LAHORE: Comrade Dr Yasrab Tanvir Gondal, better known as Lal Khan for his Marxist views, breathed his last here on Friday. He was 64.

A chain-smoker, he had been diagnosed with lungs cancer one and-a-half years ago and was admitted to a private hospital in the city a couple of weeks ago after his condition deteriorated. He has left behind a teenage son, a daughter and wife to mourn.

Son of retired Col Sher Zaman, he belonged to Chakwal district. A political theorist and activist, Dr Lal Khan was also author of over a dozen books including Partition – Can It Be Undone?, Pakistan’s Other Story, and Kashmir – A Revolutionary Way Out.

When Gen Zia toppled the government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1977, Lal Khan was studying at the Nishtar Medical College, Multan, but was arrested for his political views and imprisoned for one year.

After his release, he joined the Rawalpindi Medical College but soon went into self exile in The Netherlands in 1980 fearing for his life because of the military regime at that time in the country.

He completed his medical studies at Amsterdam. He returned to the homeland in 1988 but abandoned practice of medicine shortly to devote his full time and energies to build a campaign of the Left.

He, along with Farooq Tariq and others, formed the Pakistan Struggle Group and launched monthly Mazdoor Jeddojuhad. He was also editor of the Asian Marxist Review.

He is credited with playing a significant role in keeping alive and promoting the Left politics in Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2020