“No matter what the extent of callousness is that we see, we should speak up and make our voices heard regardless of what corner of the world we live in!” was the motto 58-year-old Inayet Raza lived by, shared a shattered Mansoor Raza – his close friend.
He was a dedicated worker of the left-leaning National Students Federation (NSF), which he joined in 1975 during his intermediate at the Shipowners’ College in North Nazimabad.
He was believed to be the only member of NSF at that time in the college - otherwise a bastion of the right-wing students organisation, the Islami Jamiat-e-Talba (IJT).
However, by the time his two-year programme ended, the NSF had become a force to be reckoned with at the institute.
Inayet’s actual struggle began during Zia-ul-Haq’s martial law, imposed in 1977. Arrested twice during the anti-martial law protests, he had a number of arrest warrants issued against him.
He was, however, remembered to have returned to his activism with an even greater commitment every time he was released from jail.
Inayet was elected the president of the Ship Owners College’s Students Union in 1979 and had also served as head of the Progressive Student Council, which included 22 educational institutions where the NSF had won the Union’s elections.
“He was an outcome of an era of political activism; a culture he carried within himself throughout his life. It is a trait rare to someone who comes from a middle-class family because it is this class that strikes a compromise the earliest,” Mansoor said while remembering his mentor.
“Inayet was more than a friend. He was a brother, a father, not just to his family but also to his fellow comrades,” said Khadim Hussain, also a former member of the NSF.
He joined the Pakistan International Airlines’ IT department sometime in the mid-80s, and remained a loyal employee of the national flag carrier till he was shot at during a protest staged on Tuesday in Karachi against the government’s decision to privatise the airline.
For a number of friends gathered to attend his funeral prayers, he was a man who not only lived but also died by his words. He has left behind a widow and three daughters.