paid homage to the contribution of the late I.A Rehman, veteran journalist and defender and promoter of fundamental rights and freedom of press.
Published by the Institute of Historical and Social Research (IHSR), the 350-page book is a compilation of articles in I.A. Rehman’s memory written in three languages — English, Urdu, Sindhi — which has been compiled and edited by Zulfiqar Halepoto.
Karamat Ali, executive director of the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research, said that there are so many aspects to I.A. Rehman’s personality that they cannot be summed up in one book or gathering. “I.A. Rehman was against discrimination and had tolerance and respect for different opinions. This is how he developed a culture of human rights,” he said.
Prof Karan Singh also said that I.A. Rehman did not discriminate between Muslims and non-Muslims. “In fact, he did not like referring to people of religions other than Islam as minorities. He noticed how in textbooks, Hindus are shown as cruel and selfish people and he pointed this out. Thanks to him such kind of negativity in schoolbooks is no longer affecting impressionable young minds,” he said.
Senior journalist Mazhar Abbas said that one can feel the big gap when people like I.A. Rehman leave. “He was always on the right side of history and during the fall of Dhaka people like him … were seen as traitors,” he said.
He remembered how when working on the book about the history of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, I.A. Rehman’s recalling of its history became very important. “As a journalist, his writing had the clarity of thought that many lack. His writings will always guide me to also keep on the right side of history,” he said.
Dr Kaiser Bengali said that it is still difficult for him to believe that I.A. Rehman is gone. “He was a champion of human rights. He had strong principles. So much changed but he remained consistent and clear in his principles throughout. He treated everyone as an equal. Losing him is untimely. He left too soon when we were already feeling the absence of Asma Jahangir,” he said.
Retired Justice Majida Rizvi said that she as a young person used to read I.A. Rehman’s articles. “It was through those articles that I got to know what a great man he was. Then later when I used to meet him, I used to discuss with him women’s rights as we would come to human rights. He was easily accessible and I would often turn to him for guidance as he would help clear my view through our discussions. He helped me understand the meaning of human rights. Now that he is gone, I feel lost. I don’t know who to go to,” she said.