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May 18, 2021

Pashto scholar Salim Raz dies of coronavirus

PESHAWAR: Veteran progressive Pashto research scholar and poet Salim Raz passed away here at the Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC) on Monday.

The octogenarian literatus was admitted to the HMC a month ago after he had tested positive for the Covid-19.His funeral was offered at his hometown in Charsadda and he was laid to rest at his ancestral graveyard in Sukkarr village.

A large number of poets, writers, right activists and local elders attended the last funeral rites of the deceased.He is survived by four sons, grandchildren and a large number of admirers to mourn his death. Meanwhile, literati from across the country and Pashtun diaspora elsewhere in the world condoled the sad demise of the multifaceted writer.

Literary bodies of Pashto, Hindko and Urdu termed the demise of Salim Raz an irreparable loss to the Pashto language, literature and the masses at large.Late Mohammad Salim, aka Salim Raz, had started his writing career in the early 1960s and after completing his intermediate education from the historic Islamia College Peshawar devoted himself to the cause of serving the masses through his writings.

Owing to his extensive study, he began to associate himself with trade unionist and progressive writers’ organizations and also became one of the pioneers of Da Sahu Leekunkio Adabi Maraka, a the popular literary organization launched by late Qalandar Momand in 1962 in Peshawar.

He would gather poets and writers and motivate the budding writers to read and write for the masses. His literary and social contributions spread over 50 years.Late Salim Raz was a recipient of more than 50 awards, including the President’s Pride of Performance Award for his excelling literary contributions. He was a prolific writer and used to contribute to Pashto and Urdu newspapers and journals.

Salim Raz launched Pakhto Adabi in Karachi way back in 1968 and also pioneered Awami Adabi Anjuman and was appointed its general secretary and after returning to Peshawar in 1978. He founded another organization Pakistan Adabi Markaz, an inclusive literary body for promoting Pashto, Hindko and Urdu and served it in different capacities.

In 1986, Salim Raz was named the chairman of the World Pashto Conference and a year later he conducted three-day successful World Pashto Conferences in Peshawar and was able to arrange the second World Pashto Conference in the year 2000.

It was in 2015 when he arranged World Pashto Convention in Karachi where he was appointed the central president of Pakistan Progressive Writers Association. He served as the general secretary of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Progressive Writers Association for 22 years.

Salim Raz was one of the most active members of the Board of Governors of the Pakistan Academy of Letters in Islamabad.His important works included Zakhmoona Sparlai, (poetry) Tanqeedi Karkhe (research papers), La Bare Tar Baragali (reportage), Za Lamha Lamha Qatlaigum (poetry) and Pashto poetry 50 years (research study).