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PESHAWAR, June 10: Speakers paid tribute to freedom fighter, religious scholar, poet and journalist the late Maulana Abdur Rahim Popalzai at a reference held here on Thursday.

The reference was organized by the Peshawar Press Club to pay homage to the Maulana for his tireless efforts to get rid people of the subcontinent of British colonial rule and establish a society based on justice.

The speakers included Afrasiab Khattak, NWFP Minister for Religious Affairs Maulana Amanullah Haqqani, World Pashto Conference Chairman Salim Raz, Peshawar Press Club President Mohammed Riaz, Dr Abdul Jalil, the grandson of Mr Popalzai, and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Fazl) leader Abdul Jalil Jan.

Born in 1890 in Peshawar, Mr Popalzai spent his entire life in the struggle to liberate the people from the slavery and exploitative capitalist system, the speaker told the audience.

He was not only a freedom fighter and seasoned politician but also a religious scholar, poet and journalist and believed in equality of human beings irrespective of caste, creed and colour, they said.

They added that raising voice for the rights of oppressed classes and launching of a sweepers union was the manifestation of his devotion to the cause of liberating people from exploitation.

Counting his contributions, they said that being a follower of Shah Waliullah, Mr Popalzai established a seminary at Masjid Qasim Khan, launched an organization, Nojawanan-i-Sarhad, and a newspaper, Chingari, to educate the people and create awareness among them about their rights.