KARACHI: Tufail Abbas, one of the first leaders of the Communist Party of Pakistan, and founder of the erstwhile Orient Airways Employees Union passed away here on Sunday. He was 92.

Family members said that the veteran politician was on the bed for a long time and admitted to a hospital after his health severely deteriorated on Friday.

He is survived by his widow, three daughters and a son. His funeral prayers will be held at Imambargah Yasrab in Defence after Zuhrain prayers.

The late Abbas was born in a small town called Debai near Lucknow in India in 1927. He migrated to Karachi after partition and was among the first members of the Communist Party of Pakistan.

His comrades said he was the founding secretary of the Orient Airways Employees Union, which was founded in early 1950s.

Mr Abbas was arrested and jailed several times when crackdowns on communists became the order of the day soon after the creation of Pakistan. He was first arrested in 1954 and then was jailed in 1960 following the arrest of Hasan Nasir, who died young in Lahore Fort.

“Tufail Abbas was the secretary of the Communist Party in the city when we got arrested then,” said Iqbal Alavi, himself a communist stalwart and among a dozen people who had been arrested during Ayub Khan’s martial law. Late Abbas left the party after differences emerged between him and other

leaders and inclined to the communism in China. However, after the death of Mao Zedong, he got himself alienated from that too blaming both communist regimes in Moscow and Beijing as ‘revisionist’.

He published party organ Manshoor since 1964, which he had claimed in one of his interviews was banned during late prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s government.

The publication was revived in 1989 during slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s first government. He had been member of several leftist parties including Qaumi Mazdoor Mahaz.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2019

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