Sunday November 27, 2022

Leftist leader Raheem Bakhsh Azad remembered on 2nd death anniversary

By Our Correspondent
May 30, 2021

Paying tributes to veteran leftist leader, journalist and literary figure Rahim Bakhsh Azad on his second death anniversary, a group of rights and political activists, labour leaders and intellectuals at a meeting highlighted his services and contribution, who, by dint of his multi-dimensional personality, ruled over the hearts of thousands, especially in Lyari.

The meeting was held at the Karachi office of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

HRCP co-chair Asad Iqbal Butt, noted Pashtun intellectual Manan Baacha, Azad’s son Asif Azad, Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum secretary-general Saeed Baloch, Baloch literary figure Comdrade Wahid Baloch, the National Trade Union Federation’s Nasir Mansoor and HRCP vice-chairperson Qazi Khizer were prominent among speakers.

Describing Azad as a true leftist leader and a supporter of the cause of nationalist campaigns, as well as a committed rights activist, speakers observed that the late leader had devoted his entire life to the cause of the downtrodden through his activities.

Azad was known for his association with a number of leftist, trade-union and nationalist movements, besides literary circles. He was also part of the Leningrad Circle in Lyari formed by Lala Lal Bukhsh Rind, Barakzai, Mohammad Baig, and Yosuf Naskandi in the late 1950s. He had also served as HRCP coordinator for District South, Karachi.

Since the beginning, he had been affiliated with socialist groups and closely associated with Tufail Abbas, a known trade unionist. Azad started his struggle by organising cinema workers in Karachi and formed the first cinema employees union. He also helped with the formation of unions of port workers and tannery workers.

He also worked as a journalist and served as an associate editor of the acclaimed research journal ‘Pakistan Forum’, edited by Dr Feroz Ahmed. Azad also remained editor of the known monthly magazine ‘Jafakash’, which focused mainly on issues relating to labourers, human rights and underprivileged communities, published by Idara-e-Amn-o-Insaf, a Christian charity. Azad had passed away in May 2019 due to cardiac arrest. He was 77.