liaqat Ali Khan, Chakar-e-Azam Rind, Justice A R Kiyani and Pitrus Bukhari et al. The names had been decided through a procedure in several meetings of the City District Government, headed by a former judge of the Supreme Court.

The element of surprise in the hastily carried out exercise is based on the fact that although a due process had been followed by the Punjab government in 2003, yet a strange sense of ambiguity and mystery has befallen the citizens of Lahore upon the overnight change of the name of the underpass from Waris Mir to Kashmir, which is symbolically an error of thought and judgment, since all other underpasses are named after known personalities, and this one has suddenly been named after a region, instead of a personality.

Commenting upon the occurrence, the spokesman for the Waris Mir Foundation said the move was nothing but an act of aversion, not against Waris Mir alone, but a sequence of hatred and uncalled-for enmity towards the Pakistani media, in general, which seems to be a line of action of the government. “This act, in general, has only been secretly carried out to hurt the sentiments of hundreds of Waris Mir’s students, readers and his posterity,” the spokesman added.

Prof Waris Mir’s elder son, senior journalist and anchorperson Hamid Mir was attacked in Karachi in April 2004, but he survived miraculously.

Professor Waris Mir spent all his life fighting for the truth, justice, democratic principles, freedom and liberty of thought. Waris Mir confronted the official truth by proving through his well-researched and scholarly dissertations that discriminatory and anti-people laws enforced by the ruling junta at that time were not even correspondent to Islam itself.

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