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KARACHI: Tribute paid to Ashfaq Hussain

December 18, 2003

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KARACHI: Ashfaq Hussain, known poet and writer from Canada, also a former student of the University of Karachi, was the guest of the Karachi University’s Senior Students Forum at a hotel on Tuesday.

Presided over by Jamiluddin Aali, the meeting was addressed by Azher Rizvi, Mahmood Sham, Dr Mohammad Ali Siddiqui, Mujahid Barelvi and others.

Mr Aali highly praised Ashfaq Hussain for his sincere and dedicated hard work to promote Urdu in the Western hemisphere to an extent that no other writer had done that much work. He admired his talent as a cultural activist, who was equally engaged in his creative writings and producing good poetry.

Mohammad Ali Siddiqui recalled the memorable work that Mr Ashfaq had done on Faiz; his thesis for the MA examination, and his two major publications on Faiz; Amber dast and Faiz Ke Maghribi Hawalay.

He said that Mr Ashfaq had collected every bit of written pieces published anywhere in the West North America, Russia and Western Europe and compiled his book. No authentic biography and analysis of Faiz and his poetry could be written without reference to Ashfaq’s above noted books, Mr Siddiqui said.

It may be noted that Ashfaq had compiled Urdu textbook for children in Canada (and elsewhere in the West) and also written a teaching manual for teachers, he added.

Mr Siddiqui said that Mr Ashfaq’s poetry had been translated into Punjabi and it went to his credit that a student at the Government College, Lahore (now university) had done MPhil on Ashfaq. A rare honour earned by Ashfaq Hussain was the publication of a separate chapter on him at the prestigious Khuda Bux Library Journal (Patna), Siddiqui informed the audience.

Mahmood Sham remembered Ashfaq’s services in promotion of Urdu in Canada, holding seminars and mushairas and inviting poets and writers from the subcontinent to attend them.

Mr Barelvi read out his paper based on his long period of friendship with Mr Ashfaq in and out of the university recalling nostalgically other loving friends who added colour to the company.

Azfer Rizvi, who was special guest of the evening, spoke with zest the eventful years of his life in former East Pakistan, his last hours engaged in the “defence of his land” and later period being spent in the promotion of Urdu —the same task, Ashfaq Hussain was performing in the West.

President Fokuss Samer Abbas Jaferi also spoke about Mr Ashfaq services and thanked the guests. Secretary Fokuss Huma Waheed conducted the proceedings. —HA